More needles, more Haystacks, more relevance!

Those of us who have been working in the search sector for a while know that search tuning isn't just a matter of installing the default configuration, pointing the engine at some content and starting it up - in fact, if you do just that you'll probably end up with a search user experience that's even worse then whatever you're replacing and certainly a lot worse than your competitors' solution. It's also no longer about just knowing how one engine behaves and the magic tweaks to improve it - yo...Continue reading

Defining relevance engineering part 4: tools

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 aContinue reading

Activate 2018 day 2 – AI and Search in Montreal

I've already written about Day 1 of Lucidworks' Activate conference; the second day started with a keynote on 'moral code', ethics & AI which unfortunately I missed, but a colleague reported that it was very encouraging to see topics such as diversity and inclusion raised in a keynote talk. Note that videos of some of the talks is starting to appear on Continue reading

Activate 2018 day 1 – AI and Search in Montreal

Activate is the successor to the Lucene/Solr Revolution conference that our partner Lucidworks runs every Autumn and was held this year in Montreal, Canada. After running a successful Lucene Hackday on the Monday before the conference, we joined hundreds of others to hear Will Hayes, the CEO of Lucidworks, Continue reading

Lucene Hackdays in London & Montreal

We ran a couple of Lucene Hackdays over the last couple of weeks: a chance to get together with other people working on open source search, learn from each other and to try and improve both Lucene and associated software. Our first Hackday was in London, hosted by Mimecast at their offices near Moorgate...Continue reading

Haystack Europe 2018, a brief retrospective

It's been a couple of weeks now since the first Haystack search relevance conference in Europe, which we ran with our partners Open Source Connections (OSC). Just under a hundred people came to the Friends' House in Euston for a day of talks covering both the business and technical aspects of relevance engineering. Doug Turnbull of OSC started the day by introducing what would be a major theme of the conference, Learning to Rank, and how Bloomberg had used and benefited from open sourcing their ...Continue reading

Lifting the hood of AI – to find a search engine?

A few years ago much marketing noise was made about Big Data. Every software vendor suddenly had a Big Data suite; you could suddenly buy Big Data capable hardware; consultants and experts would release thought pieces, blogs and books all about Big Data and how it would change the world. The reality of course was slightly different: Big Data meant...well, it meant whatever you wanted it to mean for your commercial purpose. For some people, what didn't fit in an Excel spreadsheet was Big Data, fo...Continue reading

Three weeks of search events this October from Flax

Flax has always been very active at conferences and events - we enjoy meeting people to talk about search! With much of our consultancy work being carried out remotely these days, attending events is a great way to catch up in person with our clients, colleagues and peers and to learn from others about what works (and what doesn't) when building cutting-edge search solutions. I'm thus very glad to announce that we're running three search events this coming October. Earlier in the year I atten...Continue reading

Lucene Solr London: Search Quality Testing and Search Procurement

Mimecast were our kind hosts for the latest London Lucene/Solr Meetup (and even provided goodie bags). It's worth repeating that we couldn't run these events without the help of sponsors and hosts and we're always very grateful (and keep those offers coming!). First up was Andrea Gazzarini presenting a brand new framework for search quality testing. Designed for offline m...Continue reading