The Ghosts of Search Systems Past

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false]  Search systems are like living creatures: they are conceived and created, they grow and change over the years, and, like all organisms, they eventually die.  A search system can die for many reasons.  A supporting API may change, a start-up search company can go out of business, or the system can be replaced by a new, better product.  Some search systems are simply discontinued for lack of use, or the maintenance of the product may become too much of a time and financial drain for the individual or organization who created it.

In the supernatural spirit of Halloween, we’ll take a moment to remember some of the search systems who have passed on.  The new Community Report categorization system over on Intellogist includes a particularly relavent category that will guide us down the path of remembrance: Dead Search and Analysis Sites.  After the jump, let’s enter the Search System Graveyard.

Name: DataStar (non-patent literature search platform)

Date of Death: September 30, 2011

Cause of Death: All users were transitioned over to ProQuest Dialog.

Name: Google Desktop (system for searching desktop files using a Google search form)

Date of Death: September 14, 2011

Cause of Death: Google went through a period of “cleaning house” during the summer of 2011, and many popular Google products were discontinued during this period, including Google Desktop.  Here was Google’s official justification for ending Google Desktop:

In the last few years, there’s been a huge shift from local to cloud-based storage and computing, as well as the integration of search and gadget functionality into most modern operating systems. People now have instant access to their data, whether online or offline.

Name: Intute (directory of web resources)

Date of Death: July 2011

Cause of Death: Lack of funding unequivocally killed the Intute website, which hosts a large directory of web resources.  The program officially ended in July 2011, but the website will continue to be available for the next three years without any maintenance, updates, or additional resources added to the site.

Name: Patent Reader (patent search)

Date of Death: 2007

Cause of Death: This site perished under mysterious circumstances, since a screenshot of the site on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine from September 5, 2007 displays the following message: “Sorry, Patent Reader is closed for at least the next few months.” All screenshots for the site after 2007 also display this message, and the domain seems to be for sale in 2011.

Name: Staggernation (Google search applications)

Date of Death: August 2009

Cause of Death: Google retired the SOAP Search API on which the tools were based in August 2009.  The new AJAX APIs used by Google “do not provide the same functionality,” so the creator couldn’t create new code for the search applications.

Rest in Peace…

All search systems (and applications) will eventually meet their demise.  The dead search systems listed above illustrate that both patent and non-patent literature search systems face the same ultimate fate.  Browse through the other dead search systems listed on Intellogist, and if we are missing any, let us know in the comments!

Technical Translations from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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