Tuesday, May 01, 2007

CONTENTdm Multi-Site Server

The CONTENTdm Multi-Site Server is not a true federated search product. It does, however, allow CONTENTdm to search across several CONTENTdm installations and present the user with one list of search results (one hit list). As the web site says:
The Multi-Site Server enables users to query multiple CONTENTdm Servers from a single search interface. Geographically remote organizations can create and maintain their own local collections and at the same time provide users with seamless access to cross collection searching on multiple CONTENTdm servers.
This is not just for remote organizations. With many institutions installing CONTENTdm, the Multi-Site Server is a way for them to connect their collections together and create a larger digital presence.

One place that is using the Multi-Site Server is the Mountain West Digital Library. It seems to work seemlessly, although the search can be slow. Results appear to be returned un-ranked, but appear to be grouped by collection.

In addition, the Mountain West Digital Library is using ZContent (An Open Source Z39.50 Connection to CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software), which MWDL developed. You can read more about ZContent at http://www.lib.utah.edu/digital/about/zcontent.php.

It is always useful to see software in action and to be able to "bang" on it. If you're using CONTENTdm, you may want to check out the
MWDL site and think about the advantages of the Multi-Site Server. For some, the product may be more appropriated than installing federated search software, although the product is limited to searching only CONTENTdm sites. (Some regions have so many CONTENTdm sites, that just connecting them together under one search umbrella could be quite useful.)

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