Google Search Appliance - British Museum Knowledge Search
October 29, 2019Role(s): Project LeadThe British Museum
🍵 1 min to read (suggested)
As part of the British Museum's failed attempt at digital transformation, we embarked on the installation of an 'enterprise' search solution from Google - their now defunct yellow boxes - the Search Appliance.
This project cost hundreds of thousands of pounds (£475,000 for 3 years), but ultimately was not the solution that they needed. I was given this project after I returned from paternity leave in 2015, with the brief that this system was to replace the aging and failing Collection Online (which was not replaced until 2019, via the use of a middleware solution, which incidentally had facets of the recommendation I'd made. )
Unfortunately, GSA was basically a directory of page links with some meta data - so the fabulous team at ECS had to think of a solution that got round these limitations. By integrating with SSL's Index + API, the data was aggregated onto an Angular JS front end, which was then deployed using the styles provided by the BM digital team.
The project was ultimately derailed by the Information Services division of the Museum being unwilling to support it in the workplace and blame for its procurement being passed around. The system was removed from use and all that remains as a trace for this project is a web archive page and the initial launch tweets.