If you’re planning an enterprise search project and have no background in the technologies or principles involved, here are some tips to get you started. This isn’t going to be a definitive list so if you know more, please do comment.
There haven’t been a lot of books written on this area over the years, but more are appearing now (especially on open source options). Managing Gigabytes is a good, if slightly elderly, starting point on basic principles. For thoughts on search user interfaces try Peter Morville’s Search Patterns and for an application focus there’s the recent Search Based Applications. For those developing in the Lucene/Solr world there’s the classic (and recently updated) Lucene in Action and the related Solr 1.4 Enterprise Search Server and Building Search Applications: Lucene, LingPipe, and Gate.
Most people will (of course) start their research on the web, although sometimes it’s hard to find nuggets of real information amongst all the marketing. Wikipedia has a list of vendors, including open source solutions, and Avi Rappaport maintains the useful (although not completely up to date) Search Tools website. Some vendors and some open source projects provide FAQs and tutorials (for example the Lucene FAQ, Xapian and Sphinx documentation), which may also contain general information about search principles.
You might also consider joining discussion groups such as the popular LinkedIn Enterprise Search Engine Professionals or a local Meetup group. Training is another option – offered by some vendors and open source companies such as ourselves.