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

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

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 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

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

London Lucene/Solr Meetup – Java 9 & 1 Beeelion Documents with Alfresco

This time Pivotal were our kind hosts for the London Lucene/Solr Meetup, providing a range of goodies including some frankly enormous pizzas - thanks Costas and colleagues, we couldn't have done it without you! Our first talk was from Uwe Schindler, Lucene committer, who started with...Continue reading

Inspiring students to work in Open Source Search

I've recently been asked to join the Industrial Advisory Board for the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex and will be talking to students there on Monday 5th February, repeating a similar talk I did last year. The subject is 'Working in Open Source Search' and I'll describe how we founded Flax back in 2001, how we've built, tuned and implemented open source search engines and some of the client projects we've worked on. It's been a fascinating journe...Continue reading

ECIR 2017 Industry Day, our book & a demo of live TV factchecking

I visited Aberdeen before Easter to speak at Industry Day, a part of the European Conference on Information Retrieval. Following a reception at Aberdeen's Town House (a wonderful building) hosted by the Lord Provost I spent an evening with various information retrieval luminaries including Professor Udo Kruschwitz of the University of Essex. We had a chance to discuss the book we're co-authoring (draft title 'Searching the Enterprise', designed as a review of t...Continue reading