Today when I want to know some information on any specific topic, I perform search on Google and obtain the answer or information I was looking for.
Can I get all the information needed from the web only? NO. May be search is for medical records with similar disease across my hospital of my current patient will help me provide the patient with better medication. May be CEO would like to search ERP system for all the purchase orders placed with a specific vendor across departments of the company to understand the status of vendor dependency.
Can we place all documents that need to be searched in HTTP medium and allow indexing by search engines? NO. This information needs to easily retrievable, but at the same time confidential information cannot be made available to public or neither be allowed to be crawled or indexed by search engines.
There are other areas too where there is need for specialized information retrieval and search engines do not return desired results. For example, a civil designer or electrical engineer who wants to perform search for a specific term related to his current profession. He is very interested and wants specific information related to his profession to be part of search results. He does not want to be spammed with all the contents in the web that contains the search term
Even more complex information retrieval is for needed by news paper or publication companies. They want search functionality that would retrieve would retrieve all article(paid and free) for their subscription users .For guest users search returns only free articles and summary of paid articles to woo the user to purchase the subscription.
Federated Search (in windows 7) can be used to help users to find high-quality information in more specialized or remote corners. Federated search makes use of the OpenSearch protocol to enable users to search a one or multiple local or remote data stores and view consolidated results. The OpenSearch v1.1 standard defines simple file formats that can be used to describe how a client should query the Web service for the data store and how the service should return results to be rendered by the client. Windows federated search connects to Web services that receives OpenSearch queries, and returns results in either the RSS or Atom XML format. Federated search applications excel at finding scientific, technical, and legal documents whether they live in free public sites or in subscription sites. Many libraries and corporate research departments provide federated search applications to enable easy access for their students and staff.
Windows 7 provides Windows Explorer as a default search client for federated search enables on any data store via OpenSearch with RSS or Atom output. In addition at Proteans, we explored the following aspects related to Federated search in Windows 7.
- Ability to expose any data store via Federated Search. We were able to enable federated search capability on simple data store books.xml (explained in the next sections).
- Ability to perform federated search using custom application (web or desktop). We were able to build a web client to perform Federated search(explained in the next sections)
- Ability to search additional data store using Windows Explorer.