A Universal Search Environment

Udi Manber

The University of Arizona

The world Wide Web has opened the door to whole new ways of acquiring information, doing business, educating, and entertaining. Search has always been in the center of web usage, and considerable resources are being invested in search facilities. Yet, for the most part, search is still time consuming, impersonal, and involves many repeated predictable tasks. In this talk I'll highlight several tools we developed to improve search, and in particular a new system called the "Universal Search Environment" (USE) which allows users to combine all the search facilities available to them - whether they search their own machine, their local network, or the Internet - in a powerful and customizable way via one common interface. USE includes tools to easily translate the interfaces of different search engines into standard search "objects," and tools to combine search objects to form search scenarios. Scenarios can contain different searches using different engines, running in parallel or in a particular order, extracting specific pieces of web pages, and possibly triggering new queries automatically.

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Last modified: September 8, 1998
Robert Blumofe