Published: December 15, 2010 - 01:00

Searching IBM Lotus – All Information at Your Fingertips

With the Lotus Domino product family, IBM aims to provide, besides the preconfigured groupware services, a fully-fledged platform for creating and deploying line-of-business (LOB) applications.

From the perspective of an enterprise search solution provider like Mindbreeze these Lotus Domino-based LOB applications present an interesting challenge: to build a customizable, fast information retrieval solution that covers data stored in a possibly wide range of Lotus Domino-based database-applications.

From local search to enterprise–level information retrieval

Application-specific search possibilities, usually based on database search are available by
default in the Lotus Domino/Notes environment.

Lotus Notes provides for example a basic search functionality for e-mails and calendar items when deploying the e-mail application. The database search is available in most cases for custom Lotus Domino applications as well. Nevertheless, the major drawback of using only the standard search capabilities is that only “local” information is available for the user, namely by default only the database(s) of  the current application or explicitly loaded
databases (see Multi-Database Search Plugin for Lotus Notes) are searchable. The application user has to know about the structure of the underlying databases in order to find relevant data. Another important drawback of these solutions is the difficulty to
customize how search results are displayed and published.

The objectives we provide with the Fabasoft Mindbreeze – IBM Lotus Connector are to offer enterprise-wide search and views to all your IBM Lotus information. This enables, amongst others, the following main advantages:

  • Ability to search over several Lotus Domino applications,
    covering all LOB applications with their databases (.nsf) stored on the servers and locally. The flexibility of our IBM Lotus Connector for crawling different type of Lotus Domino databases lies on the mapping between the Lotus Domino objects, the notes and the document representations stored in a Fabasoft Mindbreeze Enterprise - Index.
    It is possible to specify in a configuration what object classes need to be crawled and what the relevant items and note attributes are that must be stored as metadata.
  • Search results need to address the relevant content
    first available in a human-readable and usable form with contextual information (including metadata and actions). It is important that by searching in Lotus Domino data sources, the user receives only results that preserve the original application context. The results should be reusable and the original document  easily reachable from the search interface. Fabasoft Mindbreeze Enterprise provides advanced mechanisms for defining context for specific hits. Annotations are available for adding links to other, related search hits and additionally context actions are available for performing different tasks with the search hit. Use cases like displaying the addressees of an e-mail as links to hits representing contacts should be possible also for IBM Lotus Domino search hits.
  • Device-independent information access,
    from the traditional desktop PC to smart phones or tablets (such as Apple’s iPad). The binding of information retrieval to the Lotus Domino application where the original data resides is unnecessary. Using the Mobile Client search, this functionality for IBM Lotus is available on your mobile devices “out of the box”.
  • Security:
    access check of the displayed information is crucial in a collaborative and distributed environment. Lotus Domino provides fine-grained access checking possibilities, even at field level. Therefore it’s important that the enterprise search products takes care of that as well and enforces all access rights that are in-place.

Want to know more about our IBM Lotus Connector.

Fabasoft Mindbreeze Enterprise - IBM Lotus Connector