Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Improving Searching

Putting it Together: Taxonomy, Classification & Search

"Another reason taxonomy, classification and search are being combined, says Feldman, is that not everybody knows exactly how to search. "Often what you want to do is browse a directory because you're not quite sure how to ask the question," she explains. "Taxonomy gives you a display of information that doesn't require you to put your need into words."

Knowledge experts now agree that, as Feldman puts it: "Taxonomy, classification and search need one another." Leading vendors including Autonomy, Convera, Inxight, Stratity and Verity are among those attempting to bring all the pieces together."

""The whole field of autoindexing and classification has made great strides," observes West's Dabney, "but the gold standard is still to have a person look at each document, decide what it's about and assign subjects. It's the volume of information that makes automatic classification necessary, but words have some unique meanings in a legal context, and we don't want to rely on a system that doesn't have a way of dealing with our intellectual domain."

West uses classification techniques that were developed internally, but Dabney says the company isn't doing anything mysterious: "Our system works. You have to give it the category initially, then give it a large training collection. This [works] because we have such a huge library of documents that have been classified manually.""

"Bray contends Google's approach won't work well in an enterprise environment. "The only answers are to generate metadata and to have a better user interface; the two are synergistic, one doesn't work so well without the other.""
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