Does the federal government finally "get" search?

GSA and OMB issue request for information asking, Does search technology make heavy-weight metadata an anachronism?

How hard is it to collect data from multiple databases, rank them according to different criteria, and display them in a hyperlinked format? For Web search engines, it's old hat. For the federal government, it's meant precise metatagging of content and adherence to strict standards. That old thinking may be on the way out, as the government considers adopting commercial search solutions that are much lighter-weight than government-created standards, according to Federal Computer Week

A recent request for information, issued jointly by the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget, asks whether search technology is powerful enough to replace some government standards for information management.

"Does current search technology perform to a sufficiently high level to make an added investment in metadata tagging unnecessary in terms of cost and benefit?" the Sept. 15 RFI asks. Responses are due by Oct. 21.

The notice will likely lead to and shape procurements in the next decade, according to supplementary information on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. Some people say existing technologies that can fulfill the request are ready and waiting for the government to notice them.

The notice is further proof that OMB and GSA are well aware of the state of network computing and ready to move aggressively to enable the government to take advantage of private sector breakthroughs. See, for instance, "FirstGov gets with modern search" and "OMB 'throwing out'"