GSA searches for a new FirstGov engine

The General Services Administration released a request for proposals Jan. 7 for a new search engine for the FirstGov database portal.

Inktomi Corp. of San Francisco holds the contract that expires March 31. The new contract will be for one year with four one-year options. Proposals are due Jan. 17, and GSA wants to make an award by Feb. 28.

The winning vendor will provide installation and hosting services, maintenance and software support. The software infrastructure must be able to spider and index the volumes of uniform resource locators and data GSA expects will increase over the next five years.

This year, GSA expects 15.8 million visits, 58.4 million page views and total pages in the database to be 4.8 million. The agency estimates that by 2006, visits will increase by about 1.8 million, page views by 7 million and the number of pages by 600,000.

The vendor must provide an interface to let agency sites submit queries and receive results, while also offering metrics on queries, information under indices and other statistics. The contractor also will help integrate the FirstGov Web front end with the search engine.

GSA also is asking for vendors to expand on FirstGov's functions. The search engine should let the government define the criteria by which search results are ranked, including recent page updates and specially tagged areas of content.

Besides Inktomi, AltaVista Co. and SAP Portals, both of Palo Alto, Calif., and Yahoo Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., are among the 60 companies on the bidders list.

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