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I’ve long been a supporter of dtSearch, a relatively inexpensive full-text search program that does an excellent job of finding needles in haystacks that come in a wide variety of file formats. While the original program was designed to index files on a single computer, dtSearch has expanded, adding capability that non-techie users can appreciate, but that only a programmer can love. Plain old dtSearch is now dtSearch Desktop, with other versions available if you wish to incorporate the search engine into your Web site or index the data on a CD-ROM you’re about to publish. The old dtSearch was easy to use. To set up an index, specify one or more directories and file names to be indexed, click the Start button, and the program reads each file and collects the words in each file into a concordance. Once the index is complete, click on the Search button, construct your Boolean or natural language search request and dtSearch returns a list of responsive files. Click on a line on the list, and the file in question appears in a separate window, with items in your search request highlighted. If you wish to pull a quotation into your word processor, simply highlight and copy from the dtSearch screen and paste it into your word processing program. There is no need to extract a file from an archive, or launch the program that created the Zip archive, word processor, spreadsheet, PDF or HTML file; dtSearch reads them all. Version 6, like Version 5 works quickly with a wide variety of search modes, including word stemming and relevance ranking, phonics searching (for soundalikes), synonym and fuzzy searching. I like the new ability to schedule automatic re-indexing during off-hours, particularly for large, frequently changing files; the ability to conduct a new search without closing the search window for the current search makes the program more convenient to use. But the most intriguing new feature I saw was the ability to index public sites on the Web. Identify the site’s home page, tell dtSearch how many levels of nested pages you wish to search, and the program creates a searchable index point back to pages on the indexed site. Web sites often have a built in index or search program, but I’ve found that dtSearch lets me find things on some sites that I couldn’t find using the built-in program. Of course, the site you indexed yesterday may no longer have the page you’re looking for today; welcome to the ever changing Web. Obviously, it takes longer to index a Web site than files on your own hard drive, and search engines such as Google can do an excellent job of finding sites that have what you need. But if you think the information is on a particular site and Google doesn’t lead you to the correct page, dtSearch may well provide an answer. dtSearch cannot index a password protected site. Thus this feature will not handle a Web-based document production archive or other collaborative data depositories. On the other hand, the vendor would be delighted to sell you a dtSearch engine that runs on the Web site itself, and is accessible from users that have password access to the site. I read about, but did not test, some new Version 6 features. I don’t think that many lawyers will wish to delve into the mysteries of XML and efficient linking of database across multiple platforms, but I can see large firms with multiple offices hiring programmers to whom these matters are not mysteries, so as to make needles available to lawyers throughout the firm, a feature that should be of great interest to multi-office firms, but belongs in the “programmers will love it” category. dtSearch Desktop Version 6 gives more capability for the same price; grab the free upgrade if you purchased an older version since January, 2000, I think you’ll find the new version worth the $75 per user upgrade cost if you have a 1999 or earlier version. Needless to say, if you ever have a need to find specific information in a mass of otherwise unorganized data files, the $200 per user cost will seem to be justified, the first time you find that needle you’ve been seeking. DETAILS dtSearch Desktop, Version 6.0 Price: Single user or 1-4 users on Network, $199.00 per user; 5-24 users on Network, $160.00 per user. Upgrade free for purchasers in 2000 or 2001; $75.00 per user for earlier purchasers. Requires IBM PC or compatible running Microsoft Windows 95/98/2000/ME or NT 4.0 or later, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 installed. DT Software Inc. 6852 Tulip Hill Terrace Bethesda, MD 20816 Phone: (800) 483-4637 or (301) 263-0731 Fax: (301) 263-0781 Web: www.dtsearch.com

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