exalead and Siderean guide users down differing paths to data troves
Competing search tools effectively group data and guide users
Once Navigator transforms the feeds into RDF and stores the descriptions in a relational database, Seamark automatically builds a default XRBR (XML for Retrieval by Reformulation) query containing all facets required for navigation. An information architect could then massage the XRBR for special needs.
At this point, Seamark creates a JSP search page that can be placed on a Web app server. Alternately, a SOAP API allows other applications to send queries to Seamark and receive responses in a SQL-like format; this capability enables Seamark to be customized for specialized e-commerce, business intelligence, or similar needs.
For my testing, I used Seamark Navigator’s stock Web search interface and found it worked as intended. The initial contextual view showed all content related to my query, organized into expected facets. Seamark’s relevance ranking algorithms performed well, displaying facets with my search terms first, and then placing likely documents at the top of the list within each facet.
With a few clicks I then pivoted searches to look at different paths and zoomed into results on particular facets.
Navigator dynamically updated the number and type of items in each facet as I changed views. Further, the system provided summaries of each item and highlighted keywords. Spelling correction, along with advanced search functions (fuzzy, proximity, Boolean, and grouping), helped me focus on the information I wanted.
Navigator’s RDF processing took about 15 percent longer than exalead’s indexing. Seamark’s Java search functions and presentation, however, didn’t introduce any measurable lag.
Seamark Navigator let me establish roles and then limited results based on a user’s authorization. However, some enterprises will want more security options, such as integration with Active Directory or LDAP servers.
One of the most interesting Seamark Navigator capability let me add my own tags to results. Not only did this allow me to reference certain pages in future searches, but it helps in building communities within your organization. For instance, experts within a department could tag certain documents and then those results would be elevated in results for anyone in a certain role. What’s more, new tags can be published as an RSS feed.
Siderean Seamark Navigator has many strong points -- from its open architecture and unique use of RDF to aggregate information from many independent sources to an intuitive search interface that dynamically pivots facets. As a result, users can sort through content without knowing beforehand precisely what they’re looking for. However, it’s not an out-of-box solution and requires work if your data is not already in XML format.
For large enterprises with the bulk of information in databases, Siderean Seamark Navigator 4.0 should be a very good fit, because structured information is processed -- and then presented for searching -- with relative ease. The system also has comprehensive features to extract metadata from unstructured sources, which does increase the solution’s complexity. I consider exalead:one’s components some of the up-and-coming leaders in enterprise search -- for allowing users to effortlessly explore clustered results, for offering many deployment options, and because of their affordable pricing.