When oil and gas companies such as Amoco, Tenneco, and Union Pacific look for wells for further exploration, they rely on a company like Petris Technology Inc., Houston, to track down likely sites. Petris maintains graphical down-hole property data on up to 4 million wells around the world that can be accessed directly over the World Wide Web. To facilitate searching, Petris has added Krakatoa interactive-finding technology software from Cadis Inc. on top of the gigantic database. This allows engineers to navigate down through the mass of data, searching by attributes of the well and its location. "It's a much quicker way to get into the data and alleviates the size of the burden you put on the database when it's actually time to pull the records you have selected," says Petris product manager Joe Frazier. Krakatoa interactive-finding technology is an alternative to existing key-word search methods that enable content owners to organize and publish their information (data, images, documents) in a classification structure that can be searched interactively without having to know the record number or text description of the item desired. "You can think about it as having a really great interactive table of contents on top of your data," says Janet Eden-Harris, Cadis director of business development. "The assumption is you already have information you are publishing up on the Web. Without Krakatoa, the only way your users can find data is by entering key words. We call them 'GAP' searches for 'guess and pray.' Key-word searches are useful for some things, but for any kind of complex data they fall apart. You must guess the key words that apply and hope the search results contain the items of interest. Unfortunately, most result in hundreds of potential items, many of which don't have any relevancy to the search. With Krakatoa you navigate quickly by selecting categories, subcategories, and features of interest and are only presented valid choices. So in a matter of five or six mouse clicks, you can go from a million items down to a handful that qualify." No programming knowledge is needed to set up the search engine or to use it once in place, according to Cadis. "The Krakatoa approach allows anyone to take existing content, whether structured or not and, without programming, create a knowledge base using a simple drag and drop interface," says Chris Beall, Cadis' chief technical officer. "You don't need to modify programs or unload and reload data. And Krakatoa has proved usable in both Web and client/server implementations with no training whatsoever." Announced at the end of November 1995, Krakatoa has already found a home in search methodology applications in a number of industries in addition to oil and gas exploration. For instance, Information Handling Services Inc., Englewood, Colo., one of the world's largest commercial CD-ROM publishers, also sells data on electronic components by subscription over the Web. Krakatoa allows subscribers to drill down into data on some 1.6 million components. Hearst Publications, National Semiconductor, Hitachi America, and Philips Electronics all have their product catalogs on the Web, searchable with Krakatoa. Krakatoa technology also serves as the search engine for Cadis PMX Parts & Supplier Management software, a client/server application deployed within the purchasing, engineering, and design functions of a company to aid in searching existing parts for reuse -- saving time and money by reducing duplication.