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Carrie, from OEID product management, made this recommendation on another post which I think would be a good starting point for anyone trying to understand the moving parts of the technology:
"I recommend that you watch the "Getting Started with Endeca Information Discovery" screencast series available on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF23635ACA47F1E6D&feature=plcp). The outline for the series can be found here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/endeca/learnmore/index.html"
Records in Endeca can be comprised of both structured and unstructured parts. For example, an Endeca record describing an employee might have structured information (e.g. name, SSN, salary) as well as unstructured (e.g. employee's resume, employee's yearly review). The Endeca Server see all attributes the same; merely as key-value-pairs on the record. In the case of unstructured data, the "value" of the key-value-pair just happens to contain a lot of text.
For the purposes of search, you will setup a "search interface" which will define which attributes on the Endeca record you wish to include for search. Thus, when someone enters text in the search box of your application, you will configure that search box to issue the search against your search interface (e.g. search_interface="mySearchableAttributes") which will ensure that the appropriate attributes are interogated for a match (e.g. name, employee_resume, employee_review).