IBM Ramps Up Enterprise Search Engine

IBM is putting its considerable resources into building enterprise search technologies, both in its Lotus and WebSphere product lines and in areas of research and development like terrorist communication mapping or pharmaceutical drug interaction tracking.

IBM announced June 29 the latest version of its namesake OmniFind Enterprise Edition that essentially brings an enterprise dashboard that enables search, discover and analysis for Lotus Domino and WebSphere Portal. The dashboard makes it easier for users to find information buried in Lotus databases—and other databases—as well as in intranet portals, Web sites and file systems, the company said.

Using a unified search interface, users can find information that is stored in a number of IBM software modules, including Lotus Document Manager, Lotus Quickr and Lotus QuickPlace documents. The search interface also taps information stored in applications, repositories and shared files from across a business.

With server-side support for Lotus Domino, OmniFind Enterprise Edition allows users to more easily share documents, presentations, specifications and other files. It also provides indexing of Domino fields including attachments and fielded search, and understands the structure of Lotus Notes databases, with pre-built support for Lotus Quickr, QuickPlace and Domino.Doc databases, Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Exchange. The software can also “crawl” IM Workplace Web Content Management.

For WebSphere workers, OmniFind lets users search directly from within WebSphere Portal, which means users can scale millions of documents, IBM said.

Like most search engines, the Enterprise Edition of OmniFind offers semantic interpretation of search keywords, a functionality that can also be used as a platform for text analytics applications. At the same time, the software taps extraction capabilities through UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture), an open-source framework for building search and text analytics applications.

What UMIA enables is the ability for users to search for facts and concepts within underlying content. A sample text analytics configuration detects phone numbers, URL’s and e-mail addresses coupled with a matching synonym dictionary.

The company’s OmniFind Yahoo Edition search software is gaining traction with companies looking to extend their search capabilities, according to IBM. As a proof point, the Armonk, N.Y., company touted the more than 21,000 downloads of the software since its arrival in the open-source world six months ago.

At the same time, a number of software vendors, such as Groxis, Fortune Interactive, TnR Global and Cognos, have developed products using the Yahoo Edition.

Groxis, which develops visual search technology, extended its platform to work with the software for an offering geared toward research-intensive organizations like libraries. Fortune Interactive has developed a Featured Match capability to OmniFind Yahoo Edition that beefs up search engine optimization.

TnR Global, a search consulting company geared toward enterprises, released its (free) ESearch component that helps users to build IBM’s software into Web sites that use Joomla open-source content management software. Finally, Cognos supports OmniFind Yahoo Edition with its namesake Go! Search Service.

IBM is also working to advance search capabilities. For example the company is developing software that would rapidly detect emerging trends in problem reports, a capability that would help manufacturers to avoid recalls. It’s also working on new tools to detect unrealized drug interactions by analyzing the linkages in medical abstracts, and searching and analyzing communications potentially linked to terrorist networks in forms like multilingual texts, according to the company.

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