Multiple Engines, Multiple Docbases

A groupware system will often involve docbases of varying types. In this chapter, we’ll assume that the analysts who file reports to the ProductAnalysis docbase also collaborate in a searchable private newsgroup. A search for some term, say LDAP, should return results from both the docbase and the newsgroup. It should also organize the results from these different sources according to some normalized schema, so that, for example, reports filed by Jon Udell and newsgroup postings from Jon Udell will cluster together in a by author view of the search results.

Groupware systems may also involve multiple search engines. This might be because, over time, you switch from one engine to another. Or it might be because you run engines in parallel. The BYTE site, for example, comprised three primary docbases: the magazine archive, the public conferences, and the Virtual Press Room. These three docbases were searchable separately or in combination using either of two engines: Excite and SWISH. Why two engines? We found them to be complementary and neither alone to be sufficient. Figure 8.1 shows what the search page looked like for this multisearch-engine, multidocbase system.

A multiengine, multidocbase search form

Figure 8-1. A multiengine, multidocbase search form

Excite Versus SWISH

Why use Excite? It’s free, and it’s also very powerful. Excite grew out of an academic research project. ...

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