The evolving federation of search

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The evolving federation of search Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                 By John Harney




                                                                               The                          Search products are


          evolving                                                                                          proliferating powerfully in

                                                                                                            both capabilities and


        federation                                                                                          applicability. Here’s a snapshot


                                                       of search                                            of the search state of the art.



      earch is one of those technologies customers take for granted. After all,     stantive, alternative methods of search—as well as new and increasingly

S     search and retrieval was the first application to debut in the nascent doc-
      ument management industry of the early ’90s. Text was indexed man-
ually and automatically and could be searched within the search and retrieval
                                                                                    numerous applications—to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of
                                                                                    information.

application. Then search and retrieval became a component of more com-              Some factors driving search
plex applications like imaging and workflow, and later knowledge manage-               According to Bill Chambers, VP of consulting, at Doculabs
ment and portals. With the emergence of Google (google.com), however,               (doculabs.com), a critical application driving adoption of complex search
search became a dominant standalone app again. But as much cachet as that           products is compliance, as well as the need for e-discovery strategies. The
powerful product has, it’s not the only game in town.                                        federal rules of civil procedure require that organizations be able to
   Google may own the Web, but other products like it                                                search across a number of disparate repositories to look for
have staked out federated search and other disciplines                                                    documents that are requested in legal discovery efforts.
as their own dominion. (Federated search gives                                                                When an organization is sued, it often must produce
users the ability to search repositories of dif-                                                                 documents as different as Microsoft Word and
ferent content management vendors within                                                                            Excel, video, audio, images and other document
the enterprise by means of adapters.) All                                                                             types.
have their distinct strengths, but many                                                                                    Complicating the issue is the fact that find-
have specialized in target applications                                                                                  ing those documents is difficult. They could
and vertical markets, and can find files                                                                                  be in any number of places outside the typ-
as different as audio, video and text.                                                                                     ical content management applications like
   But given that profligate growth of                                                                                      SharePoint or shared drives. So, says
multipurpose search products, what                                                                                           Chambers, to do a comprehensive feder-
market forces are driving vendors to                                                                                         ated search that retrieves a consolidated
keep evolving more unique focus and                                                                                          set of information to be used for discov-
features? The short answer is the                                                                                            ery requires a powerful, multipurpose
phenomenal proliferation of infor-                                                                                           search product like those from Autonomy
mation across the global enterprise;                                                                                        (autonomy.com), Google and FAST (fast
the disparate locations of that data—                                                                                      search.com, a Microsoft subsidiary). Those
common applications like SharePoint                                                                                       tasks are beyond the scope of search engines
(microsoft.com/sharepoint), IBM Lotus                                                                                    typically located in popular content manage-
Notes (ibm.com/software/lotus), SAP                                                                                     ment systems or even other common applica-
(sap.com), as well as apps unique to the                                                                             tions found in many enterprises like SAP ERP,
organization like shared and network drives;                                                                       SharePoint portal or Lotus Notes groupware.
and the types of data—structured and unstruc-                                                                       Also, with the maturation of content management
tured.
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Search is one of those technologies customers take for granted. After all, search and retrieval was the first application to debut in the nascent document management industry of the early 1990s. Text was indexed manually and automatically and could be searched within the search and retrieval application. Then search and retrieval became a component of more complex applications like imaging and workflow, and later knowledge management and portals. With the emergence of Google, however, search became a dominant standalone app again. But as much cachet as that powerful product has, it's not the only game in town. So search has made great strides forward in the last decade. But given the nature of technology change and the explosion of information, look for substantive, alternative methods of search-as well as new and increasingly numerous applications -- to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of information.
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