Do You Mean Federated Search?

This post was written by Darcy Katzman on February 12, 2015
Posted Under: Federated Search,The Deep Web

Occasionally, DWT employees will test the water when describing what we do by dropping the term “federated search” and trying a more generic description.

“We search all of the databases from a single search box in real-time.”

“We perform a single search of subscribed, public and deep web databases…”

“We capture results from your premium sources, the stuff Google can’t reach, and return them to you ranked and deduplicated…”

If a person is plugged in to the search world, we usually get this response: “Oh!  Do you mean you do Federated Search?”  Bingo.

Over the years, the concept of Federated Search has gone by many different names.  We’ve heard our technola-rose-by-any-other-name-would-smell-as-sweetogy called:

  • Distributed Search
  • Broadcast Search
  • Unified Search
  • Data Fusion
  • Meta-Search
  • Parallel Search
  • Cross-Database Search
  • Single Search
  • One-Search
  • Integrated Search
  • Universal Search

For the most part, all of these mean about the same thing: An application or a service that allows users to submit their query to search multiple, distributed information sources, and retrieve aggregated, ranked and deduplicated results.

But the question remains: Is “federated search” a master index, or a real-time (on-the-fly) search? And this is a very good question, given our familiarity with Google and their enormous public index.  Sol Lederman raised this question back in 2007 on the Federated Search Blog, What’s in a Name?

“The distinction, of course, is crucial. If you’re meeting with a potential customer who believes you’re discussing an approach where all content is harvested, indexed and accessed from one source but you think you’re discussing live search of heterogeneous sources then you’re talking apples and oranges.”

Deep Web Technologies’ real-time approach gives us an advantage over building a master index which we’ll discuss in our next blog post.   In the meantime, can you think of any other names for what we do?  We’d love to hear from you!

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