Defining relevance engineering, part 1: the background

Relevance Engineering is a relatively new concept but companies such as Flax and our partners Open Source Connections have been carrying out relevance engineering for many years. So what is a relevance engineer and what do they do? In this series of blog posts I'll try to explain what I see as a new, emerging and important profession. ...Continue reading

Catching MICES – a focus on e-commerce search

The second event I attended in Berlin last week was the Mix Camp on e-commerce search (MICES), a small and focused event now in its second year and kindly hosted by Mytoys at their offices. Slides for the talks are available here and I hope videos will appear soon. The first talk was given ...Continue reading

Highlights of Search, Store, Scale & Stream – Berlin Buzzwords 2018

I spent last week in a sunny Berlin for the Berlin Buzzwords event (and subsequently MICES 2018, of which more later). This was my first visit to Buzzwords which was held in an arts & culture complex in an old brewery north of the city centre. The event was larger than I was expecting at around 550 people with three main tracks of talks. Although due to so...Continue reading

London Lucene/Solr Meetup – Relevance tuning for Elsevier’s Datasearch & harvesting data from PDFs

Elsevier were our kind hosts for the latest London Lucene/Solr Meetup and also provided the first speaker, Peter Cotroneo. Peter spoke about their DataSearch project, a search engine for scientific data. After describing how most other data search engines only index and rank results using metadata,...Continue reading

Haystack, the search relevance conference – day 2

Two weeks ago I attended the Haystack relevance conference – I’ve already written about my overall impressions and on the first day's talks but the following are some more notes on the conference sessions. Note that some of the presentations I attended have already been covered in detail...Continue reading

Haystack, the search relevance conference – day 1

Last week I attended the Haystack relevance conference - I've already written about my overall impressions but the following are some more notes on the conference sessions. Note that some of the presentations I attended have already been covered in detail by Sujit Pal's excellent ...Continue reading

Haystack, the relevance conference – birth of a new profession?

I've just returned from Charlottesville, Virginia and the Haystack search relevance conference hosted by our partners Open Source Connections. The venues were their own office and the Random Row brewery next door - added once they realised that the event had outgrown its humble beginnings as a small, informal event for maybe 50 people into a professional conference for over twice that number with attendees from as far afield as the...Continue reading

Search Insights 2018 – a free, independent report on search

Over the last 17 years of running Flax I've met many people who loudly profess to be experts in various aspects of the search business. Some have a new product or service to sell, that promises to change the game forever; quite often this turns out to be snake oil or simply a new name for an old solution. Others seem to have arrived suddenly, fully-fledged, enthusiastic to convince us old hands that everything will be different now if we all sign up to their new idea. There's also a small gro...Continue reading

When even the commercial vendors are using it, has open source search won?

There have been some interesting announcements recently which may point to an increasing realisation amongst commercial search firms that an open source model is an essential advantage in today's search market. Coveo have announced that their enterprise search engine can run on an Elasticsearch core, an interesting move for a previously decidedly closed source company. BA Insight, who have previou...Continue reading