The holy grail of academic libraries for the last few years has been a search engine that rivals Google in attracting our students. Even pre-Google we knew we had to find some way of making searching, and more importantly finding, the good stuff in libraries easier.
Originally we thought dumping everything into our catalog or into our Integrated Library System (in our case, Sirsi) might be the answer, but those systems were designed to retrieve records of books and harked back to the old card catalog.
Then we thought we might be able to develop a "scholar's workstation" in some form, but that never really panned out.
Recently we thought federated searching might do the job, but lowest common denominator searching and the need to connect to multiple databases in real time led to slow and inappropriately displayed results that frustrated users and (even more) reference librarians.
I am over holy grails, but R-search, our name for Serial Solutions Summon service, is really cool. No more choosing databases, clean single search box, fulltext just one click away, intuitive limits and refining of search results, and nice previews. I think students are going to love this.
Let me know what you think.