Magazine article American Libraries

Beam Me Up, Enterprise: It's Not Your Dad's Search Engine

Magazine article American Libraries

Beam Me Up, Enterprise: It's Not Your Dad's Search Engine

Article excerpt

I don't know why, but I am still somewhat amazed at the not-so-sudden but widespread discussion of "Enterprise Search." The terminology makes me wonder: If libraries had called it that sooner, might we be farther along than we are with it? (Similarly, if we had only called cataloging "metadata research," might libraries have gotten more funding?)


What is Enterprise? It seems like the word itself means different things to different people. While most libraries are trying to build discovery tools that encompass broad arrays of knowledge, many organizations would be more than satisfied with being able to find one of their own manuals on their intranet. As it turns out, what's so hard on a large scale hardly gets simpler as the scale decreases.

It took a surprisingly long time for people's dissatisfaction to be heard by search companies, many of which got their start building web-search engines. As it got easier and easier to find things in every hidden corner of the Web (including corners better left undiscovered), no one could find the e-mail or memo from last week. Searching the desktop was still a rather nascent notion even a year ago (AL, May 2005, p. 61-62). What started as an attempt to search the desktop and networked file systems eventually merged with the web search and became "Enterprise."

New kids on the net

The leaders in internet search--Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask, and Google--and those for the desktop--add Copernic and XI to the three search engines above--are no longer the only companies in town. This market is exploding. Forrester Research predicts that eDiscovery technology spending will grow from $1.4 billion in 2006 to more than $4.8 billion in 2011 as so-called enterprises realize that they have no choice but to prepare for electronic discovery.

Some of the needs come from places you would not suspect. If you're a law librarian, the elusive "litigation hold" has changed the nature of search and discovery. In a nutshell, organizations and companies have an obligation to preserve relevant information for any potential litigation. New rules effective as of late 2006 relate directly to corporate responsibility for eDiscovery methods.

Recommind, one of many companies specializing in the legal field, is even introducing a new Litigation Hold module into its MindServer product. …

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