Search Conferences 2011

During 2011 a large number of search conferences will take place all over the world. Some of them are dedicated to search, whereas others discuss the topic related to specific products, information management, usability etc.

Here are a few that might be of interest for those of you looking to be inspired and broaden your knowledge. Within a few weeks we will compile all the research related conferences – there are quite a few of them out there!
If there is anything you miss, please post a comment.

IntraTeam Event Copenhagen 2011
Main focus: Social intranets, SharePoint and Enterprise Search
March 1, 2 and 3, 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark

Main focus: A web event that is an unconference, meaning that the attendees themselves create the program by presenting on topics of their own expertise and interest.
March 18-20 , Gothenburg, Sweden

Main focus: Business productivity, Enterprise Content Management, SharePoint 2010
March 21-24, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, USA

International Search Summit Munich
Main focus: International search and social media.
4th April 2011, Hilton Munich Park Hotel, Germany

ECIR 2011: European Conference on Information Retrieval
Main focus: Presentation of new research results in the field of Information Retrieval
April18-21, Dublin, Ireland

Enterprise Search Summit Spring 2011
Main focus: Develop, implement and enhance cutting-edge internal search capabilities
May 10-11, New York, USA

International Search Summit: London
Main focus: International search and social media
May 18th, Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London, England

Lucene Revolution
Main focus: The world’s largest conference dedicated to open source search.
May 25-26, San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency, USA

SharePoint Fest – Denver 2011
Main focus: In search track: Enterprise Search, Search & Records Management, & FAST for SharePoint
May 19-20, Colorado Convention Center, USA

International Search Summit Seattle
Main focus: International search and social media
June 9th, Bell Harbor Conference Center, Seattle, USA

2011 Semantic Technology Conference
Main focus: Semantic technologies – including Search, Content Management, Business Intelligence
June 5-9, Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, USA

SharePoint Conference 2011
Main focus: SharePoint and related technologies
October 3-6, Anaheim, California, USA

Enterprise Search Summit Fall Nov 1-3
Main focus: How to implement, manage, and enhance search in your organization
Integrated with the KMWorld Conference, SharePoint Symposium and Taxonomy Bootcamp,

(Co-locating with Enterprise Search Summit Fall, Taxonomy Boot Camp and Sharepoint Symposium)
Main focus: Knowledge creation, publishing, sharing, finding, mining, reuse etc
November 1 – 3, Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington DC, USA

Gilbane group Boston
Main focus: Within search: semantic, mobile, SharePoint, social search
November 29 – December 1, Boston, USA

KMWorld 2010 Reflections: Search is a Journey Not a Destination

Two weeks ago me, Ludvig Johansson and Christopher Wallström attended KMWorlds quadruple conference in Washington D.C. The conference consisted of four different conferences; KMWorld, Enterprise Search Summit, Taxonomy Bootcamp and SharePoint Symposium. I focused on Enterprise Search Summit and SharePoint Symposium and Christopher mainly covered Taxonomy Bootcamp as well as the Enterprise Search Summit. (Christopher will soon write a blog post about this as well.)

During the conferences there where some good quality content, however most of it was old news with speakers mainly focusing on outputs of their own products. This was disappointing since I had hoped to see the newest and coolest solutions within my area. Speakers presented systems from their corporations, where the newest and coolest functionality they described was shallow filters on a Google Search Appliance. From my perspective this is not new or cool. I would rather consider this standard functionality in today’s search solutions.

However, some sessions where really good. Daniel W. Rasmus talked about the Evolution of Search in quite a fun and thoughtful way. One thing he wanted to see in the near future was more personalization of search. Search needs to know the user and adapt to him/her and not simply use a standardized algorithm. As Rasmus sad it: “my search engine is not that in to me”. This is, as I would put it, spot on how we see it at Findwise. Today’s customer wants standard search with components that have existed for years now. It’s time for search to take the next step in the evolution and for us to start deliver Findabillity solutions adapted to your needs as an individual. In the line of this, Rasmus ended with another good quote: “Don’t let your search vendors set your exceptions to low”. I think this speaks for it self more or less. If we want contextual search then we should push the vendors out there to start deliver!

Another good session was delivered by Ellen Feaheny on how to utilize both old and new systems smarter. It was from this session the title of this post origins, “It’s a journey not a destination”. I thought this sums up what we feel everyday in our projects. It’s common that customers want to see projects to have a clear start and end. However with search and Findability we see it as a journey. I can even go as far to say it’s a journey without an end. We have customers coming and complaining about their search; saying “It doesn’t work anymore” or “The content is old”, to give two examples. The problem is that search is not a one time problem that you solve and then never have to think about again. If you don’t work with your search solution and treat search as a journey, continually improve relevance, content and invest time in search analytics your solution will soon get dusty and not deliver what your employees or customers wants.

Search is a journey not a destination.

Search in SharePoint 2010

This week there has been a lot of buzz about Microsoft’s launch of SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010. Since SharePoint 2007 has been the quickest growing server product in the history of Microsoft, the expectations on SharePoint 2010 are tremendous. And also great expectations for search in Sharepoint 2010

Apart from a great deal of possibilities when it comes to content creation, collaboration and networking, easy business intelligence etc. the launch also holds another promise: that of even better capabilities for search in Sharepoint 2010 (with the integration of FAST).

Since Microsoft acquired FAST in 2008, there have been a lot of speculations about what the future SharePoint versions may include in terms of search. And since Microsoft announced that they will drop their Linux and UNIX versions in order to focus on higher innovation speed, Microsoft customer are expecting something more than the regular. In an early phase it was also clear that Microsoft is eager to take market shares from the growing market in internet business.

So, simply put, the solutions that Microsoft now provide in terms of search is solutions for Business productivity (where the truly sophisticated search capabilities are available if you have Enterprise CAL-licenses, i.e. you pay for the number of users you have) and Internet Sites (where the pricing is based on the number of servers). These can then be used in a number of scenarios, all dependent on the business and end-user needs.
Microsoft has chosen to describe it like this:

  • Foundation” is, briefly put, basic SharePoint search (Site Search).
  • Standard” adds collaboration features to the “Foundation” edition and allows it to tie into repositories outside of SharePoint.
  • Enterprise ” adds a number of capabilities, previously only available through FAST licenses, such as contextual search (recognition of departments, names, geographies etc), ability to tag meta data to unstructured content, more scalability etc.

I’m not going to go into detail, rather just conclude that the more Microsoft technology the company or organization already use, the more benefits it will gain from investing in SharePoint search capabilities.

And just to be clear:  non-SharePoint versions (stand-alone) of FAST are still available, even though they are not promoted as intense as the SharePoint ones.

Apart from Microsoft’s overview above, Microsoft Technet provides a more deepdrawing description of the features and functionality from both an end-user and administrator point of view.

We look forward describing the features and functions in more detail in our upcoming customer cases. If you have any questions to our SharePoint or FAST search specialist, don’t hesitate to post them here on the blog. We’ll make sure you get all the answers.

SPC09 Day 2 – FAST Search for SharePoint Made “SharePoint Easy”

After a great evening with Microsoft Sweden touring around Las Vegas, having dinner at the Stratosphere and a good night sleep today’s session started of. Today’s focus has been deep dives in to the different areas. For me it has been deep dives in Sharepoint Search and FAST Search for Sharepoint.

First of was sessions about Sharepoint Search functions and depolyment. This was more or less going through the different functionality that I wrote about yesterday. A thew new things did thou come up, things like crawler policy’s, avoiding that your index is empties just because the web site that you crawl is on service during crawl time, connector framework that now supports developing connectors in .NET and configuration of the whole search service through PowerShell.

But now to the more exiting thing, FAST Search for SharePoint 2010. This something that it has been really quite about. It has gone 18 months since the acquisition of FAST and during that time not much information about the upcoming version has leaked out. But from yesterday everything is made public. There is even gona come a public beta of FAST Search for SharePoint in November for everyone to test it out.

The most exiting thing about this new version of FAST is that it’s almost completely integrated within SharePoint. With almost is that the installation of FAST is still done on separated servers and has it’s own installation program, though simplified. But after completion of installation and node setup (done in a deployment.xml config file) everything is done in the SharePoint central administration interface or through PowerShell. There is not even the possibility any longer to make configurations through config files in the installation of FAST. Some more advanced configurations and extensions can be made through .NET libraries and PowerShell, for example document processing steps. I will know more about this after tomorrows sessions.

Connectors in new FAST are no longer used as before. They are integrated into SharePoint instead. It’s even the same connector for SharePoint search and FAST Search for SharePoint. Setup is done in the same way to ease the transition from SharePoint Search to FAST.

People search in SharePoint 2010 will, even though you use FAST Search For SharePoint, be handled by SharePoint search. And as Jeff Fried sad “why try to set this up in FAST Search for SharePoint when the people search in SharePoint already is amazing”.

Now it’s time for one of the biggest beach parties that Las Vegas ever has hosted here at Mandal Bay Hotel. Over 7000 crazy SharePoint geeks are going to rock there pants of to the sound of the 80’s.

SPC09 Day 1 (Las Vegas) – A New Choice in Enterprise Search

Today the initial key notes and session on the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 has begun here in Las Vegas. The conference is fully booked with over 7400 registered attendees and is hosted at the Mandala Bay Hotel. There are over 240 different sessions covering everything within the new version of SharePoint 2010. SharePoint 2010 is schedules to be released during the first half of next year however a public beta will be available now in November. I will try to cover the Enterprise Search perspective of this conference and summarize new features and functions in this blog.

The conference was started up through two key notes held by among others Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) and Jeff Teper (VP). They introduces new features in SharePoint 2010 on all levels from both really deep technical to end user perspective. Showing a lot of new cool features, where one feature was especially sticking out and that was Search. They all pointed out over and over again the importance of search as the core functionality of everything.

Enterprise Search

My first sessions during this conference was on Enterprise Search and the overview of this. A lot of new concepts and functions are introduced. I will try here to summarize some of the new functions in a list.

Sharepoint 2010 and Search Server 2010 (Not all is supported in Search Server)

  • Wildcard search support
  • Phonetic Spelling on person name searches
  • Partitioned index/query (for scaling purposes)
  • Support for up to 100 Million documents
  • Zero query search – Used for using search as navigation
  • Query Suggestion
  • Refinement from meta data (Shallow navigators)
  • Related Searches
  • Federate Searches with Desktop
  • Rating/Language used for relevance tuning
  • View related content in people search
  • Multiple crawler

FAST Search for SharePoint

  • All above from SharePoint searches (some times they are even supposed to work together like people search is still done through SharePoint search)
  • Visual preview and thumbnails
  • Same APIs as SharePoint
  • All administration is done through SharePoint administration
  • Similar results
  • Deep refinement navigators
  • Entity extraction
  • Visual Best bet
  • Contextual Search
  • No index profile any more. Everything is set through SharePoint administration even Navigators and meta data mappings.
  • Can use BCS for connecting to other systems
  • User context searching. Promote/denote documents and changing relevance after users context
  • New search interface

That was a summary of the new features that is to come. I will come back every day to post updates and more detailed information about these features. To finish of I want to quote Microsoft: This is a quantum leap in Enterprise Search.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas

I will attend to the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas USA between the 19-22 October. This will be the perfect opportunity to learn more about upcoming release of SharePoint 2010 and from Findwise perspective, the new FAST Search For SharePoint.

Since Findwise have several years of experience of integrating FAST ESP and SharePoint this will be a great opportunity to meet us face-to-face and talk about how FAST ESP could help you in your future implementations.

Looking forward to meet you!

Roadmap FAST Search for Sharepoint and Internet Business

In view of the fact that it has been a year since Microsoft acquired FAST search, there has been a lot of hush-hush about the Enterprise search roadmap. However, at the yearly FAST forward conference, Microsoft’s press release Microsoft Unveils New Enterprise Search Road Map reached the public.

There are no big surprises, but a lot of interesting details to come. Briefly speaking Microsoft is focusing on two areas: search to enhance business productivity and search to earn money online.

Sharepoint and FAST ESP

Here at Findwise we have been working with customers integrating SharePoint and FAST ESP for some time, and ESP certainly adds a lot of value by extending SharePoint’s main strengths: content management and collaboration. Office 14, which will probably see the light early next year, will hopefully add more flexibility to their infrastructure solutions out of the box.

More information about the licensing models are yet to come and even though FAST search will continue to develop ESP as a standalone (to run on both Unix and Linux), the roadmap ties existing and potential Microsoft customers closer by presenting search as an integrated part of their business productivity offering.

As for FAST Search Internet Business Microsoft’s target group are companies looking for earning money online. During FAST forward 2007 there was a lot of talk about the future search driven portals and during the 2008 event about the ability to understanding user intent.

Today online consumers have higher expectations when it comes to search and the ability to show related information (such as Amazon’s “people that bought this product also bought”..) as well as showing contextual advertising (related to search terms, geographical location etc) and recommendations will create loyal customers. FAST search has quite a few customers using search for strategic online business so one should keep an eye on the release of the new beta version during 2009.

If you read Swedish, Helge Legernes, one of the founders of Findwise is giving his comment in Computer Sweden.