UFOCrawler Tracks Strangeness With IBM Omnifind

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Olav Phillips at Anomalies.net has put the freely available IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition to work at UFOCrawler.com, where people can plumb the Internet for information on the unexplained.

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That movie came out in 1992, just ahead of the World Wide Web, a few years ahead of decent search technology, and over a decade before IBM and Yahoo started giving away Omnifind to any site publisher who wished to implement it.

IBM Omnifind Yahoo Edition is advertised as an enterprise search solution, capable of supporting up to 500,000 documents. The companies tout it as an easy to install and manage solution, and by Phillips’ account, they succeeded.

In a phone chat with WebProNews, Anomalies.net founder Phillips described how the process did go as smoothly as advertised. UFOCrawler launched with Omnifind providing the infrastructure for searching such esoterica as UFO evidence, strange contrails in the skies, and the aforementioned cattle mutilation.

Phillips said UFOCrawler has about 140,000 URLs indexed, which took about a day to crawl to get the search ready to launch. They switched from the open source Nutch search engine, which is part of Apache’s Lucene project.

Lucene also powers OmniFind, but for Phillips the improvements really came in the administrative interface. Being an experienced Unix admin, he had no trouble navigating Nutch for configuration purposes. Other folks in the project needed better administrative tools, and Omnifind delivered them.

UFOCrawler has held up well under recent, heavy interest. It continued to function without problems even under the effects of a powerful Slashdotting, Phillips said, after the popular tech news site featured it in a post.

Mother would approve.

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UFOCrawler Tracks Strangeness With IBM Omnifind
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