ARCHIVED: Completed project: IU Search

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Primary UITS contact: Martin J. Wagner

Completed: August 17, 2015

Description: IU Search comprises the primary search page ( and the custom search boxes used on Indiana University web pages. The goal of this project is to meet user expectations for the search results obtained from these resources.

Outcome: An improved search interface will result in higher user satisfaction and the distribution of better information about IU.

Timeline for rolling out Google Custom Search:

  • August 8, 2012: Complete front-end look and feel for IUB and IUPUI
  • August 10, 2012: All promotions (keywords) entered
  • August 13, 2012: Switch search boxes on campus gateways
  • August 20, 2012: Classes start
  • October 14, 2012: Microsoft FAST Search no longer supported as a search platform
  • November 4, 2012: All traffic to redirected to Google Custom Search
  • December 16, 2012: Microsoft FAST service shut down

Milestones and status:

  • April 2014: IU Branding and responsive design implemented
  • November 2013: Update with IU Branding, responsive design underway
  • September 2013: Update with IU Branding underway
  • January 15, 2013: Mobile site planning and development underway
  • December 16, 2012: Search as you type enabled on
  • December 16, 2012: FAST service shut down
  • November 16, 2012: All IU Gateway sites on Google Custom Search
  • November 4, 2012: All traffic to redirected to Google Custom Search
  • October 25, 2012: updated with new interface
  • October 14, 2012: FAST Search crawlers taken offline; FAST Search no longer supported. Google Custom Search is now the supported search platform.
  • October 8, 2012: New Search home page under development
  • October 1, 2012: SharePoint FAST Index cleanup underway
  • Communicated with Campus Web Managers, Webserve account managers, FAST site admins, Search-l email list, GSA Admins, and all web admins from IUB and IUPUI A-Z lists about Google Custom Search and FAST retirement
  • July 31, 2012: Google Custom Search offered as an alternative to Microsoft FAST Search. Weekly infoshares starting 10am Wednesday, August 8, on IU Connect
  • July 7, 2012: Requested SharePoint Designer to be installed on IUanyWare
  • July 6, 2012: Moved FAST Crawler into production
  • July 2, 2012: Performance tuning FAST Crawler
  • June 21, 2012: Introduced FAST Crawler in addition to SharePoint Crawler
  • June 7, 2012: Performance tuning FAST Search
  • June 1, 2012: Scheduled Health Check with Microsoft
  • April 1, 2012: Microsoft FAST Search replaces Google Search Appliance
  • March 2012: Weekly FAST Search infoshares from March-May 2012
  • March 2012: Pilot of Microsoft FAST Enterprise Search underway
  • January 2012: Pilot of Microsoft FAST Search planning, configuration, and testing underway
  • October 2011: Microsoft FAST Search planning underway
  • August 2011: Researching GSA alternatives, Microsoft Enterprise Search and Apache Solr
  • July 2011: New performance tune of IU GSA, with faster and more accurate results; Google Search Appliance installed
  • May 15, 2011: redesign live
  • April 2011: Search.IU Mobile site under development; preview available at
  • January-March 2011: New Search.IU homepage under development (new features include new interface, Google and Bing search tabs, social media connectivity, and new campus images); IU Searchlight podcast, intended to shed light on search, with a focus on using search at IU (; Search.IU Twitter feed (@iusearch,
  • January 2011: Evaluation of Solr, Google, and FAST search underway
  • January 2011: Pilot of Microsoft FAST Search planning
  • September 2010-May 2011: Enhance with options for Google and Bing search results. Add advanced features such as a directory of other search resources.
  • August-September 2010: Conduct a survey of IU search professionals to gather more ideas for improvement. Complete
  • July 2010: Encourage and address specific feedback about the usefulness of results by adding a feedback link to, and offer IU web professionals the opportunity to use the feedback link with their custom search boxes and search results. Complete
  • June-August 2010: Educate the IU web community with updated search information. Complete
    • Search Confluence space updated with documentation of new features
    • IU Knowledge Commons space added to provide information on custom search boxes
  • March-May 2010: Educate IU search professionals on the new features of the Google Search Appliance. Complete
  • March-April 2010: Optimize search at the system administrator level by testing the new features and updating the configuration of the Google Search Application.
  • February 2010: Migrate to new Google Search Appliance. Complete
  • December 2009-January 2010: Install, configure, and test the new Google Search Appliance to be the primary source of search results.
  • September-November 2009: Develop a proposal to renew the license for the Google Search Appliance. Completed (proposal approved and license renewed in November)
  • August 2009: Develop a plan to improve IU Search with IU search professionals. Completed (see recommendations below)

Comment process: Use the IU Search Feedback Form.

Benefits: Visitors to IU websites will be able to find information more easily. IU web and search professionals will have more tools to help visitors find content.

Related information: Search recommendations from IU search professionals during fall 2009. In fall 2011, Microsoft Search became a viable option that did not exist in 2009:

  • Educate the IU web community on methods to improve search:
    • Provide techniques to assure content is crawled, indexed, and found as desired.
    • Explain how to work with campus web managers to achieve a more effective search.
  • Educate GSA collection managers and front-end owners on how to improve search:
    • Identify duplicate, excluded hosts.
    • Optimize search results for improved user experience, including integration of unused GSA features available to front-end owners, such as search-as-you-type, dynamic result clustering.
  • Optimize search at the system administrator level:
    • Improve global duplicate hosts, excluded hosts, and other global features through improved communication with developers within UITS, possibly leveraging the new API.
    • Upgrade the GSA software as patches are released.
    • Investigate the unused extensibility of the GSA, including the GSA API. Consider free Google extensions, best practices, and extensive Google Labs code available from Google.
  • Analyze search problems:
    • Analyze existing search problem reports.
    • Collection and front-end owners should use GSA reports to analyze search queries.
    • Introduce mechanisms to collect data in the future such as surveys, solicit feedback on search pages, or centrally collect and analyze search problem reports.
    • Utilize Google's value-add services, including regular consultative "Health Checks" to seek solutions to search problems and feedback on our configuration and practices.
  • Continue using the GSA:
    • The GSA is underutilized, and can meet the stated search requirements if utilized more fully. With available information, no known search engine meets more requirements.
    • A complete transition to a new solution would take more time and resources than we have.
    • Renew the GSA contract for a three-year period, increasing the document count from 2 million to 3 million documents. Contract renewal includes a significant hardware upgrade.
    • Evaluate solutions to replace, supplement, or complement the GSA during the new contract period.
    • Periodically ask for assessment of what Google search products we should be using.

Primary client: Visitors to IU websites and the IU search and web professionals who maintain those sites and search tools

Project team: UITS Enterprise Web Technical Services is managing the project and environments. Team members include web professionals from throughout the university.

Governance: The Web Standards Committee will ensure that the needs of the IU web and search communities are met.

This is document bafu in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 16:40:39.

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