Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 08, 2008

Federated searching of open content

MasterKey is a new search engine specializing in federated searching, launched by IndexData in June 2007.  (Thanks to David Dorman, both on the BOAI Forum and in private emails.) 

The free version of MK currently searches a handful of OA sources, including OAIster, the Open Content Alliance, Open Directory, Project Gutenberg, Wikipedia, and several large library catalogs.  Over time it will search other sources as well. 

MK is also available as a fee-based service that will search over 100 sources, including user-selected library catalogs and OA or TA databases.  For a one-time fee, it will also add a source to the free version, which will then be available to all users.  (The size of the fee depends on the time it takes to set up the connection or fetch and index the metadata.)

Both versions run open-source software.  The difference between the two is not the software but the accompanying database of connectors to the searchable sources.  For now, IndexData is selling access to its own database of connectors, and reselling WebFeat's database of 6000+ translators for use with MasterKey. 

If there were a community-developed OA connector clearinghouse, IndexData would prefer to use it.  While there isn't such an OA clearinghouse today, IndexData would like to develop one and talk to other organizations interested in supporting such a project.