The Cambridge Enterprise Search Meetup last night featured Francis Rowland of the European Bioinformatics Institute and Rob Stacey of TrueKnowledge, in a newly refurbished venue. Thanks to all those who came and it was good to meet some new faces.
Francis talked about how search user interfaces should try not to restrict the user’s ‘flow’ of activity, as search is after all only a means to and end. Among the wealth of material he mentioned was the Endeca User Interface Design Pattern Library and what is sure to be a very useful upcoming book, Search Analytics for Your Site.
Rob told us about how TrueKnowledge provides a semantic question answering system – trying to understand the goal(s) of someone asking the system a question such as “is Madonna single?”. He also mentioned how this kind of technology might be applied to an enterprise environment, for example to answer questions like “has the invoice for last Thursday’s job been paid?”. Rob’s talk sparked off a very active Q&A session, with the audience raising issues such as how TrueKnowledge’s method might be applied to languages other than English and how to model the trustworthiness of their sources, which include Wikipedia.
Francis’ slides are now online – with some great sketchnotes of Rob’s talk as well! Thanks to both our speakers.