exalead and Siderean guide users down differing paths to data troves
Competing search tools effectively group data and guide users
As a rule, search engines should return reliable results. So when unanticipated responses appear, it’s possible that the initial query was too broad or ambiguous. To help users sharpen their searches, vendors have turned to grouping results into manageable collections. Clustering and faceted categorization are two popular methods.
By placing related results together, clustering helps users discover unforeseen patterns in documents. Importantly, clustering doesn’t require organizations to preprocess documents or add special metatags.
Besides offering these advantages, exalead’s affordable search solution is available as a standalone desktop client -- and as workgroup or enterprise servers. A well-done interface presents users with clustered results.
Without prep work, however, clustered results aren’t always as relevant as you’d hope. For example, documents might appear in clusters where they don’t belong, or they might overlap categories and confuse users. This doesn’t happen as often with an alternate technique, formally called HFC (hierarchical faceted categories), or facets. Unfortunately, this added accuracy requires preassigning categories to each document.
Siderean’s Seamark Navigator automates this step while precalculating relationships among documents. As a result, Seamark Navigator is especially valuable for regulatory compliance and business intelligence apps.
exalead one:desktop, one:workgroup, and one:enterprise 4.0
exalead’s three products, designed specifically for enterprise search, share a common engine technology called exalead:search. exalead one:desktop Professional Edition, an end-user piece, indexes your hard disk, and Outlook and Lotus Notes documents. exalead one:workgroup server lets desktop users extend their searches to network file servers. exalead one:enterprise searches diverse databases; moreover, one:enterprise is based on Java and XML, so admins can customize the interface and integrate it with other apps.
one:desktop loads up like other desktop search apps, asking which local folders and e-mail repositories to index. Version 4.0 (SP2) now searches Exchange and Notes e-mail.
exalead one:workgroup, a service running under Windows Server, has the same straightforward indexing setup. In this case, I selected shared folders on various file servers for crawling. one:desktop users then add a link to the one:workgroup server when they want to search these networked resources.
This ease extends to exalead’s federated search process. From one:desktop, I merely checked off the indexes (PC, workgroup server, or Web) and a navigation pane immediately appeared that summarized the structure and concepts contained in the combined search results.
In exalead’s model, you can conduct a general search with a few words and then focus the results. For example, exalead initially found files broadly related to my search topic in 20 categories; clicking on an undesired category title immediately removed those results. The speed with which it allows you to take an initial search in almost any direction is another great thing about exalead. After I located an e-mail from one person about my search term, I then found all e-mails from that author with a single click.