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How accessible are site-focused search engines?

From: Jamal Mazrui <empower@smart.net>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 22:49:33 -0600
Message-Id: <199807140249.WAA26182@gemini.smart.net>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <webwatch-l@teleport.com>, <basr-l@trace.wisc.edu>
I received the inquiry below, and said I'd follow up by 
seeking answers from relevant lists.  Any info/opinions are appreciated.

Thanks,
Jamal

----- Forwarded Message Follows -----

Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 13:59:21 -0700
From: "Luther Smith" <SMITHLL@dshs.wa.gov>
To: 74444.1076@compuserve.com, RICHA@dis.wa.gov, debcook@u.washington.edu
Subject: Internet Search Engine

Jamal,

I presently work at Washington Department of Social & Health Services/Aging &
Adult Services Administration (AASA), and I am managing the development of our
initial Internet site.  Our site will be hosted by the Washington Department
of Information Services (DIS), where most other Washington state agency sites
are located.  We are interested in having the most highly-accessible site
possible.

DIS is planning to acquire an "industrial-strength" search engine for their
site, which will be the single search engine for all their hosted sites.  They
currently favor the Netscape Compass search engine and will begin a 90-day
evaluation July 27.  Our experiments with that search engine using the Lynx
browser yield miserable results.  The search engine apparently requires a
Javascript browser, which causes a Lynx browser user to go down a long and
frustrating path to yield the same results as are easily available to an
Internet Explorer or Netscape browser user (try using the search function at
DSHS.WA.GOV for a demo).

In our preliminary discussions with DIS personnel, each of the other major
search engines failed to meet one or more of DIS's informal requirements:
1.  Detect and use META tags (Excite doesn't);
2.  Middle-of-the-road pricing ($12,000 for Netscape Compass vs. $30,000 for
Alta Vista);
3.  Search engine vendor is responsive and flexible to work with.
4.  Requires no customized coding to implement.

What is your personal preference for the search engine we need ? 
 
We are working regularly with Washington Assistive Technology Alliance in
building our site.  I will forward the same question to Deb Cook.  Are there
other resources we should work with ?

I am very hopeful that we can find a mutually satisfactory search engine
through these informal, low-level negotiations.  Thanks for your
consideration.
Received on Monday, 13 July 1998 22:49:24 GMT

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