Ecofocus was the pet project of former WSR director Ferdinand Demelbauer. The first version was implemented in Perl (Perl 4, mostly, IIRC) by my predecessor Ari Hoffmann, and and maintained by me from 1995 to 1999. It was basically a hierarchical link catalog with multilingual (German and English, actually) search, automatic checking for broken links and limited community functionality (IIRC users could suggest new links but couldn't add them themselves).

In 1999, Sigi Herzog, Werner Hennrich and I started a rewrite in Java. The new system was intended to have a vastly improved categorization system, better community participation, and — most importantly — a crawler which would search for similar pages to those already categorized and add them to the proper categories.

Ferdinand Demelbauer retired at the end of 1999, and we abandoned the project after that because we didn't think the community contributing links would ever be big enough to get better results than a Google search (We may have been wrong though — is certainly a success).

Source Code and Documentation

This page used to have lots of links to design documents, source code and other docs, but they were all broken. I'm too lazy to revive them from the CVS repository, so I've removed them.


GroupLens Research
The Order of Things: Activity-Centred Information Access
The Direct Hit Popularity Engine Technology A White Paper
Overview over current search engines.
The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine (Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page)
The "Google Paper". I couldn't find any working links any more :-(
Locally cached Papers