New Search Engine to Make Obsolete Formats Accessible

    Nov 18, 2014

    There could be good news on the horizon for accessing obsolete electronic file formats. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is developing a new search engine named Brown Dog, which will convert defunct computer files into accessible formats, reported PBS NewsHour recently. 

    Kenton McHenry, a senior research scientist at the NCSA, explained that a user will be able to feed a file saved in an obsolete format into the cloud-based search engine, and it will transform the file into a format the browser can read. It will also be able to assign metadata to images that were previously unreadable, making them keyword searchable.

    Development of Brown Dog is funded by a $10 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation as part of its Data Infrastructure Building Blocks program. McHenry told NewsHour that the search engine will likely be available on a limited basis and testing in March 2015.

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