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Integrated search is a methodology utilizing standard search techniques, such as search engines, but integrating multiple sources in the process. It may include searching many closely or loosely related databases. However, how closely or loosely related they are depends upon the keywords used.
In general, the procedure of integrated search involves indexing enormous amounts of data to provide the most comprehensible and customized search. This allows all of the data to be available in one place, thereby making search effective and efficient.
An example of an integrated search is described in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s website in text entitled “About Integrated Search.” This Bureau describes integrated search as a Web service with a technology infrastructure allowing criminal justice professionals to search many statewide databases with only a single username and password. Users may access the system with search criteria such as name, birth date, and driver license number.
Another example comes from one of Twitter’s investors, Fred Wilson. He demonstrates an integrated search in Twitter that shows real-time search results and trending topics, plus a brand-new "featured user" element, which includes ten items as trending topics and another 7 called "nifty queries." Twitter searches numerous databases to obtain specific information as it executes an integrated search.
An integrated searching capability is also utilized in desktop searching, where it has the ability to simultaneously search hard drives and removable storage on the user's computer. The desktop searching software creates an index of files enabling fast and easy searching.