SearchResearch Online

The SearchResearch Online blog summarises individual papers and groups of related papers on specific topics based on a daily scan of preprint servers, academic journals, conference proceedings, theses, subject profiles on Google Scholar and research reports from IT companies and independent research organisations.

‘Information retrieval’ is the academic term for research into search, and dates back to the early 1950s. Since that time around 100,000 research papers have been published in academic journals and as conference papers. Each week somewhere between 100 and 200 papers are published. These papers give insights into the rapid development and future directions of search technologies, especially around the deployment of machine learning and other AI-based technologies.

Many of these papers could be of value to search managers working on enterprise, e-commerce and academic search implementations but these managers do not have ready access to these research papers, nor have the time to read them if they did.

SearchResearch Online is not a current awareness service – the objective is to identify papers on enterprise, e-commerce, academic and professional search of particular value to:

  • Search managers assessing the direction of search technology and looking for ways to optimize search applications
  • Academic staff looking for opportunities for research and topics for student coursework
  • IT managers seeking to understand the implications of search technologies on their IT infrastructure
  • Business managers assessing potential opportunities for product and service development

In addition, the web site offers a list of enterprise search vendors, a list of books on topics related to enterprise search, a glossary of search terms and briefing papers that explore topics in more detail.

It is inevitable that some of the papers require a subscription for access. SearchResearch Online is not able to supply copies of any of the papers referred to in the blog.

Martin White FBCS FRSC

Principal Analyst

I started using computer-based information retrieval services in the mid-1970s. In the early 1980s I was a member of the team at Unilever Computer Services Ltd that developed DECO as an internal enterprise search application for Unilever. I then moved into high-technology market research and then information management research before setting up Intranet Focus Ltd in 1999.

It quickly became apparent that inadequate attention was being given to the search functionality of intranets and most of my intranet projects involved some degree of work on improving search. In 2008 I wrote Making Search Work, followed by Enterprise Search for O’Reilly Publishing in 2011, with a second edition in 2015. From 2010 onwards most of my consulting engagements were focused on enterprise search selection and enhancement, many of them for organisations working in multiple languages.

In 2002 I was invited to be a Visiting Professor at what is now the Information School, University of Sheffield, a position I still hold. In 2022 my History of Enterprise Search 1938 – 2022 was published by the University of Sheffield.

I am a member of The Search Network and contribute to its annual Search Insights reports. I am also the Editor of Informer, the newsletter of the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the British Computer Society.

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