A visual approach to search strategy formulation

Tony Russell-Rose • Back to Haystack Europe 2018

Knowledge workers (such as healthcare information professionals, patent agents and legal researchers) need to undertake complex search tasks to identify relevant documents and insights within large domain-specific repositories and collections. The traditional solution is to use line-by-line query builders offered by proprietary database vendors. However, these offer limited support for error checking or query optimization, and their output can often be compromised by errors and inefficiencies. In this talk, we present a new approach to query formulation in which concepts are expressed as objects on a two-dimensional canvas, and relationships are articulated by direct manipulation. Automated search term suggestions are provided using a combination of knowledge-based and statistical NLP techniques. This has the potential to eliminate many sources of inefficiency, make the query semantics more transparent, and offer a universal framework for search strategy formulation.

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Tony Russell-Rose


Tony Russell-Rose is founder of 2dSearch, a start-up applying artificial intelligence, natural language processing and data visualisation to create the next generation of advanced search tools. He is also director of UXLabs, a research and design consultancy specialising in complex search and information access applications. Previously Tony has led R&D teams at Canon, Reuters, Oracle, HP Labs and BT Labs. He currently holds the title of RAE Visiting Professor of Cognitive Computing at Essex University and publishes widely on information retrieval, NLP and human-computer interaction. He has a PhD in Computer Science and a first degree in engineering, majoring in human factors.