Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Using a Federated Searching Solution to Keep Pace with User Expectations

Peter Ellinger, MManager, Library Technology Applications,
Ontario Legislative Library
Jane Foo, Digital Services Librarian, Seneca College 
Carolyn Lam, Manager, Newnham Library

"It is only with the launch of sites like Google and Amazon 
that users have developed greater expectations of integrated 
information delivery:emphasis is now on content rather than 
on source. Libraries have since acknowledged that they need 
toprovide a solution for the simultaneous searching of 
disparatecollections of online information. This session 
will look at how two libraries have used and implemented 
ENCompass as their own local federated search solution."

The presentation had two folds, first was by Carolyn Lam
and Jan Foo and the next by Peter Ellinger.  The 
presentation slides for the first part of the presentation
is accessible.

Carolyn Lam :

•Seneca 1st academic college to implement a Federated Search
•Seneca  has 65 web based research databases with 12K 
 electronic books,17K full text electronic journals.
•Searching the fastest growing sector in the IT 

- # of digitizing projects has increased leaps and bound
- Deep web expanding
- E-publishing increasing
- Information seekers expectation expanding

Those of us in library should pay close attention to it. 
Google has found ways and means of searching the ‘Deep Web’,
which were considered invisible once since the search 
engine crawlers would not or could not extra data from data 
tables in the database. 
Google is collaborating with institutes and nations such as  
New York Public Library, Oxford, Harvard, The Congress, Egypt 
and Netherlands to name a few. The project plans on creating 
and having a million books online.

- There are 250,000 license database available. 
- E journals: its 50 times larger than the visible web. This
  type of content is not readily available. 
- Research has shown that searching in search engines has 
  become more critical.

ENCompass for resources Access

- Purchased 
- Traiaing
- XML Training
- Configuration, Technical setup and testing
- Interface desing
- Launched

What is Federated 
- ‘searching consists of transforming a query and broadcasting it 
   to a group of disparate databases with appropriate syntax’

- It is a one stop searching, merged results Control the outcome

Maximize the result quantity by highlighting all the 
different resources and content, that is time efficient. 
A powerful search tool.

Jane Foo:
- Usability in the libraries : Faculty and students found the 
                             initial design challenging 

- Typical day on the internet :35 million adult Americans get 
                               their news from the internet

The New Generation

- Undergraduates felt that a lot of the library resources 
  were not much of use to them
- Baby boomers and Generation X had a different perception
  and expectation of what they needed.

New generation are using a PS2 logic where they use trial 
and error rather than analyzing your option. They use the same
approach like arbitery words and type initially on Google and 
then see what the results may consist off. 

Carolyn Lam:

Factors to Consider for Federated Search Systems 
- Interlinking b/w the databases the content is easy as 
  possible for students
- We want to be able to maintain repository, making college 
  documents available.
- What kind of technology should the federated search be 
  built on, what kinds of standard is 
- Looking at 8 different databases. So what kind of hardware 
  do you need for such kind of simultaneously search process.
- Since all the database are licensed how do u authenticate it.
  Does Federated system support that.
- Customer support- the Project manager interacted with the 
  test group weekly for over 2 years to trouble shoot and build
  the search system
- 2 conference were attended in regards to the Federated system 

How does it work

Use 4 different types of search protocols to 
connect to the local database
- http
- voyager api- integrated library system connect to a local
  database like OPAC or connect to other voyager  library
- z39.50- widely employed among libraries connection to 
  OPAC and other databases containing scholarly content
- XML gateway- where structure way if searching resource when
  its not either of the 2. It’s the most structured , the only 
  drawback is it has to be individually program the XML
  gateway through the ENCompass software. Each vendor had to
  program the XML gateway. The opportunity for Federated search 
  using XML gateway is possible.
- HTTP Connecters- for it to be worked it also needs to be 
  programmed by the library vendors . New standards are coming 
  out SRU/SRW (Search retrieval web service/URL) 

Limitation of Federated Search System
- The quality of search  when you search different databases
  may not always be up to par
- Sometimes you get some strange results that are beyond your 
- Search details, since different vendors have their own 
  approach. Like record from EBSCO etc will differ from
  other vendors and the level of details.
- Licensing issue 
- Response rate limit to 10 databases
- Premise behind 
- Relevancy ranking was not possible due to different vendors 
  so they arranged the results in an alphabetic manner.
- Because your using different protocols for each of the database

Successful Implementation 
- Test and see how to fine tune
- Build expertise in meta data and XML- since you have 
- Involve the reference staff- they took the role of the 
  usability team, so they can test and run the system
- Provide staff training and they can understand how to 
  incorporate Federated search engine
- Invest in a development/testing environment.


Email Carolyn or Jane if u want to test the system, or view 
the templates

Future Agenda
- Expansions  


The Second segment of the 2 Part Toolkit Session:

Legislative Library of Ontario Information Sytem 
by Peter Ellinger

Legislative Library 

- Built in 1792, 67 e-databases; 22 priced
- Local network and VPN access
- Clients- Member of Provincial Parliament
- Assembly staff, not open to the public, very focused group

What do the Clients want MPPs

ENCompass allows the clients to access to news
- Toronto Press today, scan daily news of Toronto article,
  photocopy relevant articles
- Ontario Press highlight database: a popular service 
  which gets over 13,000 hits a month
- Press release database
- ENCompass 2.0 July 2004

ENCompass 3.0 Goals

- Learn XML/XSL
- Implement and test HSE connectors
- Model the appropriate connecters 
- Have staff test federated search capabilities
- Develop user interface

Be aware of Federated search engine system
Build a new interface Legislative Library of Ontario 
Information System

Windows environment: 
- Java script

Now using ENCompass 3.5
- XML gateway to in-house databases

The move to XML API will allow them to access local vendors 
without having issues about connecters

Issues to consider
- HTTP connecters are a little shakiy
- Response time may quadruple with more databases connected
- Results sorting, there is no way , consistent way that 
  federated system can assemble it formally.

Peter Ellinger can be reached at ellinger@ontla.ola.org for 
further information


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