As enterprise information portals (EIPs) grow to truly enterprise levels, finding relevant information becomes more challenging. Searches of large content repositories, whether we are talking about the Web or an EIP, often suffer two related problems. First, users' queries often return irrelevant information because the chosen keywords have multiple meanings. A second problem with keyword searching is that it assumes users know the terms that reflect the information they are looking for, a questionable assumption especially when researching new topics. There is no single solution to providing high-quality universal searches across an enterprise. We will do better to look for improvements by combining tools rather than trying to squeak out marginal improvements from a single technique. Taxonomy-generation tools, for example, complement search engines and should be considered the second step toward providing high-quality searches in an enterprise information portal.
Taxonomy-generation tools create a Yahoo!-like directory structure for navigating content in a portal or intranet. The process of categorizing content with a taxonomy can start with a predefined set of categories such as those found in an industry thesaurus or an internal organization structure. Some tools, such as Verity's K2 Enterprise, provide automated methods for initial taxonomy construction based on hierarchical clustering, meta data extraction and other techniques. Key terms are associated with categories and provide the link between content and their place in the taxonomy. The final, and recurring, step is analyzing content to determine the most relevant terms and placing the document into the appropriate place in the taxonomy.
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