Opening the Beyond the Printed Word conference, in Dublin today, Reiner Mittelbach told delegates that the engine would help interested parties easily find news, information and reports on the newspaper business.
Ifra's project manager, Dr Amrei Wiederin, later told Journalism.co.uk that the project, which has been in planning for two years, had identified a number of global sources of information and news on the newspaper industry that would be indexed by the new technology - "it's a lot of work, but that's why the quality will be so high".
Ifra is also planning to forge partnerships with trusted news and information sources on industry movements for the project.
"The problem we all have is that users come in via search engines. The problem is that if you do it with Google you get 100 million results, and you don't necessarily get the results you want or it takes you much longer," Dr Wiederin said.
"Our approach is to say, we'll select the pages and cluster them just for the news publishing industry."
The engine, she added, would also index databases of sites that are unavailable to Google search.
The database of Ifra, along with data on partner site's intranet facilities, will be searchable - although access to more than a summary of content could be restricted to non-members or those without prior agreement.
The newspaper organisation has been working with a technology partner to build the engine, she added, which could run search on third party websites.
An official announcement about the search engine will be made in December.