January 24, 2013
Martin White, information management consultant and Managing Director of Intranet Focus Ltd., is one of the leading experts on enterprise search and information access. White has published seven books on topics surrounding information consultancy and enterprise search applications. His most recent publication, Enterprise Search: Enhancing Business Performance, focuses on how to plan and implement a managed search environment in your corporation. The book explains how to meet both the needs of your business and your employees.
White makes a clear business case for search, emphasizing the need to evaluate current search systems and the creation of a support team. The book is well organized and easy to read, with a thorough preface giving an overview of chapters and topics as well as simplified summaries at the end of each chapter. This style makes White’s recent book a great tool for the busy professional.
Chapter 12 is a recommended starting place, listing twelve critical success factors. White states that if you don’t meet at least eight of these twelve, which include investing in a search support team, getting the best out of your current investment in search, and providing location-independent search, then you definitely need the contents of this book.
In Chapter 10, titled Managing Search, White expands on the idea of managing a search support team:
“Implementing search should never be ‘a project’. The work of ensuring that users continue to have high levels of search satisfaction will never come to a close. Each week, and perhaps even most days, there will be something that needs attention. The role of the search support team is not just to be reactive but to anticipate when changes to the search application need to be made, or to identify a training requirement that will address an issue that is just starting to show up on the search logs and user satisfaction surveys.”
Most organizations are not prepared for the rate of growth of information that they are experiencing. White does a great job dissecting the need for enterprise search and then giving you the tools to successfully manage your system, based on far more than just available technology. The section on the future of enterprise search, Chapter 11, stood out to me. White makes an excellent case for why this topic can no longer be ignored.
Additional features include a thorough glossary, lists of books and blogs on information retrieval and enterprise search, and resources for further reading. The book is available here from O’Reilly Media in eBook and print formats. Highly recommended.
Andrea Hayden, January 24, 2013
February 7, 2012
For years the Internet has increasingly become the go-to source for information, networking, shopping, and socializing. You can read the news on any major news outlet, check the weather for the day, send messages to friends and family, and buy anything your heart desires, all before getting out of bed or having your first cup of coffee, and all at the touch your fingertips.
The Internet can easily be considered the greatest medium for information, and it has completely transformed the way we communicate, the way we shop, and even the way we learn. While the Internet can certainly be considered a convenience, is there ever a point when too much information or too much access is a problem?
In the recent report “Are We on Information Overload?” posted on Salon.com, Thomas Rogers interviews David Weinberger, author of recently published Too Big to Know, on the impact the Internet has on knowledge today and if the vastness of readily available information is too much for our minds to handle. According to Weinberger:
Ask anybody who is in any of the traditional knowledge fields, and she or he will very likely tell you that the Internet has made them smarter. They couldn’t do their work without it; they’re doing it better than ever before, they know more; they can find more; they can run down dead ends faster than ever before. In the sciences and humanities, it’s hard to find somebody who claims the Internet is making him or her stupid, even among those who claim the Internet is making us stupid….Curiosity can lead you to lots of bad directions. It can steer you wrong and waste your time, but it is fundamental. We need it more than anything else if we’re going to try to understand our world. Now we have a medium that is as broad as our curiosity.
I really don’t know if I can say that the Internet has made me smarter (especially with the constant flow of nonsense I expose myself to on a regular basis on social networking sites), but it’s certainly made doing my job easier on many occasions.
The information you can find on the Internet is limitless, and if you can’t find something, you have the ability to put it there so the next person can find it. As Weinberger suggests, it is a great tool for the curious mind. If the curious mind suffers from lack of focus, though, then I would imagine overload is a definite possibility.
Stacey Duwe, February 7, 2012
Sponsored by Pandia.com
February 3, 2012
Oracle brews a data latté with cinnamon you may enjoy if you if you suck down this new book. The Salvatoreyc blog presents for download, “Oracle XSQL: Combining SQL, Oracle Text, XSLT and Java to Publish Dynamic Web Content.” The product description states:
Welcome to the exciting world of eXtended Structured Query Language (XSQL). ‘Oracle XSQL: Combining SQL, Oracle Text, XSLT and Java to Publish Dynamic Web Content’ presents a complete approach to building XML Web applications and Web services with XSQL, Oracle Text, SQL, XSLT, and Java from data found in Oracle databases. Companion Web site contains the code examples in the book as well.
Sounds helpful. The download is only available to Media Search members, and the download page takes you right to their signup sheet. Naturally, there is a fee.
Cynthia Murrell, February 3, 2012
Sponsored by Pandia.com
November 16, 2011
October 23, 2011
I stumbled across an interesting book on Amazon.com that has received a great deal of attention over he past few years. The book is called Case-Based Approximate Reasoning (CBR) by Eyke Hullermeier.
CBR has established itself as a core methodology in the field of artificial intelligence. The key idea of CBR is to tackle new problems by referring to similar problems that have already been solved in the past. One reviewer wrote:
In the last years developments were very successful that have been based on the general concept of case-based reasoning. … will get a lot of attention and for a good while will be the reference for many applications and further research. … the book can be used as an excellent guideline for the implementation of problem-solving programs, but also for courses in Artificial and Computational Intelligence. Everybody who is involved in research, development and teaching in Artificial Intelligence will get something out of it.
The problem with CBR can be the time, effort, and cost required to create and maintain the rules. Automated systems work well if the inputs do not change. Flip in some human unpredictability and the CBR system can require baby sitting.
Jasmine Ashton, October 23, 2011
Sponsored by Pandia.com
February 28, 2011
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is experiencing huge growth. From handwriting recognition to foreign language translation to predictive text on your handheld, NLP is used in many different ways to help our technology recognize what we mean when we simply speak or write English (or whatever language you happen to use in life). Natural Language Processing with Python is a book available in pdf that gives a useful introduction to NLP based on the Python programming language with its shallow learning curve.
According to its own introduction:
“This book provides a highly accessible introduction to the field of NLP. It can be used for individual study or as the textbook for a course on natural language processing or computational linguistics, or as a supplement to courses in artificial intelligence, text mining, or corpus linguistics.”
The book is geared toward beginning and intermediate levels, so even if you are new, don’t be intimidated. It is full of exercises, and the authors have used entertaining examples to lighten what might otherwise be a heavy subject. The book is available for free download and the Natural Language Toolkit with open source Python modules is as well. Whether your background is arts and humanities or science and engineering, this is a recommended read.
Alice Wasielewski, February 28, 2011
February 11, 2011
January 29, 2011
We noted a new book Search-Based Applications: At the Confluence of Search and Database Technologies. According to Exalead’s Web log:
Published in the series of Synthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services under the direction of Gary Marchionini University of North Carolina, this book provides students, researchers and professionals, a description of the concept and practice of the SBA. At the same time, the [Greg Grefenstette and Laura Wilber] highlight the increasing convergence of search technologies and databases, presenting the latest developments in the field of search that allow the SBA revolution. [The authors] have also located the phenomenon SBA in a broader context, taking into account current developments in the Web – notions of deep Web (or deep web – invisible), Semantic Web and mobile Web, and their influences on the next generation of SBA.
Stephen E Arnold, January 29, 2011
Freebie but we know Dr. Grefenstette and expect him to for over a KFC meal the next time we are in France.
February 19, 2010
The addled goose does not do book reviews. I was asked if I wanted a copy of Search Patterns by Peter Morville and Jeffery Callender. I said, “Sure.” I read the book, and I think that anyone mired in user interface for search and content processing systems will want to snag a copy. For me, the section that was Chapter 4, Design Patterns. The O’Reilly production value is good. The book is stuffed with screenshots. I am not sure when the book will be in the Harrod’s Creek bookstore. You can chase down a copy on Amazon.
After finishing the 180 page book, I kept thinking about the thrashing that goes on among procurement teams and vendors. The procurement teams know what they like when they see, and in my experience, have not too much information about what is required to make a particular interface feasible. The vendors do quite a bit of borrowing from one another. It is possible that some procurement teams will focus on the UX, user experience in the lingo of Microsoft. Maybe that approach will reduce the dissatisfaction among enterprise users of search and content processing systems?
Worth a look.
Stephen E. Arnold, February 19, 2010
No one paid me to read this 180 page book, examine the screenshots, and do some thinking about the shift from search plumbing to the UX. I am not sure to which government agency I report such uncompensated work. Maybe the Library of Congress whose interfaces knock my socks off each time I use LOC.gov.