As of January, 2012, this site is no longer being updated, due to work and health issues

Search Tools Consulting

Avi Rappoport's Publications


Conference presentations, articles and technical documents, 1996 to present

Articles & Book Chapters

New Robots Exclusion Protocol Agreement Among Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft Live Search InfoToday NewsBreaks, June 12, 2008
The Center Is Where They Want to Be: Google Friend Connect, Yahoo! Open Strategy, MySpace Data Availability, Facebook Connect InfoToday NewsBreaks, May 19, 2008
Your Users Are Talking To You Enterprise Search Source Book 2008, InfoToday, pp.16-17
Short introduction to search log analytics
The Future of Social Networking InfoToday NewsBreaks, October 1, 2007
Google Launches Site Search Service for Business InfoToday NewsBreaks, July 30, 2007
Endeca Information Access Platform 5.0 Released InfoToday NewsBreaks, October 15, 2006
Analysis of the Verity Purchase of Inktomi Enterprise Search InfoToday Newsbreaks, November 11, 2002
Analyzes the purchase of the Inktomi enterprise search engine (formerly Ultraseek) by Verity. This article describes the business relationships and plans of the companies, features of the Inktomi search engine, and the search engine marketplace.
Intranet Search Engines in Intranet Professional, May/June 2002
Considerations in choosing and implementing a search engine within an enterprise intranet.
Search Engines: The Hunt Is On Network Computing, October 16, 2000
Comprehensive review of the functionality of five large-scale search engines: Ultraseek (then Inktomi Search Software), AltaVista Search, Atomz Enterprise, Searchbutton Corporate and Excalibur RetrievalWare. Evaluates indexing, robots, language and file format compatibility, metadata, special fields, query options, customization and search relevance ranking. Article also discusses the benefits and problems of Natural-Language search, database vs. full-text search and open-source search engines.
Robots and Spiders and Crawlers, Oh My! Ultraseek Public White Paper, September 1999
Detailed discussion, of how search engine indexing robots follow links and read Web pages to store the information in search indexes. Includes coverage of problem areas such as image maps, frames, JavaScript and dynamic data. Notes describe how the Ultraseek Spider handles these problems.
Report on the 1999 Search Engines Meeting, Searcher Magazine, July/August, 1999
Detailed report on the Infonortics Search Engines Meeting in Boston, providing an overview of the state of research and products in searching, portals, filters, clustering, summarization, video and sound information retrieval, cross-language searching and text mining.
Add Search To Your Site CNET,, November 1998.
Detailed description of the issues involved in choosing and implementing search on a web site or intranet. Includes a checklist, ideas for testing, interface design, maintenance and summaries of the leading products.
Web Sites That Help in Your MetaSearch San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 1998.
Description of several sites which retrieve and collage search results from several webwide search engines.
"Making your site searchable", Net Professional October, 1998 (v2, n2).
Background on the issues involved in making a site work well with both local and webwide search engines. Explains how to use robots.txt, meta tags, frames, titles and relative links for best site display.
"Mac servers get more search tools" MacWEEK, July 13, 1998.
Description of the benefits and issues of site search tools, including indexers vs. crawlers. Examines the features of iHound, Boolean Search, Phantom and WebSTAR Search.
"Web Site Search Tools for the Mac: Choosing a Web Server Search Engine", Net Professional, August, 1998 (v2, n1).
In-depth comparative review of the four top web site search tools on the Mac: Apple e.g., iHound, Phantom and WebSTAR Search, with sidebars on using the Unix ht:Dig with WebTEN, and using WebSonar as a publishing tool. Includes a feature chart and many screenshots.
Is Your Site a Jungle? ProjectCool Future Focus, December 15, 1998.
Why your site might need a search engine and how it can help site visitors with navigation.

Presentation Slides (HTML and PDF)

Enterprise Search: Critical Success Factors, Workshop Slides - KMWorld/Intranets, October 2006
Description search within enterprise intranets, relationship to taxonomy and IA, technical functionality in finding content, creating rich indexes, query processing, recall vs. precision, relevance ranking, successful search interfaces, testing search engine candidates and log analysis, in detail.
Intranet Search Best Practices - KMWorld/Intranets, October 2006
How to get more out of an intranet search engine - needs analysis, content inventory, rich indexing, date issues, multimedia, dealing with search failure, using analytics to tune, and more.
Tuning Search - Enterprise Search Summit, May 2006
Description of search metrics and analytics in various forms and examples of how insights from log analysis can improve the content, presentation and functionality of search engines.
Search Engines 101 - Enterprise Search Summit, May 2006
Workshop: introduction to enterprise search, high-level views and then technical details of robot crawling, indexing issues, security and access control, query processing, retrieval, relevance ranking, search interface, analytics and choosing a search engine.
Organizing Information For Better Search Results - Intranets, November 2005
Finding and indexing useful content, interfacing with IA, CMSs, multimedia and structured content, and faceted metadata search.
Search 2005 and Beyond - Intranets, November 2005
The basics -- gathering, indexing, query processing, retrieval, relevance ranking, UI, and log analysis. And then the fun stuff: alerting, IA, taxonomies, faceted metadata, multimedia, compliance, social networking, and personalization.
Enterprise Search Overview - Guest Lecture, UC Berkeley School of Information, November 2005
Short explanation of how enterprise search engines work, how they are different from webwide search engines, and the various issues that affect them.
Search Engine Marketing: A jaundiced view - Guest lecture, UC Berkeley School of Information, November 2005
Short explanation of the competing forces in webwide search -- end-users, search engines content publishers and advertisers -- and how it all seems to work now.
Enterprise Search FAQ - Enterprise Search Summit, May 2005
Extensive coverage of various aspects of enterprise search engines for intranets and web sites. Covers gathering and spidering, index issues, query processing, retrieval, relevance ranking, search form and results page user interface, maintenance, search log analysis and issues in choosing a search engine.
Search Log Analytics, Metrics & Analysis - Enterprise Search Summit, May 2005
Describes what metrics and logs are available for search analysis, what to look for, how to use the tools, comparing navigational and topical search, and examples of addressing problem queries.
Using Search Engines for Data Discovery on Intranets - Search Engines Meeting, April 2005
The iterative process of crawling an intranet for search also provides a dynamic view of not just the names and types of documents, but the contents.
Replacing Z39.50 at Last: Using SRW for Federated Search - Internet Librarian, November 2004
Describes the value of federated search among many data sources, the history of Z39.50 as an interchange standard, and the new SRW (Search Retrieve Web Service) as a modern API to simplify the process.
Library Catalogs and Faceted Metadata Search/Browse - Internet Librarian, November 2004
Faceted metadata allows systems to generate a dynamic browse interface to search results, providing the most flexible and helpful access to information. As library catalogs are entirely composed of metadata, most of it reasonably well faceted, this seems a uniquely good application of this technology.
Search and Discovery Tools - Intranets 2004, November 2004
Tools for "discovery" (describing the content on Intranets) and "search" (looking in that content), as well as what will come in the near future.
How Search Engines Work - Enterprise Search Summit, May 2004
Introduction to full-text search, comparisons with database search, and user interface conventions.
Why Search Fails - Enterprise Search Summit, May 2004
Technical and political reasons why search engine installations fail.
Search Engine Issues [PDF] Internet Librarian 2002
Summary of current work on Distributed Search, P2P and Metasearch; integrating search and CMS systems, and search and security / authorization / access control systems.
Search Engine Essentials Intranets 2002, October, 2002
Back-end functionality, covering indexing complex intranets, multiple languages, improving search results, administration and architecture.
Databases and Search Engines Guest Lecture, UC Berkeley School of Information Management and Studies, class 257, September 2002
Explanation of the issues involved with searching text stored in databases, advantages and disadvantages of text search compared with database native search.
Open Source Search Engines and Content Management Systems - OSCOM, September 2002
Description of the benefits of adding search to web sites created by CMSs, survey of leading open source search engines, CMSs with search, and proposal to use syndication standards for search index update notification.
Top 10 Problems with Site Search (and Solutions) - Search Engine Strategies, August 2002
Problems are using search as a crutch, publishing unsearchable content, ignoring user needs, inventing complex new interfaces, providing incomplete coverage, hiding search, creating obscure rules for search, showing confusing results pages, and confusing no-matches pages.
Search Engines Best Practices May 2002
Presentation on enterprise search functionality, illustrated with examples of successful and unsuccessful interface examples, and a summary of the back end processing.
P2P, Meta and Distributed Search Search Engines Meeting, April 2002
Addressing the weaknesses of centralized search engines, covering alternatives including peer search, metasearch engines with screen scraping, and distributed search protocols for server-to-server communication about queries and results.
Web Search Engines: Users Surprising the Experts BayCHI, March 2002
Presentation to computer-human interface experts on the evolution of web search engines from text interfaces, metadata and cryptic Boolean commands to graphical browser interfaces and clever full-text retrieval.
Enterprise Information Portals and Intranet Search - Internet Librarian, November 2001, Pasadena California
Implementing Effective Site Search Web2001, September 2001, San Francisco
Search Engine Strategies August 2001, San Francisco
Site and E-Commerce Search Engines
Intranets and Enterprise Information Portal Search
"Search Engine Developments and Trends" Infonortics Search Engines Meeting April, 2001 Boston Massachusetts
Discussing new features in search engines including personalization and database integration.
"Extending Site Architecture With Search" ASIST Information Architecture Summit, February 2001, South San Francisco, CA
Presentation on the relationship of web site search and site information architecture, and how they can work together to improve user experience.
"Site Search" and "Herding Spiders" Search Strategies 2000 November 9, Dallas TX, USA
Moderate sessions and present information on adding search to a web site, and on controlling search engine indexing spiders (also known as robots or crawlers).
"Search Engine Usability" Thunderlizard Web Design World July 2000 Seattle, WA
Using web standards, testing and log file analysis to improve search engine usability.
"Giving People What They Want: Adding Search To Your Site" Online Magazine July 2000 (v. 4, n 24)
Information on search engines for sites, intranets and portals.
Adding Search to Your Site webmonkey, March 1, 2000
Describes remote search hosting services, how they work, how to set up your site and customize the look and feel.
"Site Search Engines" OnlineWorld99 Conference & Exhibition for Internet Researchers and Managers, October 1999
Presentation to librarians, information brokers and researchers at a conference in Chicago.
"Add Search To Your Site" Web Design & Development Conference, June 1999.
Presentation to webmasters, administrators and designers at a conference in San Francisco.
Web Site, Intranet and Portal Search Tools, Thunderlizard Web Design World: February, April and July 1999
Presentation to webmasters, administrators and designers at conferences in Atlanta, Seattle and Denver.
Mac Web server tutorial CNET February 17, 1999
Step by step information on setting up a Mac web server using WebSTAR, including administration, standard add-ons, security, privacy, optimization, maintenance and logging.
Web Site Search and the User Experience, BayCHI Presentation: January 12, 1999.
Important elements in user interface design and web site / intranet search functionality, with examples from many different search products.
Choosing and Using a Site Search Tool, Live, New Orleans, December 6, 1998.
How to locate and evaluate website search system.
WebSTAR Reference Manual, versions 3 and 4, StarNine Technologies, February, 1998 and June 1999.
User guide and technical reference manual for Web server. Includes sections on configuration, web server security, IP addresses, DNS, virtual domains using IP multihoming and virtual hosts, server-side includes, Secure Sockets Layer, proxy and FTP and mail servers in over 400 pages. Created the manual in FrameMaker and wrote scripts to output in print, PDF and HTML, all from the same source.
"Designing Appearance-savvy Applications" MacTech Magazine, January 1998 (v14, n1).
Examples and guidelines for developers using the new user-interface APIs for Power-PC Macintosh software.
"Using C++ Exceptions in C" develop Magazine, June 1998 (Issue 25).
Step-by-step instructions for adding error handling in C programs using the new C++ exception-handling mechanism.
Page Updated : 2007-05-08