This week’s thoughts come from the pile of serendipitous reading that routinely piles up on my desk. In this case a short article in Information Week caught my eye because it featured the husband of a former neighbor, Ken Krugler, co-founder of Krugle. I’d set it aside because a fellow, David Eddy, in my knowledge management forum group keeps telling us that we need tools to facilitate searching for old but still useful source code. In order to do it, he believes, we need an investment in semantic search tools that normalize the voluminous language variants scattered throughout source code. That would enable programmers to find code that could be re-purposed in new applications.

Now, I have taken the position that source code is just one set of intellectual property (IP) asset that is wasted, abandoned and warehoused for technology archaeologists of centuries hence. I just don’t see a solid business case being made to develop search tools that will become a semantic search engine for proprietary treasure troves of code.

Enters old acquaintance Ken Krugler with what seems to be, at first glance, a Web search system that might be helpful for finding useful code out on the Web, including open source. I have finally visited his Web site and I see language and new offerings that intrigue me. “Krugle Enterprise is a valuable tool for anyone involved in software development. Krugle makes software development assets easily accessible and increases the value of a company’s code base. By providing a normalized view into these assets, wherever they may be stored, Krugle delivers value to stakeholders throughout the enterprise.” They could be onto something big. This is a kind of enterprise search I haven’t really had time to think about but may-be I will now.
One thing leading to another, I checked out Ken Krugler’s blog and saw an earlier posting: Is Writing Your Own Search Engine Hard? This is recommended reading for anyone who even dabbles in enterprise search technology but doesn’t want to get her/his hands dirty with the mechanics. It is short, to-the-point and summarizes how and why so many variations of search are battling it out in the marketplace.

I don’t want end-users to struggle too much with the under the hood details but when you are thinking about enterprise search for your organization, it is worth considering how much technology you are getting for the value you want it to deliver, year after year, as your mountains of IP content accrue. Don’t give this idea short shrift because search is an investment that keeps giving if it is chosen appropriately for the problem you need to solve.