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Federal govt goes shopping for new search service

New search must be OpenSearch and IPv6 compliant

The Australian Government Information Management Service (AGIMO) is on the hunt for a supplier of a managed search service for the Government Search Service, which allows people to retrieve information from public-facing government websites.

Government Search relies on keywords and “other refinements to a search pattern” and the existing AGIMO Australia.gov.au portal has used FunnelBack search since 2004.

The Government Search Service is administered by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (AGIMO) for use by any Australian government agency.

FunnelBack began life at the CSIRO and was acquired by content management software company Squiz in 2009.

Earlier this year FunnelBack claimed a victory over search giant Google with the NSW government selecting its search service to replace a Google appliance.

Last month FunnelBack announced it had won a search deal with the state government of Tasmania for the tas.gov.au portal.

In an interview with CIO last year, AGIMO CIO Ann Steward said her office is investigating how Cloud services can be better leveraged by government agencies.

Timeframe for delivery of the new managed service contract for the federal government is scheduled to begin in late August 2011. An initial contract is planned to be three years with possible extensions for up to a further three years.

The service is expected to be a managed service, provided in a SaaS-like manner.

“The supplier will be responsible for the procurement, development and operation of the service,” according to AGIMO. “Finance and the user agencies will only be responsible for making the functionality of the service available to consumers.”

AGIMO’s five year ICT strategy includes more use of online services, like Australia.gov.au.

The Search Service draws information from multiple content sources, including all government (federal, state and local) websites; government publications, including the National Library of Australia; media releases; website metadata; and the government service directory.

Government Search Services has processed an average of 1.8 million queries per month over the past year, with Australia.gov.au doing 120,000 per month.

The index size is about 2.5 million articles from federal government websites and 2 million from state and territory government websites.

Requirements for the service including conforming to the OpenSearch protocol and support for compressed and uncompressed versions of non-HTML documents like PDF, RTF, CSV, Microsoft Office formats and Open Document formats.

Another requirement of the service is to be capable of “interoperating with other systems and protocols” on both IPv4 and IPv6 modes of operation.

AGIMO has provided a list of the 100 most frequently searched for keywords and the recommended government agency website that a search should direct to.

The request for tender closes on June 14 with the new service expected to commence August 22.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

Tags searchSquizfederal governmentFunnelbackenterprise searchagimogovernmentAnn StewardDepartment of Finance and Deregulation

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