Yesterday O’Reilly Media published my new book ‘Enterprise Search’ and it is available as both an e-book and in print format. The strap-line for the book is ‘Enhancing Business Performance’ as the objective of writing the book was to help business managers and IT managers work together to get the best from a current or planned investment in search technology. Of the eleven chapters only two are about the technology of search, and they were the most difficult ones to write. This was because I have tried to explain in largely non-technical terms how search works so that readers will have a basis to assess the extent to which the features of commercial and open-source software applications will be able to meet user requirements.
The main theme of the 190 page book is my belief that the impact of search on business performance depends more on the level of investment in a skilled team of people to support search than it does on the level of investment in search technology. Without exception when I start looking into poor search quality for a client the root cause is a lack of understanding about the staff resources for search support. The chapters are entitled Searching the Enterprise, Enterprise Search is Difficult, Defining User Requirements, Making a Business Case. Search Technology Parts 1 and 2, The Business of Search, Specification and Selection, Installation and Implementation, Managing Search and the Future of Search. Appendices list books on search, there is a list of search vendors and search integrators and a glossary. The only topic not covered is user interface design because I felt I could not do justice to it in a single chapter. The Enterprise Search section of this web site will be revised in the next couple of weeks to provide support to readers (and hopefully users!) of the book.
I could not have written the book without the support from a group of highly experienced colleagues. I would like to record my thanks in particular to Miles Kehoe, Stephen Arnold, Charlie Hull, Valentin Richter, Tony Byrne and Stavri Nikolov. Many more colleagues are cited in the Acknowledgements. The support of Simon St. Laurent, Megan Blanchette and Chris Hease at O’Reilly was invaluable. It was not until close to production that I was informed that the title image would be that of a Purple Martin. Someone in Design at O’Reilly clearly has a sense of humour. My thanks to Jane McConnell for the bird site link.
The great benefit of an e-book is that I can be revise very easily without the need for a new edition to be published. On the O’Reilly web page for the book there is a quick link for the submission of errata and suggestions for additions. With your input the quality and value of the book will increase substantially in the future. This is a fast-changing sector of information management as the result of big data, mobile search, cloud search applications and above all the need to maximise the return on information assets that have been created, stored and are now hidden from sight through an ineffective search strategy.