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

London Lucene/Solr Meetup – Introducing Marple & Solr Classification

A small crowd for this month's London Lucene/Solr Meetup, kindly hosted by Barclays in their sumptuous Canary Wharf offices. I introduced the Meetup and spoke briefly on how Flax is currently looking for team members (want to work on a variety of cutting-edge open source search projects in the UK and abroad? Get in touch!) before introducing Flax's Alan Woodwar...Continue reading

A fabulous FactHack for Full Fact

Last week we ran a hackday for Full Fact, hosted by Facebook in their London office. We had planned to gather a room full of search experts from our London Lucene/Solr Meetup and around twenty people attended from a range of companies including Bloomberg, Alfresc...Continue reading

Just the facts with Solr & Luwak

It won't have escaped your notice that factchecking is very much in the news recently due to last year's political upheavals in both the US and UK and the suspected influence of fake news on voters. Both traditional and social media organisations are making efforts in this area; examples include Channel 4 and Faceboo...Continue reading

Meetup at Big Data London – One-click Solr & Factchecking with Solr

Last week I spoke at the Big Data London conference, a very busy event with several thousand people attending. My session was on using open source search to make sense of Big Data - you can get slides here. In the evening we ran another Continue reading

Not one, but three Lucene hackdays coming soon!

We're always keen to get more people involved in the Lucene search community - there's always lots to do, from deep hacking of the core code, to testing with different frameworks and clients, to creating documentation and examples. It's also just over fifteen years since Tom Mortimer and I founded Flax and we thought we should mark this birthday with some kind of event! So I'm thus very happy to announce we'll be involved in three Lucene hackday events over the next two months: Firstly, Continue reading

Boosts Considered Harmful – adventures with badly configured search

During a recent client visit we encountered a common problem in search - over-application of 'boosts', which can be used to weight the influence of matches in one particular field. For example, you might sensibly use this to make results that match a query on their title field come higher in search results. However in this case we saw huge boost values used (numbers in the hundreds) which were probably swamping everything else - and it wasn't at all clear where the values had come from, be it ex...Continue reading