The first thing that most people notice when they use a federated search application is that it’s not nearly as fast as Google. We’ve all gotten spoiled. This is not only the information age, it’s the age of quick information; we all want every search to be as fast as a Google search. However, by its very nature, federated search can’t be as fast as Google. Federated search is at the mercy of the sources it federates. If a source is slow to return results to the federated search application, then there’s nothing the federated search application can do, or is there?

Deep Web Technologies has been displaying incremental results for some time now. The idea is simple: display results in chunks as they are received from the sources being searched. Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org, and Scitopia.org are three applications that display incremental results. While there are challenges to this approach, there are some significant benefits as well. The aim of displaying incremental results is to minimize the time the user has to wait to see some results. In the show-something-quick department, incremental results works well. The major challenge arises when you try to figure out what to do with the rest of the results as they come in.

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