Enterprise Search Sourcebook 2008 - (Page SMS_42)
semantic search takes IN THE ENTERPRISE BY RON MILLER root any enterprise search tools don’t differ from their web-based cohorts: They center around entering a few keywords into a blank box then clicking “search.” The search tool then looks for information across one or more repositories and produces a list of results that match the keywords. Most users ignore advanced search functions, which also haven’t significantly changed in many years.While there are certainly exceptions— both advanced searchers and more sophisticated tools are out there—a search process typically produces hundreds of hits, with little way of sorting them beyond relevance ranking. Users are left to find the appropriate information by scrolling through the list of results, hoping to find an item that matches their requirements. If there are multiple meanings to the search keywords, it becomes even more difficult to locate the desired information. Whether the material is on the web, in an RSS feed, or locked in any number of enterprise application repositories, many of today’s enterprise search tools may not be able to find a relevant item simply because the tool doesn’t have access to the right information. Without doubt, there has to be a better way to do this, and some believe it lies in the burgeoning area of semantic search. A Question of Semantics Semantic search differs from traditional keyword search in a number of ways. Instead of looking at the words, the search tool attempts to look at the meaning behind the words. It makes use of ontologies (dictionaries defining the meaning and relationships among words), metadata, and entities (data about data), and it attempts to nail down ambiguities when a term has multiple meanings. It is capable of crossing enterprise applications, databases, a variety of content repositories, the open web, and RSS feeds to produce a set of targeted results. Linda Moulton, a semantic search expert and an analyst at Gilbane and Co., puts it in basic terms. She says, “The 42 ENTERPRISE SEARCH SOURCEBOOK 2008 m first thing is the query itself, the ability to use natural language or meaningful queries to find content through retrieval software designed to understand linguistically meaningful questions and the target content.” The objective is to be able to ask a question and have the search engine understand what it is you are asking for. Semantic search is a tough concept to nail down, according to Bradley Allen, CTO and founder of Siderean Software, Inc. He says when people talk about semantic search, they are generally talking about one of two things: “One is taking the traditional free text search model and putting some kind of intelligence in the query part of what is going on to interpret what the user is asking for and to map that down to a sophisticated representation of what information is out there, rather than what people call the ‘bag of words’ way of looking at a document.” The other part involves breaking that query down to find the underlying meaning. “Think about semantics as something that gets applied at the indexing [stage] of the search process where we take unstructured information, extract the semantics, and create a more structured way of laying out what things are being talked about in these documents, how they are related to other things in the document, as well as standard concepts and topics that are generally relevant to a particular vertical area or domain of discourse.” Allen explains that this allows people to mix free-text search with what’s called faceted navigation (or what Siderean calls relational navigation), and exploit the structure that’s been pulled out of the underlying information. Armed with results of this nature, users can not only find the relevant information, but they can also follow logical paths and make more meaningful connections from the results. Eric Miller, who is president of Zepheira, a consulting firm that helps companies develop semantic web strategies, and who helped architect the semantic web standards at the World Wide Web Consortium, explains that this is very
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Enterprise Search Sourcebook 2008
Enterprise Search Sourcebook 2008
Findings and Figures
Why Enterprise Search Will Never Be Google-y
Searching for Search Usability
Your Users Are Talking to You
What’s Your Search Story?
Search Is Dead—Now What?
Delivering on the Promise of Enterprise Search
Taming Multiple Search Engines in Your Organization
Enterprise Search: Trends for 2008
Enterprise Search Seen From the Inside
Open Source Search: Elixir or Poison?
Avoiding the Big Mistakes in Search
Semantic Search Takes Root in the Enterprise
E-Discovery Essentials: The Rules You Need to Know
SharePoint Search: An Enterprise Contender?
Integrating Security Into Your Enterprise Search Infrastructure
Engineering a Better Search Infrastructure
Letting End Users Ask the Questions, Stat!
The Power of Knowledge
Legal Research Using Enterprise Search: A Developer’s View
From Treading Water to Full Steam Ahead
Pulling Out All the Stops With Midas
A Natural Search Solution
An Incremental Approach to Improving Enterprise Search
The Enterprise Search Sourcebook Showcase Directory
Index to Advertisers and Companies Mentioned
Enterprise Search Sourcebook 2008