November 11th, 2003

searchtools.com

Product Report: Isearch

This is an off-site copy of the corresponding Product report page on the SearchTools.com website, and it is designed to allow you to comment on the product and/or the reporting. For more information about the topic of search and tools visit SearchTools.com where you can browse many articles, in-depth analysis and overviews of external resources.

Isearch

CNIDR version (Center for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval)
Etymon version with links to the FAQ (see also Amberfish search engine).
Windows version by François Lemoine
Open Directory version by Bryn Dole (open source, Mozilla Public License)

Note: this is not the same as the I-Search Engine from Integrated Intelligence.

See also IB- WebCat

Platforms: Unix - Solaris, SunOS, AIX, HP/UX, DG/UX, FreeBSD, Linux and SGI Irix (reburies gcc and g++), recently ported to Compaq Tru64 UNIX, and Windows (see above). For VMS port, contact A/WWW Enterprises.
Price: generally free (source code included)

Open Directory version by Bryn Dole was released in February, 2001. He wrote in a message to the ISearch mailing list:

This version of search is much smaller, much faster, and much simpler than the original Isearch. The Open Directory Search does not run on Windows. It currently only supports Linux and Solaris. I've included some sample scripts for parsing the Open Directory RDF data so that you too can build your own Internet search engine. Provided you have a few Sun E4500s lying around. ;)

I gave it a pre-1.0 release number because of the newness of the release, not the code. I figure I'll go through a few iterations in the packaging, at which point I'll up the release number to 1.0. If more than a few people start making suggestions, I'll get motivated to put the source up on the mozilla.org CVS server.

This version of Open Directory Search understands the UTF-8 encoding, and interprets individual Chinese (and Japanese) characters as "words" allowing searches to be done on individual Chinese characters and combinations of characters. The initial data that is indexed and the searches have to be in UTF-8 for this to work. It will also work for other non-UTF-8 charsets, but may require spaces or punctuation between words for search to work properly.

Articles & Reviews

  • Comparing Open Source Indexers Infomotions Musings; May 29, 2001 by Eric Lease Morgan
    Describes the history and features of eight open-source search engines, freeWAIS-sf (aging code and hard to install, but good for searching email and public domain etexts); Harvest (powerful gathering features for frequently-changing data stores, good with structured documents); ht://Dig (tricky to configure, no phrase searching, automatic stemming and match word highlighting); Isearch (weak documentation and support, easy to install, dated interface, Z39.50 support); MPS Information Server (zippy indexing of both text and structured data, Z39.50 support, Perl API, limited documentation); SWISH-E (simple to install engine, CGIs in Perl and PHP still beta, good for HTML pages, recognizes new META tags, sorts results by field; WebGlimpse (easy to install and configure, requires commercial version for customized output); Yaz/Zebra (mainly Z39.50, no Perl API, mainly a toolkit to index and respond to distributed client queries). Article also points out that chaotic information is less than helpful and encourages organization, structure and vocabulary control.

  • Searching With Isearch Web Techniques, May 1997 by Nassib Nassar
    Describes the historical origins of Web search engines including early experiments with grep and WAIS (the Wide Area Information Server), and the relationship with the library search protocol Z39.50. The article goes on to give instructions on how to download and compile the Isearch engine; run the indexer; understand the fields and add a web interface with a CGI.

Examples

searchtools.com

Product Report: IIC I-Search

This is an off-site copy of the corresponding Product report page on the SearchTools.com website, and it is designed to allow you to comment on the product and/or the reporting. For more information about the topic of search and tools visit SearchTools.com where you can browse many articles, in-depth analysis and overviews of external resources.

IIC I-Search

Product Information

Price: $3,500 for the NT version, $5000 for the Unix version.
Platforms: Windows NT, Unix
Version 4.0 now shipping for NT only.

Note: this is not the same as the CNIDR Isearch engine.