carl grant | Federated Search BlogFederated Search
30
Mar

[ Editor’s note: In this guest article, Carl Grant adds his contribution to the discussion I started in Beyond Federated Search? and continued in Beyond federated search? The conversation continues. Be sure to read those two articles before reading Carl’s response. Also, check out the comments on the two articles.

Carl Grant is President of Ex Libris North America. With more than a quarter century of experience in the library-automation industry, I’m grateful for his periodic and very popular contributions to this blog. ]

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6
Jan

[ Editor’s note: Carl Grant presents his views on how the economic downturn may affect federated search vendors and customers this year. Carl’s forward-looking article is a nice complement to Abe’s looking-back review of 2008.

Carl Grant is President of Ex Libris North America. With more than a quarter century of experience in the library-automation industry, I’m grateful for his periodic and very popular contributions to this blog. ]

Searching for answers about metasearch in 2009

As Yogi Berra once said “The future ain’t what it used to be” and there is hardly a more apt description of what the metasearch business and many others are facing in 2009.

Obviously, much of the world has been turned on its ear over the past few months. Future plans, once elaborately developed, budgeted for and in place, have now been shelved. In their place new plans being developed, include words like “contingency,” “possible scenarios” and “emergency.” The reality is that these new plans bear only a faint resemblance to those they replaced.

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27
Oct

[ Editor’s note: Is metasearch a bad idea? If, after reading this article by Carl Grant, you still think it is, send me your rebuttal. If it’s well written - whether or not I agree with it - I’ll publish it.

Carl Grant is President of Ex Libris North America. With more than a quarter century of experience in the library-automation industry, I’m grateful for his periodic articles in this blog. ]

“We don’t really need metasearch…” is a phrase I’ve heard several times lately and I have to admit it that has the same effect on me as fingernails being dragged across a blackboard. That’s because this position implies:

  • The user’s ease-of-use in accessing and discovering (particularly new) resources is a low priority at your organization.

  • You believe a user should talk to you (a trained searcher or librarian) before trying to access resources so that you can question them and direct them to the best resource for their need.

  • You believe the functionality obtained by using the custom interface written for a particular database is so important that you discount the useful results that the metasearch engine delivers for that database.

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10
Sep

[ Editor’s note: A few weeks ago I asked Carl Grant if he’d be willing to write a regular column for this blog. He agreed in principle while expressing the concern that his new responsibilities as President of Ex Libris North America might make it difficult to commit to a schedule. So, I took the pressure off of Carl by inviting him to write when he was able to and not worry about a schedule. Not too long after that conversation I received an email from Carl with the article below.

As usual, Carl doesn’t mince words in this article. He bluntly asks librarians to assert and uphold the value they provide to their patrons by demanding functionality from their federated search vendors that “feature[s] the added value of librarianship.” ]

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1
Aug

[ Editor’s note: Implementing federated search solutions is hard work. The following review, by Carl Grant, does an excellent job of identifying a number of key steps that those implementing solutions would be wise to follow. The steps are tedious and time consuming but the structure they provide to the process is worth the effort because it will minimize problems later. This review of one of the essays in Christopher Cox’s book is a nice companion to the federated search roadmap series.

Given the quality of the essays in Mr. Cox’s book plus the severe lack of any books related to federated search, I highly recommend the book. You can purchase a copy of Mr. Cox’s book of essays from the publisher, Taylor & Francis, who donated the review copies, by calling their Customer Service department, Monday-Friday 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. EDT, at (800) 634-7064.

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30
Jul

Library open source solution vendor, LibLime, announced yesterday that they and CARE Affiliates

“have entered into a definitive agreement to sell select assets of CARE Affiliates to LibLime. The sale will include select products, related services and domain names along with associated service contracts. Final closing is scheduled for August 2008.”

Like CARE Affiliates, LibLime provides open source solutions to libraries, and the acquisition should, according to the press release, “ensure the continuation of [CARE’s] products/services well into the future.”

See Carl Grant’s blog article of this morning for his thoughts on the move.

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11
Jul

[ Editor’s note: Once upon a time, when I was doing much more software development than I am doing today, I found myself with a project where I had to deal with the differences between SRU and SRW. The world of web services and their related standards was quite mysterious to me at the time. Carl Grant, President of CARE Affiliates, reviews an essay in Christopher Cox’s book about federated search that discusses these two standards in the context of a number of standards of interest to the federated search and library community. While you’ll need to read the actual essay to understand the standards, Carl Grant does a fine job of reviewing how the chapter treats SRU, in particular.

Given the quality of the essays in Mr. Cox’s book plus the severe lack of any books related to federated search, I highly recommend the book. You can purchase a copy of Mr. Cox’s book of essays from the publisher, Taylor & Francis, who donated the review copies, by calling their Customer Service department, Monday-Friday 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. EDT, at (800) 634-7064.

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18
Jun

As announced in Deep Web Technologies’ recent press release, six noted federated search experts will be serving as judges for the federated search writing contest. Predict the future of federated search and win $100, $250, or $500 in cash.

If you publish a blog related to federated search, information science, or to library science I’d very much appreciate a mention of our contest.

Entries are due August 1st.

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28
May

In Part I of this series I wrote about a number of issues with the RFP process that increases the cost of doing business for federated search vendors and raises the cost of procurements for libraries. In this article, I consider ways of mitigating the costs. Much of the information for this series comes from an article written by Carl Grant: Choose wisely: making the library’s money work for the library in the system procurement process.

Grant makes the important point that vendors and libraries must collaborate to bring costs down. If libraries insist on continuing to use the current RFP process then vendors will be forced to use it as well. The first step in this collaboration is for the library to clearly articulate its goals to the vendor and to have both parties consider what needs the vendor can realistically meet. This also requires the vendor to be honest and up-front about what it can reasonably deliver. While Grant’s article is biased in its outlook - libraries are made to look like the bad guy - I’ll state that vendors own some of the responsibility. If vendors were really clear and honest about what they could deliver, on what schedule, and at what cost, then libraries wouldn’t be grilling them so hard.

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16
May

[ Editor’s note: Carl Grant, President of CARE Affiliates, was one of the volunteers who took me up on my offer to review several chapters of Christopher Cox’s book about federated search. Following is his review of one of the chapters: “Developing the Right RFP for Selecting Your Federated Search Product: Lessons Learned and Tips from Recent Experience” by Jerry Caswell and John Wynstra.

I appreciate that this review comes from a seasoned federated search vendor; Carl Grant has been in the library automation industry for a long time and raises an important concern about the RFP process, how his experience is that the current RFP model doesn’t really serve the customer or vendor, and he touches on what he sees as a better approach.

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