University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We're in the process of redesigning our website and are reviewing our site search. Currently we use the free Google search, but some are not happy with it. It's been suggested to get a Google Search appliance, which I've heard is overkill. Does anyone have suggestions for a site search engine?

Thanks in advance!

Beth Hastings
Web Designer
Columbia College
http://www.ccis.edu

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We've found the paid Google Custom Search to be decent, although I'm not thrilled with Google's customer support-- no phone support, the quality of ticket responses has been mixed, and there was no migration tool or guide (or coherent support of any kind-- Custom Search support staff typically had no knowledge of the Mini; my best resource was in sales since he used to do Mini sales) for Mini customers transitioning to Custom Search once the Mini was discontinued. The lack of support for transitions is what makes me really reluctant to stick with Google-- even if they change a product we've been paying for, I'm largely on my own to figure out how to move our data and make it work. 

The Google Mini search appliance was perfect for Bryn Mawr College's size. The enterprise search appliance was certainly overkill and prohibitively expensive for us. 

Apache Solr looks interesting-- we're considering switching to that once a majority of our content is in Drupal. I'd be interested to hear what others have to say about this or other solutions. 

I apologize in advance for the crossposting (http://cuwebd.ning.com/forum/topics/alternative-search-engine) but just discovered this search thread.

I've been looking into Apache Solr; as you point out it integrates with Drupal and we have a number of Drupal sites. That said, we're a mixed Drupal/WordPress shop, and we've got a number of other sites that aren't on either platform that would also need to be crawled. 

I'd love to dig into the combination of Solr + Nutch (http://wiki.apache.org/nutch/NutchTutorial). I'm not sure how well it would scale to crawling the entire college web presence (at the very least we're talking 150 sites).

The mini was a good solution for quite a while, though we've had issues with tuning its crawl. I'd love something that would let me get under the hood -- the mini was the very definition of a black box -- but I don't want to sink hundreds of hours into re-inventing site search if there's a good alternative.

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