Review of Available Search Tools

This review looks at available search tools for possible integration within the Sakai VRE.



JAFER is a Java z39.50 toolkit [1], with client and server components. The client is configurable Java bean originally designed as a Java servlet, but now available as a portlet[2]. JAFER uses an XSLT pipeline to transform search results into XML/XHTML, allowing considerable customisation.


The CREE project[3] looked at searching in portals. They produced a number of deliverables, including some excellent overview materials, and a google search portlet. The CREE Literature Review, split into functional and technical parts[4] is in particular to be recommended. Interesting the functional review talks about browsing as well as searching, but the technical review is entirely limited to searching.

On 4th April I sent a message to Chris Awre askign for access to the Google and GetRef portlets as instructed by the project website, but have yet to have any response.

3. MDC

MDC (or Middleware for Distributed Cognition)[6] is a project extending JAFER to work with IMS Resource List Interoperability Data Model (a standard for "reading lists") and focused primiarily on explicitly learner-centered interfaces. MDC contributed the work back into the JAFER version control and represents a continuation of the JAFER work.

4. ASK

ASK (or Accessing and Storing Knowledge)[7] is a current project integrating a number of different toolkit (services) including: eXist (metadata management), VFS (content management), JAFER (federated search) and Guan Xi (Shibboleth authentication).

5. References

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OSS Watch is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and is situated within the Research Technologies Service (RTS) of the University of Oxford.