Beyond Search

MarkLogic was featured today in an Information World Review article entitled “Beyond Search.” The story is a round-up of new developments in the enterprise search market, seemingly triggered by the announcement of Oracle Secure Enterprise Search 10g.

The piece makes the following points:

  • There is a terminology debate among words such as search, discovery, and meaning. See this post for my take on terminological oneupsmanship.
  • That organizations want to break down stovepipes both across systems and between data and content. Quote: “And users are not interested in searching. They just want to ask a question and get an answer. They want the most relevant information gathered together for them from these multiple sources in response to a single query.”
  • The article touches on a large number of search and search-related technologies: enterprise search, desktop search, search appliances, XML content servers (as in MarkLogic), master data management, embedded search, federated search, clustering, UIMA (which, imho, has produced more light than heat), natural language and fuzzy search, faceted navigation, entity extraction (a la Inxight), security, and search-workflow integration (of which Watson‘s snooping is but one approach).

After the almost dizzying romp through the previous technologies, the article briefly discusses indexing strategies and then ends with a very human observation:

“Someone needs to be looking for popular searches and creating hotlinks to make the users’ life easier. In short, someone has to keep a professional eye out for how the organisation is retrieving and deploying its invaluable information assets. And that someone could be you.”

I think this last point is important. No matter how much technology you throw at the problem, human monitoring and improvement will still be important. Put differently, it’s not really search vs. librarians, it’s search and librarians.

While the article covers a lot of ground quite quickly, I think it’s an excellent round-up, and a great starting point for anyone who wants to use it as a starting point for futher research.

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