View the PDF document A distributed digital library architecture incorporating different index styles

McNab, R. J., Witten, I. H., Boddie, S. J. (1998) Proc IEEE International Forum on Research and Technology Advances in Digital Libraries,Santa Barbara, California, pp 36-45. IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos.

The New Zealand Digital Library offers several collections of information over the World Wide Web. Although full-text indexing is the primary access mechanism, musical collections can also be access through a novel melody retrieval system. In offering this service over a three-year period, we have had to face many practical challenges in building, maintaining, and administering diverse collections of different kinds of information, involving different search and retrieval systems, with different user interfaces. This paper describes the design of the software we have built to support the service. Interface server programs provide a uniform interface between search engine and client, irrespective of the nature of the collection. Search engines that embody completely different index styles operate under a single distributed framework-we describe as examples MG, a full-text retrieval system, and MR, a melody retrieval system. A flexible protocol for communicating between an interface server and a search engine is defined. The resulting architecture simplifies library administration and the creation of new collections by providing a unified framework under which vastly different user interfaces and search engines can co-exist in a distributed computing environment.