Search Introduction

The OSU search tool has been updated to provide a better long-term web search solution for Oregon State University.

The purpose of the OSU Search Category in the CWS blog is to examine the evolution of OSU’s web search, and offer more detailed information about OSU’s current search capabilities and keep OSU current on the happenings with OSU Search.



OSU has seen three search solutions through the course of its web history.

Inktomi – 1998-2002
Inktomi was OSU’s first search engine. Inktomi’s base technology was initially developed at Berkeley, and during the mid-to-late 90’s became the driving force behind the Yahoo and HotBot search engines.

Google – 2002-2004
Google originated at Stanford university as project BackRub, named for its weighting of backlinks in its search algorithm. In a few years, it developed into the most popular search engine in the world. As a natural expansion to the search engine, Google developed standalone search appliances aimed towards large organizations with a substantial web presence. Google Search Appliances provide a solution-in-a-box for searching large intranets and offering more specific content filtering than is possible with’s web interface. One of these appliances powered the OSU search for almost two years.

Nutch – 2004-2009
In August of 2004, at the end of the Google contract, Central Web Services evaluated Nutch as a replacement search service. Installed on OSU hardware, running software built, configured, and maintained through ardent cooperation between CWS and Nutch programmers at the beginning of Nutch’s history with OSU, Nutch powered the service for many years. During this period Google advanced many features of their appliance and search capabilities. Because of the advanced capabilities of Google and the overhead to deal with the issues existing in the nutch release, the decision was made to sunset nutch for OSU and return to a much improved Google Search Appliance.

Google Search Appliance – 2010-

On January 1st, 2010, Central Web Services unveiled the new Google Search Appliance.

Why Change?

The migration to Nutch in 2004 was initiated to improve flexibility and extensibility, and as an open source product access to the code was available. As other advancements occurred in technology, there was not adequate time or personnel to be able to focus on code changes to have the nutch search engine reach a stable state and meet the growing needs of OSU. In October of 2009, the decision was made to let the search experts take care of search, while the administration and the front end design and other enhancements to search management would be maintained by the good people of Central Web Services.


Contact Central Web Services with questions, comments or concerns.