Developed at Xerox Research Centre Europe (XRCE) in Grenoble, France, Xerox’s text mining software, FactSpotter, combines a powerful, advanced linguistic engine, which analyses the meaning of words and the construction of phrases and sentences with an easy-to-use interface, allowing a non-expert to conduct searches using everyday language.
FactSpotter is expected to be available from Xerox Global Services sometime between now and 2008 via the recently announced Xerox Litigation Services, which provide electronic discovery (e-discovery) services, primarily supporting litigation and regulatory compliance. The intelligent document technology complements Xerox’s growing portfolio of services-related innovations that differentiate the Xerox Global Services offerings and help customers deal with document-intensive work processes.
FactSpotter promises a significant boost in productivity for data-intensive environments, including electronic legal discovery, risk management, pharmaceutical research, competitive and market intelligence, security intelligence and fraud detection; it will significantly reduce search times and also improve the relevance of results.
“Today’s knowledge worker has quite a task in front of them as each and every day they search for specific data, information, or corporate knowledge in order to do their job well,” said Mike Maziarka, Director for InfoTrends' Dynamic Content Software and Image Scanning Trends Consulting Services. “We all need tools that will make it easier to search for that “needle” among the “haystack” of masses of information that exists in our world today. FactSpotter meets this need because it can make searches easier to conduct, more accurate and more encompassing, ultimately improving the focus of the results and allowing workers to be more productive.”
Unlike traditional search engines, which bring back a plethora of complete documents that contain the search term (e.g. a 20-page document with one mention of the “Eiffel Tower”), Xerox’s text mining software is smart and selective in its search. For instance, it returns only those portions of the document that contain relevant information. What is more, the portions do not even need to contain the actual search terms used – the engine can also track words that are similar in meaning. For example, FactSpotter knows that “Paris’s tallest monument” refers to the Eiffel Tower.
“This ‘next-generation’ linguistic engine goes beyond today’s ‘keyword’ search and current data mining programs which typically end up searching only 40 percent of all relevant documents,” said Frdrique Segond, area manager of parsing and semantics, XRCE. “Xerox’s tool is more accurate because it delves into documents, extracting the concepts and the relationships among them. By ‘understanding’ the context, it returns the right information to the searcher, and it even highlights exactly where the answer is located within a document.”
The new software goes beyond traditional search engines in several ways:
- Its novel interface means users can express their queries naturally instead of forcing them to adapt their questions to the logic of computers. Traditional systems, on the other hand, split a query into isolated words and return only documents that contain exactly those words in exactly that order,
- It takes into account the context of the entire document instead of just a cluster of nearby words. It introduces the concept of “relation,” searching within and across sentences and paragraphs,
- It recognises abstract concepts, like “people” or “building,” and will retrieve all the words that fit within that category.
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