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Looking for the Human Element in Enterprise Search

George Orwell didn’t specifically mention enterprise search in his visionary book 1984, but he made a statement that still resonates today. When it comes to relevant search query results, “it’s not about the statistics.” Sanity comes from the human element. Until recently, this concept was mostly ignored by enterprise search solutions. Instead, search was based on text-matching algorithms and models that methodically sifted through link structures or categorization schemes.

Too Many Choices

The question became, “Is it possible to produce a set of meaningful search results that will help people, rather than inundate them?”

In response, enterprise search technologies introduced tools that allowed “experts” to tune the search algorithm for their specific content, and introduced meta-tagging best practices to structure content and produce more meaningful results. More recently, explicit user actions such as click-throughs, ratings and feedback were introduced to solve the issue of search relevancy. Today, advanced techniques including “social search” have evolved to take into account how humans search for, find, and consume information and products in the physical world.

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