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Federated Search vs. Enterprise Search: Which to Choose?

Federated Search and Enterprise Search are two different approaches to searching across an organization. Find out which one is best suited for you.
Brody Hall
By Brody Hall
Joel Taylor
Reviewed by Joel Taylor

Published March 22, 2022.

When it comes to searching, there are two main types: a federated search engine and an enterprise search engine. Federated search is a type of search where results are pulled from multiple sources, typically both internal and external, while enterprise search is limited to a single source.

So which one is right for your business?

To find out, read through this search engine and software comparison.

What Is Federated Search?

Federated search is the process of combining the results of multiple repositories into a single search interface. This can be done by either importing the results of individual searches into a central database or by querying each search engine simultaneously and returning the results in a single list.

What Is Enterprise Search?

Enterprise search is the process of indexing and retrieving content from a variety of sources within an organization. The goal of enterprise search is to make it easier for users to find the information they need, regardless of where it is stored. Enterprise search solutions use various techniques to index and retrieve content, including keyword searching, full-text indexing, and metadata extraction.

Which Should You Choose?

Federated Search

  • Pro Federated searching can be used to improve the accuracy of search results by incorporating the results of multiple engines, as well as to improve the speed and flexibility of searches by allowing users to scan multiple sources at once.
  • Con As federated search’s approach involves indexing multiple data sources, it can deliver too many results for some users.

Enterprise Search

  • Pro Enterprise search engines provide a single interface to access all the information within an organization, regardless of its location or format.
  • Con Enterprise search often relies on legacy systems that can be difficult to change or update, which can impact its functionality and usability.

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