A little while ago New York Law School announced the unveiling of their DRAGNET system where searchers are able to use an Application built using Google’s Customized Search Engine (CSE) to find answers to their questions from a stable of 72 legal websites. The announcement runs:
The New York Law School’s Mendik Library has recently developed DRAGNET, a search tool that allows the user to find a topic simultaneously in more than 80 legal web sites and databases. DRAGNET stands for “Database retrieval access using Google’s new electronic technology.”
It is located athttp://www.nyls.edu/library/research_tools_and_sources/dragnet
Leaving aside the difference in the number of Sources, it is a well engineered, and targeted system for its intended clientele. And it is intended for a particular purpose.
DRAGNET can be a good tool to begin a research project, giving you a sense of what kinds of materials can be found on your topic.
What is of interest to me is that it has been touted by commentators (on the web4lib listserv for example) as a “federated search tool.” Now, admittedly this use of federated search (FS) does not include capital letters, and the actual phrase has something of an identity crisis laden history, but DRAGNET (which does not use the name) is not a federated search system by whatever name you wish to call the technology.