BACKGROUND: Indiana University's Industrial Research Liaison Program (IRLP), a unit of Research and the University Graduate School, provides research and development assistance as well as information services to Indiana's small businesses and industrial communities, governmental units and social service agencies. IRLP uses resources and expertise available at Indiana University to assist Indiana businesses in commercializing new products and increasing their competitiveness. Services include research and development assistance, access to business and scientific information, and assistance in finding solutions to applied research problems. The focus of IRLP is the Research and Development Assistance Program, which helps Indiana's small businesses secure funding for the commercialization of new products, technologies and services. The IRLP staff uses the federal government's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and research opportunities listed in the Commerce Business Daily to help businesses develop innovative ideas.

PLATFORMS: IRLP runs TextAnalyst from Megaputer on individual workstations using Windows 98.

PROBLEM SOLVED: IRLP constantly searches the SBIR solicitations and the Commerce Business Daily to identify research funding opportunities for its clients. Prior to installing TextAnalyst, IRLP was relying on a search program that employed the use of technical terminology based on each client's company profile. This program used standard Boolean operators, wild cards, word stemming and a thesaurus to search the text fields of the documents. Yet, IRLP was not able to provide some of its clients with any matches that fit their work expertise for the following reasons: the specificity of the terminology search based on unique client profiles, the limited ability of the previously utilized program to effectively match relevant queries and the fact that many of the released solicitations are worded in natural language. TextAnalyst was able to find the necessary matches. With the help of TextAnalyst, potential R&D opportunities are now being found even for the clients with difficult search strategies.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: TextAnalyst performs semantic analysis of the investigated texts and creates a network of the most important terms and their relations in the text. This preprocessing facilitates the new type of search and retrieval of information based on the semantics of investigated texts. At IRLP, TextAnalyst examines the solicitation texts for all query-related words and relevant statements and then retrieves the information. This subject-focused capability allows the user to edit and customize the results for the needs of the respective client. In addition, TextAnalyst can help in summarizing and clustering texts, explicating the text topic structure as well as navigating through texts.

STRENGTHS: The natural language processing ability of TextAnalyst and its semantic retrieval capabilities make it an invaluable tool for topic research and information dissemination at IRLP. Its capability to extract the relevant information from a large volume of text makes it unique in the field of text mining.

WEAKNESSES: TextAnalyst does not have the ability to isolate an individual topic from which the retrieved information was derived and then print those results for the client. It does not have a hide function for eliminating the irrelevant topics in the solicitations.

SELECTION CRITERIA: IRLP selected TextAnalyst based on its success in identifying R&D funding opportunities for those clients whose normal search strategy was not producing outcomes, even though the topics in the SBIR solicitations clearly contained pertinent opportunities for the client's economic growth. TextAnalyst is easy to install and maintain, user-friendly and very cost-effective. The ease of operation of the program allows the user to begin applying its functions almost immediately.

DELIVERABLES: TextAnalyst is used at IRLP to identify and compile R&D funding opportunities that are missed by a standard search application. Its subject-focused capability enables the user to compile results that are unique to a client's company profile and their work expertise. When search strategy results are compiled by IRLP, they are then forwarded to the respective client.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The support and technical advice provided by Megaputer Intelligence is prompt, friendly and very professional.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided by the company is concise and extremely helpful as well as informational. The tutorials are easy to understand, very accurate and are recommended for anyone using the program for the very first time.

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