Back to blogging!

I thought that the start of a new month was a good time to resume blogging. My blog routine came to a halt in April because I became involved in probably my most complex-ever search procurement project. A global B2B e-commerce company wanted to replace its current search application, though ‘current’ is perhaps not the best word as it was installed around seven years ago. The complexity of the project necessitated daily project calls at 15.00 which were interesting because the firm was located in the EU. This became a more substantial problem in writing the RFI and RFP documents when the comments on them from team members were often not in English.  The project came to a successful conclusion at the end of August.

Over the last month two projects have claimed much of my attention. The first is to write a guidebook on how to select a search application, taking into account the lessons learned over the last twenty years and in particular the e-commerce project referred to above. The basis for this guidebook is a chapter in the second edition of Enterprise Search, which O’Reilly Media has kindly allowed me to take and revise. The guidebook should be available by the end of this month. By coincidence Tony Byrne (Real Story Group) has been blogging on some aspects of software procurement, and I totally endorse his views.

The second project is writing a profile of G. Malcolm Dyson (1902-1978) who was a British organic chemist with a mission to make the chemical literature more accessible. He was Director of Research at Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) from 1959-1962 though had in fact been working with CAS since the late 1940s. He created a linear coding scheme for organic compounds and even in 1959 saw the role that computer-based storage and information retrieval systems could take. His early work with IR pioneer H.P.Luhn (IBM) on KWIC indexs used an IBM 1401 computer with just 8K of core memory. The profile will be published later this year.

Add in managing the migration of the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group web site to the new BCS Group web template and developing the programme for the virtual Search Solutions 2021 conference on 24 November (still in draft) and time has been in short supply. With all these projects now largely completed I have more brain-time to devote to bringing to your attention some of the significant trends and issues in enterprise (and now e-commerce!) search.

Martin White