As of January, 2012, this site is no longer being updated, due to work and health issues
Search Engine Overview Books, Articles and Reports, 1996-1999
Annotated links to books, reports and articles which provide general information
about web site, intranet and portal search engines, including how to evaluate
and choose software. See also Background Information
listings, Links, Training,
Newsgroups & Mailing Lists, Comparative
Reviews, and Tools Listings.
For a local overview, see the Guide to Search
- Tools For Web Searches
Get A New Focus InternetWeek, December 6, 1999 by Noah Shachtman
Describes how e-commerce sites are using customized versions of AskJeeves,
Copernic, Google and NorthernLight
to improve their response to customer service and product questions.
and Spiders and Crawlers Inktomi White Paper, September 1999 by Avi
Detailed discussion, of how search engine indexing robots follow links and
read Web pages to store the information in search indexes. Includes coverage
Notes describe how the Inktomi Search Software Spider handles these problems.
file, 48K) A Method for Intranet Search Engine Evaluations by Dick
Stenmark, in Proceedings of IRIS22 Kþkšlþ, T. (Ed.), Keuruu, Finland, August
A thoughtful and practical approach to evaluating server search engines, grouping
functions and weighting according to importance. The methodology provides
checklists of important issues and was tested in several corporate situations.
Your Site - HTML About.com, July 13, 1999 by Jennifer Kyrnin
Short description of site search options, including short descriptions
of selected remote search services,
- Modern Information
Retrieval Ricardo Baeza-Yates & Berthier Ribero-Neto, Addison-Wesley
Longman, May 1999, ISBN 020139829x, $50
Covers the current state of information
retrieval, including changes brought by the Web to a field that was previously
oriented towards academia, libraries and corporate networks. Support the SearchTools
site: buy the book from Amazon
and we'll get an affiliate fee.
Interfaces and Visualization in Modern Information Retrieval chapter
by Marti Hearst
Valuable academic study of interfaces for information retrieval and searching,
including graphical overviews and visualization. This is a chapter of the
Modern Information Retrieval book described above.
- Managing Gigabytes:
Compressing and Indexing Documents and Images (2nd edition) by Ian
H. Witten, Alistair Moffat, and Timothy C. Bell. Morgan-Kaufmann Publishers;
April 1999; ISBN 1558605703, $54.95
Good coverage of issues of very large document collections, including compression,
indexing and querying options. Praised by Steve Kirsch of Infoseek, among
others. See also the MG web site
and the excellent reviews.
If you buy it from Amazon
using these links, you will support the SearchTools site.
- The Ultimate Search: How to Evaluate Search Servers Intraware NetInsights,
December 10, 1998 by Molly Bellero
Covers indexing capacity and options, search features, administration, and
- Add search to your
site CNET Builder.com, November 17, 1998 by Avi Rappoport
A comprehensive set of instructions including background information, choosing
the right site search engine for your site, testing and installing the software,
designing the interface, and setting up a maintenance program. Includes many
links to sites and products, summaries of some of the most attractive programs
and an example of the installation process using the DNA
Files web site.
Corporate Search Engines Inter@ctive Week, September 10, 1998 by Steven
Describes the problems with finding information in corporate intranets, strategies
by companies and vendors to improve the situation. Options include more training,
concept mapping approaches and directory cataloging (like Yahoo).
- Search Engines for Intranets
Information Today, July 1998 by Nina Platt
Extremely thoughtful overview including the "right questions" to
ask when choosing a search tool for an intranet, how to develop an implementation
plan, and a table of comparisons among QuickFinder (Novell intraNetWare),
Microsoft Index Server and Netscape
- Mac servers get
more search tools MacWEEK, July 13, 1998 by Avi Rappoport
Description of the benefits and issues of site search tools, including indexers
vs. crawlers. Covers the features of iHound,
Boolean Search, Phantom
and WebSTAR Search.
pursuit of intelligent search engines Datamation, May 1998 by Dan Orzech
Describes problems with Intranet search engines, which do well with matching
words but less well with interpreting relevance. Approaches include Natural
Language Processing, thesaurus use, automated classification,
personalized "push" search results, going beyond HTML to databases
and other file formats, image matching, graphical interfaces and visualization,
and falling prices.
- Search Engines
for Local Web Sites March 26, 1998 by Judy Brown
Covers the history of Web search engines, how indexing robots approach
pages, subject directories (also called categories), defining site needs,
dealing with legacy data, background on evaluating search engines, listings
of various options including platform and file format compatibility, and thoughts
for the future.
for the stars? Looking for sites with exceptional search engines Computerworld,
March 9, 1998 by Beth Roed and Jared O'Connor
Reviews of 30 web site search engines in 10 industries: Computer Hardware,
Computer Software, Telecommunications, Retail, Consumer Goods, General Manufacturing,
Financial Planning/Insurance, Newspaper, Government, Education. Features commended
including ease of use, speed, good recall and
precision, helpful summaries, clear presentation of advanced features
such as filters, results sorting, "area match" and organization
(information architecture), targeted
features (price-range searching at Wal-Mart), user tips, tolerance of spelling
search on your site Computerworld, March 9, 1998 by Kevin Burden
Helpful information, including the amount of time required for maintenance
and administration, formats supported, data location, user requirements, relevancy
Your Search Interface Web Review March 6, 1998, by Peter Morville
and Lou Rosenfeld
Excerpts from the excellent book Information
Architecture for the World Wide Web describe how to support different
modes of searching, integrate search with browsing, conform to your site's
design, and clarify search options. You can buy the book online from Amazon
online bookstore, and support this site -- we appreciate that.
- Fine-tuned search
engines LANTimes, March 2, 1998 by Emily Kay
Good overview of site searching in corporate Intranet sites. Describes
why some sites need more than traditional Boolean searching, multimedia file
formats, and canned searches, featuring BRS/Search
(Dataware) products. Covers performance and hardware capacity issues.
- Why On-Site Searching
Stinks Eye for Design, 1998 by Jared Spool
Provocative article shows several examples of bad search interface design.
Includes examples of problems with confusing substring searching, having search
help on a separate page, misspellings, unclear results, confusing page titles
in results listings, and a lack of indexing which finds pages that match the
words but not the meaning of the queries.
Developer.Com Guide To Search Engines Wes Sonnenreich and Tim MacInta:
John Wiley & Sons, February 1998, ISBN 0471246387 $34.99.
A wide-ranging book covering everything from the beginnings of the robot
spiders crawling and indexing the web to analysis of the major webwide search
engines to detailed information on installing and configuring six local site
search tools. The programs covered are AltaVista
Search Intranet, Excite for Web Servers,
Phantom and Ultraseek
(now Inktomi Search Software). Also describes BDDBot:
An ongoing collaborative project, to create a Java web server and search spider,
using open source under the GNU public license. Use these links to buy from
and you'll support this site.
- Casting an
Information Net Upside, February 02, 1998, by Jeff Ubois
Overviews of Site Search Tools from an industry point of view, includes
information on search engines, new forms of visualization, collaborative filters,
enterprise use of these tools, and corporate info.
the Video Frontier Wired News, February 5, 1998 by Chris Oakes
Describes the issues of indexing and searching video data, which is much harder
than text. Algorithms must find meta patterns, such as scene changes, to break
down the data into manageable parts -- and these are different in different
genres of video, such as documentaries or sports. Products make good use of
closed-captioned text, text within the video and analysis of audio tracks
to create storyboards and previews. More subtle indexing will require image
analysis and pattern recognition. Products also work with Microsoft's NetShow
streaming audio and video products. Includes information about Excalibur,
Virage and Magnifi.
And Ye Shall Be Found -- Or Else Web Developer: Undated (web
article), checked 1998/03/30, by Eric C. Richardson
Why and how to choose a site search tool, covering both commercial and free/shareware
and Using a Site Search Engine Web Review, Nov. 21, 1997,
by Daniel A. Tauber and Brenda Kienan
Good article on the process of selecting and implementing site search tools,
aimed mainly at Unix webmasters. Includes a table of features for various
for differentiation -- Text-search software vendors are still looking for
the market's sweet spot, but profits are elusive Information Week,
October 6, 1997 by Justin Hibbard.
Describes the search-and-retrieval industry status, including the extension
towards knowledge management.
for intranet: PC Week Labs tells how vendors revamp search engines PCWEEK,
August 11, 1997 by Jim Rapoza
Describes web site search engine products which are aimed at intranets rather
than public sites using search agents, expanded capacity and web publishing
of legacy data. Covers Netscape Compass
Server 3.0, Verity IntelliServ, AltaVista
Search Intranet Extension '97 and Odyssey
- In search
of .. IT managers warm slowly to search technology for their intranets.
PC WEEK: (August 11, 1997)
engines: An intranet users best friend Infoworld Electric, August 11,
1997, by Sari Kalin
Describes trends in search engine technology such as indexing realtime data,
including news feeds and email; visualization tools for clustering and explaining
- Search Usability: Search
and You May Find Alertbox column, July 16, 1997 by Jakob Nielsen.
Very helpful results of research on web site usability finds that half of
all users are "search-dominant" (they use the search field as soon
as they can). Recommendations are to put a search button on every page, to
index the entire site rather than selected documents, and to avoid requiring
Boolean operators in the default search .
Engine Technologies for the World Wide Web and Intranets Bohdan O.
Szuprowicz: Computer Technology Research, June 1997, ISBN: 1566079934 $55.01
Looks promising but is currently out of print and unavailable.
for Answers WinMag.com, July 1997 by Tom Henderson
Overview of how indexing and searching work, Oracle's ConText and SQL
issues, inverted indexing, Verity Search '97 and Microsoft Index Server.
Site Search and
Retrieval Tools WebServer Online, June 1997 by Lang Zerner
Good technical discussion of indexes, site requirements, hardware and resources,
extra features, and search glossary. Includes a somewhat dated buying
- Sorting Through
Search Engines Web Techniques: June, 1997, by Alex Lange
Good article covering the basic issues of choosing a site search tool, chart
describing both commercial and free/shareware options.
- The Searchable Kingdom
BYTE Magazine, June, 1997, Edmund X. DeJesus
Good evaluations of the technical underpinnings of the indexing and search
tools for intranets. Covers Verity Knowledge Base Network, Open Text LiveLink,
Frontier Technologies CyberSearch, Infoseek Ultraseek [bought
by Inktomi, June 2000 -ed.], Inktomi's HotBot, Lycos/Inmagic, AltaVista
Retrieval for Your Intranet: Tools to make corporate data more accessible
PC Magazine, May 6, 1997 by Scot Finnie
Helpful discussion of the issues in setting up an intranet search system,
including search techniques, indexing, operating systems, crawling, data types,
database access, images, results formatting, concept clustering and agents.
Provides practical tips on how to choose a system.
Search: A User-Interface Framework for Text Searches D-Lib Magazine,
January 1997 by Ben Shneiderman, Don Byrd and W. Bruce Croft
Ideas about designing search interfaces, with a "framework" of four
steps: formulation (defining the searchable data and search options), action
(issuing the search), review of results (results formats) and refinement (adding
relevance feedback). Also describes how principles of user interface apply
to search interfaces and includes a case study of redesigning the search interface
to the Congressional Record.
- Add a search engine
to your site Chami.com, December 12, 1996
Slightly elderly but still useful checklist of the various options for site
search including integrated server search, separate applications, CGI scripts,
applets and subsets of webwide search engines.
- A review of robot
based Internet search services Report for Project Desire, August 1996
by T. Koch, A. Ardö, A. Brümmer and S. Lundberg
Comprehensive coverage of both webwide and local site searching with robot
spiders as of 1996. See in particular section 4.2, Analysis
of full text retrieval systems and Annex 3: Analysis
of fulltext retrieval software.
- The PIPER Letter: Web
Site Search Engine November, 1996
Good Overviews with useful descriptions of the technical issues of site search
- WebMaster's Technology
Notes - Search
Elderly (dated 1996) but thoughtful commentary on site search technology.
Page Updated 1991-12-31