For decades servers have been filled with millions, if not billions, of documents, that are fairly easy to search. Text search is not the biggest problem IT faces. Searching everything other than documents, however, is a challenge that's getting bigger every day as organizations produce and archive multimedia presentations, videos, and more. If all the key words are spoken rather than written, how is anyone going to find the right video to watch a year from now?

IT Must Deal with Multimedia SearchThe problem is laid out neatly by Linda Musthaler in a Network World column in which she suggests a couple of solutions for searching media files. Her main suggestion: investigate the Web-based services provided by Altus Learning Systems, a company that makes audio and video searchable and playable on demand.

A service technician in an auto repair shop can view a detailed video on how to repair a transmission on that 2006 Cadillac that came into the shop this morning. Think of it as on demand just-in-time training that's easy to find and access."

In this scenario, Altus Learning makes content searchable based on spoken words, hosts the content to make it available on demand, and provides transcripts. If, as the Altus Learning Systems CEO tells Musthaler, "people spend 20 percent of their time looking for information and they find what they are looking for less than half of the time," then a solution like this will pay for itself pretty quickly.

If your organization is loading up on video for training or anything else, it's time to confront the search issue once and for all.

-- Don Willmott