The Changing Federated Search Scene

If you’ve been confused about the federated search landscape, I hope you were able to catch the presentation Monday afternoon by two experts in this area—Jeff Wisniewski of University of Pittsburgh and Frank Cervone, formerly at Northwestern University and now the director at Chicago State University. We’re in a period of rapid change and transition, moving away from discrete federated search products. Indeed, the vendor landscape has changed drastically as some have simply dropped out of the market (too hard to make money at it) and others have been acquired and merged with other products.

Here are some of the key trends the two outlined.
The number of choices from commercial vendors is rapidly shrinking (not much diversity of choice) while open source options are increasing.
We’re seeing progress on the standards front (‘nuff said on that).
We’re seeing increasing use of visualization features in some of the products, which provide users with more entry points to content.
We’re seeing movements toward more holistic content discovers. Federated search is becoming one module of larger efforts to integrate all content into a single discovery tool. Today’s Track A will continue this line of thought in looking at some of the next-gen library interfaces.
And, we’re seeing more affordable turnkey solutions being offered, with greater possibilities for off-site hosting and SaaS.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, ITI

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