A federated search would traverse independently hosted web sites querying each site in turn before being directed based on the results returned onto the next stage of its search.
We can think of such an implementation, not simply as a specified query of a rational system with predicted results, but rather as a social confederation of search engines swapping recommendations - not just of search results, but also of where else it might be interesting to search.
Yet again Ward Cunningham's writing anticipates our thought. Page Scrape is such a thought. Anyone who has programmed and written extensively in distributed hypertext must surely have had these thoughts. Search is a search of the local context graph of your writing, curated by the author or some equally thoughtful mechanism.
# See also