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Chapter 1. Introduction


Zebra is a high-performance, general-purpose structured text indexing and retrieval engine. It reads structured records in a variety of input formats (eg. email, XML, MARC) and provides access to them through a powerful combination of boolean search expressions and relevance-ranked free-text queries.

Zebra supports large databases (tens of millions of records, tens of gigabytes of data). It allows safe, incremental database updates on live systems. Because Zebra supports the industry-standard information retrieval protocol, Z39.50, you can search Zebra databases using an enormous variety of programs and toolkits, both commercial and free, which understand this protocol. Application libraries are available to allow bespoke clients to be written in Perl, C, C++, Java, Tcl, Visual Basic, Python, PHP and more - see the ZOOM web site for more information on some of these client toolkits.

This document is an introduction to the Zebra system. It explains how to compile the software, how to prepare your first database, and how to configure the server to give you the functionality that you need.