Report Number: CS-TR-97-1580
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: STARTS: Stanford Protocol Proposal for Internet Retrieval and Search
Author: Gravano, Luis
Author: Chang, Kevin
Author: Garcia-Molina, Hector
Author: Paepcke, Andreas
Date: January 1997
Abstract: Document databases are available everywhere, both within the internal networks of the organizations and on the Internet. The database contents are often "hidden" behind search interfaces. These interfaces vary from database to database. Also, the algorithms with which the associated search engines rank the documents in the query results are usually incompatible across databases. Even individual organizations use search engines from different vendors to index their internal document collections. These organizations could benefit from unified query interfaces to multiple search engines, for example, that would give users the illusion of a single big document database. Building such "metasearchers" is nowadays a hard task because different search engines are largely incompatible and do not allow for interoperability. To improve this situation, the Digital Library project at Stanford has coordinated among search-engine vendors and other key players to reach informal agreements for unifying basic interactions in these three areas. This is the final writeup of our informal "standards" effort. This draft is based on feedback from people from Excite, Fulcrum, GILS, Harvest, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Infoseek, Microsoft Network, Netscape, PLS, Verity, and WAIS, among others.