Eleven years of open source search

It's now eleven years since we started Flax (initially as Lemur Consulting Ltd) in late July 2001, deciding to specialise in search application development with a focus on open source software. At the time the fallout from the dotcom crash was still evident and like today the economic picture was far from rosy. Since few people even knew what a search engine was (Google was relatively new and had only started selling advertising a year...Continue reading

Media monitoring with open source search – 20 times faster than before!

We're happy to announce we've just finished a successful project for a division of the Australian Associated Press to replace a closed source search engine with a considerably more powerful open source solution. You can read the press release here. As our client had a large investment in stored searches (which repr...Continue reading

Search backwards – media monitoring with open source search

We're working with a number of clients on media monitoring solutions, which are a special case of search application (we've worked on this previously for Durrants). In standard search, you apply a single query to a large amount of documents, expecting to get a ranked list of documents that match your query as a result. However in media monitoring you need to search each incom...Continue reading

Search Solutions 2011 review

I spent yesterday at the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group's annual Search Solutions conference, which brings together theoreticians and practitioners to discuss the latest advances in search. The day started with a talk by John Tait on the challenges of patent search where different units are concerned - where for example a search for a plastic with a melting poin...Continue reading

Bicycles, beer and bands – the first Cambridge Enterprise Search Meetup

Last night we held the first of what we hope will be a series of Meetups in our home town of Cambridge, U.K. Attending were researchers, developers and entrepreneurs in the field of search - as is the norm in Cambridge many had cycled to the venue, and there was a friendly and informal feel to the group. We started with my presentation on "Searching news media with open source software", where I talked ...Continue reading

Next-generation media monitoring with open source search

Media monitoring is not a traditional search application: for a start, instead of searching a large number of documents with a single query, a media monitoring application must search every incoming news story with potentially thousands of queries, searching for words and terms relevant to client requirements. This can be difficult to scale, especially when accuracy must be maintained - a client won't be happy if their media monitors miss relevant stories or send them news that isn't relevant. ...Continue reading

Autumn events

Autumn seems to be conference season: first is the Lucene Revolution event in Boston, USA from October 7th-8th, where I'll be on the closing panel whose subject is "Data Crossroads - At The Intersection Of Search And Open Source". Next is the British Computer Society's Search Solutions 2010 in London on October 21st, where I'm giving a presentation titled "What's the story with open ...Continue reading

The Times they are a-changing….

News International have announced they will be charging for access to their Times and Sunday Times newspaper websites within a few months. At the same time we have the announcement that the Independent newspaper is to be bought by a Russian oligarch, and may end up as a free publication. This divergence of business models is interesting, but what concerns us at Flax is how ...Continue reading

Finding French TV with Flax

We've recently been working with mySkreen, who like Hulu in the U.S. provide a service for finding and viewing television programs via your web browser. mySkreen is the brainchild of Frédéric Sitterlé, previously Head of New Media at the Le Figaro media group. mySkreen works with French-language content, and is currently indexing over 1.6 million programmes (and counting). Using Fla...Continue reading