My colleagues and I read a lot of blogs as we try to be knowledgeable about trends in our marketplaces. Our e-Discovery product, Merlin Legal 2.0, is focused on the requirements of lawyers who need to review tons of documents (remember TV shows or movies where lawyers would bury their opponents in paper – that is now done electronically, so it really is the electronic equivalent of tons). Well, I was reading a blog related to e-Discovery recently and the blog was asking about doing specific types of searching. The blog made it sound really complicated and used pretty scientific-sounding terms to describe different types of searches, that an e-Discovery should be able to handle; things like phonetic, proximity and faceted search, as if these were something new and unusual. And maybe for some they are.
Since MerlinOne’s tools are search-based, I was curious to read how searching legal documents differed from how someone might look for a photo to publish. MerlinOne has the legal-related product, as described, and a traditional digital asset management (DAM) product used by people who have lots of photos and publishing-related items to manage. Different needle – same haystack. I always knew our search tools were powerful, but as I read, the list became a mental checklist for me and our products.
Fuzzy and Wildcard Searching? Yep, Merlin does that. Merlin allows wildcards to be added to the front of a string (with at least two characters to follow), the middle of a string or the end of a string.
Merlin allows for phonetic searching, which some people call “fuzzy”. Not sure how to spell something, tell Merlin to search for things that sound like “your search term typed phonetically.” Pretty cool. Example: “like Mogadishoe”.
Keyword in Context Searching (KWIC)? Of course, Merlin has done that for some time. KWIC was added to Merlin years ago. Choose to show your results using KWIC and Merlin displays your search results with a line-by-line display, showing the words proceeding and following your highlighted search term. We now do the same thing with audio and video search results, playing relevant audio or video results including what was spoken 5 seconds before the found search term, to hear (and see) the search result in context.
Relevance Ranking of results? Again a “yes”. Our relevancy ranking is “density-aware” or “proximity aware.” That means we not only take into account how many times the searched-for terms appear in an object, we also rank the results higher if the terms are closer to each other.
While most of our customers are looking for contemporary content and tend to display results in newest to oldest order, any Merlin user may reorder the results by Relevance, Create Date, Input Date and even Published Date (in cases where this data is captured). Data may also be sorted by publication-related information such as page, section, zone and edition in a publication environment.
Proximity Searching? Indeed! My favorite demo search for this is “Clinton near 3 Monica” and the results show any items where the word “Clinton” is within three words of the instance of “Monica”. I still get a giggle from attendees on this one when the results appear. I expect that one day, many users will not get the joke. That is OK. There will be other political scandals to search for!
Ordered Searching? Want to make sure the word “George” precedes “Bush” and not the other way around? Merlin’s ordered operator solves the problem. Example: “George then Bush”.
This is just a few of the search types from the checklist. In next weeks installment, we’ll discuss more of the checklist and some of the addition features the Merlin digital asset management system has to offer it’s customers.
Posted by David Breslauer
Flickr photo by spacepleb