Architecture: What is under the Hood
WorldWideScience.org implements Federated Search to provide its encompassing coverage of global science and research results. WorldWideScience.org allows the information patron to search multiple data sources with a single query from the user interface. When the information patron enters a query in the search box, the query is sent to every individual database or portal searched by WorldWideScience.org. The individual data sources send back to WorldWideScience.org a list of results from the search query. WorldWideScience.org then ranks the hits from all the sources in relevance order. The information patron can review this hit list and travel to the host site of a particular hit for more detailed information.
This process allows WorldWideScience.org some key advantages when compared with existing crawler-based search engines. WorldWideScience.org does not place any requirements or burdens on owners of the individual data sources, other than handling increased traffic. Federated searches are inherently as current as the individual data sources, as they are searched in real time.