Search as an Application

Challenges of Search

I just returned from a conference in Rome where I presented a session on search. The basic premise is this: Search is not a utility. Search is an application. Search needs to be thought through and integrated into the process that it is meant to support.This does not mean that there is no place for basic search – the plug and play utility model that tools like Google Search Appliance leverage. In that case, search provides a valuable function in helping people access large stores of unorganized content.As much Google bashing as I do, I am a frequent user of Google Desktop. Hypocritical? I don’t think so. GSA is appropriate for what I use it for – searching through email messages and my hard drive for certain types of information. Sometimes I find what I am looking for and sometimes I don’t. But this is because of the relative effort I place on organizing my content versus the time it takes to do so. It’s easier for me to search as I do and risk not finding something than it is for me to organize all of my email. On the other hand, I have a more structured method for the information that I place higher value on – proposals, SOW’s, client project documents and conference presentations.

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