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6 posts from May 2008

May 30, 2008

Some interesting Enterprise search events the week of June 2nd

There are two really interesting events happening next week that might be of interest.

First, Leslie Owens of Forrester is presenting a the Forrester Wave Enterprise Search platform webinar  on Monday morning, June 2 at 8AM. There is a nominal fee, but I think you will find it interesting.

Then, Leslie and several other interesting speakers will be at a free one day seminar hosted by FAST on Wednesday the 4th in Redwood Shores California at the Sofitel Hotel. In addition to Leslie Owens' presentation on 'Technology Populism', speakers will include Jeff Spataro of Microsoft; Hadley Reynolds of FAST; and senior IT managers from Cisco and National Instruments.  Hadley, by the way, speaks and writes on Search Centers of Excellence and other innovations in the application of enterprise search. Be sure to register for the free FAST Search event.

May 22, 2008

Technology or Methodology?

Yesterday I gave a talk at Enterprise Search Summit - New York on the "Nuts and Bolts of selecting a search engine". My main thesis was this: if you look at the Garnet and Forrester reports on vendors, the usual suspects show up in the top right of the chart: Autonomy, FAST Search, Endeca, IBM and  Google. A good part of the audience at ESS uses one of these systems, yet many are unhappy with their vendor's products. Many are ready to drop one to buy and implement one of the others in the same group. If you're unhappy with one of the leading vendors, why believe that switching to another will make everything better?

Maybe the answer is this: It's not the technology, it's the methodology.

Implementing enterprise search isn't rocket science - after all, you can get a degree in rocket science. Doing enterprise search right is a combination of eduction, training, and sometimes sorcery.

May 12, 2008

NIE Joins Gilbane Panel

Miles Kehoe and Mark Bennett join industry thought leaders on "Thinking about Enterprise Search the Right Way" panel at Gilbane San Francisco Conference on June 18-20, 2008.  Gilbane Group provides up to date information on content management, enterprise search, localization, collaboration, wikis, and publishing.  They provide insight on the impact of these technology to your business.

You can join the discussion with industry experts from leading technology, enterprise IT, analyst, and consulting firms by registering at  http://gilbanesf.com/registration_information.html.  Early registration ends May 16, 2008, so sign up now! 

  Plan to attend:


                      Gilbane San Francisco Conference

                               June 18-20, 2008

  Register at http://gilbanesf.com/registration_information.html


EST-3: Thinking about Enterprise Search the Right Way  http://gilbanesf.com/conference_descriptions.html
In our enterprises we search for content for many reasons. It is what we do with that content that creates business value or not. Too often, organizations discover that the content workers require to perform at their highest levels is not found. This may be because the search implementation(s) are not delivered to the desktop to fit easily into workflow, or is hard to find. It can also be that required content never gets included as a retrieval option. We will look to some experts for guidance to establish search tools in the ways that fit how workers seek information and find actionable content to better their work output.

Lynda Moulton, Lead Analyst, Enterprise Search, Gilbane Group
Jean Bedord, Findability & Search Consultant, Econtent Strategies,
Search for the Enterprise: Creating Findability
Mark Bennett, CTO, New Idea Engineering,
Protecting Confidential Information within the Corporate Search Box
Mark Morehead, Senior VP, MuseGlobal
UWire: A Case Study in Using Search to Streamline Editorial Processes in the Enterprise


May 09, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Boston

We hope to see you at  ...

                      Enterprise 2.0


                   June 10-12, 2008

Click here to register for Enterprise 2.0 at http://www.enterprise2conf.com/

  Plan to attend NIE session:

Best Practices for Securing Enterprise Search

Although this session provides technical details it also offers a glimpse at the issues behind enterprise search for those less familiar with the subject. The challenge is to provide easy access to data and content employees need while still protecting sensitive information. Join us as we share best practices for delivering secure yet comprehensive results for leading search engines.
  Speaker - Mark Bennett, Vice President, New Idea Engineering, Inc.
  Speaker - Mike Kehoe, CEO, New Idea Engineering, Inc.


May 08, 2008

A proposed standard for enterprise search

Dieselpoint has announced support for a technology it calls OpenPipeline, which can enhance the task virtually every enterprise search technology uses to get documents into the search index. They will be showing the pipeline at the upcoming Enterprise Search Summit on May 20-21 integrated with their new Dieselpoint Search 4.0, also on display.

The Dieselpoint press release claims:

OpenPipeline provides a common architecture for connectors to data sources, file filters, text analyzers and modules to distribute documents across a network. It is fully functional out of the box and includes an installer, a job scheduler, file scanner and crawlers, doc filters, and point and click interface with drag and drop module installation.

OpenPipeline is compatible with IBM's UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture), and is designed to connect UIMA annotators to other systems.

Document processing can be centralized or parallelized as needed. The transport mechanism is simple, web-services XML over HTTP. RSS/Atom feeds are also possible.

The development philosophy behind OpenPipeline stresses simple, elegant design, and massive scalability. Minimal external dependencies and straightforward plug-in implementation ensure that the learning curve is low.

OpenPipeline can be downloaded without charge from http://www.OpenPipeline.org. It's available under the Apache License.

Making this technology open source makes sense. The core technology for an enterprise search company, their 'secret sauce', is optimizing the index and making search great, not creating new code to parse the latest version of Microsoft Office or of Documentum. By embracing OpenPipeline, presumably we will start to see pipeline stages created by a number of smaller companies and individuals, easing the burden on enterprise search companies. And companies that provide possible sources of data like Content Management Systems, can create a single pipeline stage for their product that could work for every search technology, and be done with it.

To create a searchable index, all search technologies need to create a stream of text. If the source document is a binary file - Microsoft Word, for example - search vendors need to provide some way to read the format and convert it to text. The same is true of content stored in a relational database: each row represents a virtual document which needs to be extracted from the database and turned into a stream of text. This conversion is typically done as one stage of a pipeline. Other stages may include adding metadata, performing entity or sentiment extraction, or even enhanced language processing.

The concept of a 'pipeline' applies directly to many existing search technologies, each with a proprietary method of accessing content. On top of that, no search technology companies have cooperated with competitors to create standards. In the relational database world, standards have made life much better: consider ODBC and JDBC. Because of these standards, developers can write code that can connect to just about any relational database. Not so in search. Maybe this effort will help break the ice. Stay tuned...

As enterprise search users, are you glad to see an open source solution for part of the search puzzle?

May 05, 2008

The problem with alerts - Google or otherwise

I use Google alerts to keep an eye on current events. Over the weekend I got an alert: "AMEC uses Verity's K2" - Now, since Verity is part of former competitor Autonomy, and because K2 is generally not being actively marketed, I decided to read the article. Sure enough, the content is dated January 2004, but Google Alerts thinks it is brand new. So I have to conclude that either the publisher just changed something on the page, or Google is just finding that document - either way, Google thinks this is news and in reality, it isn't.

Not long after we started SearchButton.com, we met the Google founders Sergey and Larry. Mark Bennett, my co-founder at SearchButton and here at New Idea Engineering, asked about the then-young Google's handling of dates and recency, and the Google guys took the position that date wasn't that important. This has led to a couple of energetic email exchanges over the last few years, but my recent alert illustrates the problem Google - and most other search technologies have - in generating really useful alerts. In fact, this subject was of such relevance to enterprise search owners, we had an article about the importance of dates in the first issue of our enterprise search newsletter in April of 2003.

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