Sourcing News and Knowledge – Beyond the Obvious

Articles tagged 'semantic search'

Technology & Resources

SourceCon’s Semantic Search Series


semantic web logo

How’s that for an alliteration?

Back in 2007, Dave Copps introduced us to PureDiscovery at the very first SourceCon conference, and in doing so he opened the door to semantic search for many of us in the sourcing world. Semantic search is not a new concept, but it’s one that alludes many of us because it’s just one of those things that has a bit of a fuzzy definition.

Semantics, by its purest definition, is the study of the meaning of something, usually a language. This is not to be confused with syntax, which is the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences. Semantics is more about the words chosen to share a message, where syntax is more about how those words are arranged within the message. The two are interconnected, but they will take you in different directions when you search.

Editor's Corner, Technology & Resources

Conducting a Quality Search: Let Keywords Be Your Guide

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That title is kind of a ‘duh’, isn’t it? But it’s amazing how often developing a good list of keywords, and then putting them to good use, is overlooked when formulating a successful sourcing campaign.

In a post written yesterday on the Search Engine Journal, Case Ernsting shares his thoughts with SEO professionals on how keywords are important to writing good copy. I would like to take this piece and put a sourcing ‘twist’ on it to fit with the notion that to conduct a good sourcing campaign, keywords must be your guide. Please make sure to check out Ernsting’s post as well – it echoes some things that were shared recently here on The Source by guest author Adam Wiedmer, Tools & Techniques for Writing Strategic SEO Job Postings.

Whenever I’m starting a new sourcing project, I always begin with a hearty dose of Keyword Research. Well before you touch any social network, search engine, or resume database, you need to know what keywords your req is really going after.

This is hardly a new concept, as many sourcing pros will tell you that starting a campaign with Keyword Research is a “Best Practice”. But many times some of the hidden gems of keyword research go unnoticed. A carefully chosen select set of keywords is the fuel for a well structured, effective sourcing project. Your list of targeted words and phrases helps you find competitors, perform peer regression analysis, target the right industries, define relative terms, and, most notably, determine where these keywords can be readily found.

Editor's Corner, Technology & Resources

Data, Information, and Knowledge

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  • Data: a collection of facts
  • Information: data that have been processed into a format that is understandable by its intended audience
  • Knowledge: the perception of fact or truth; clear and certain mental apprehension

Progression: data is gathered to provide information in order to gain knowledge.

We have exposure to more data today than we ever have in the history of the world. Back in 2006, IBM put out a white paper, The toxic terabyte: How data-dumping threatens business efficiency, stating that by 2010 the amount of data available in the world would double every 11 hours. Last year, a British news source reported that the world’s digital content was equal to a stack of books stretching from Earth to Pluto 10 times. (this is just the digital data, mind you!) If you want some really mind-blowing facts on data, check out Tim Berners-Lee’s talk from the TED conferences in 2009.

Back in the late ’90s, Michael Lesk, a renowned professor of Library and Information Sciences at Rutgers University, conducted a study trying to estimate the amount of information available in the world. He drew this conclusion which reflects the world we now live in:

“Today the digital library community spends some effort on scanning, compression, and OCR; tomorrow it will have to focus almost exclusively on selection, searching, and quality assessment. Input will not matter as much as relevant choice. Missing information won’t be on the tip of your tongue; it will be somewhere in your files. Or, perhaps, it will be in somebody else’s files. With all of everyone’s work online, we will have the opportunity first glimpsed by H. G. Wells (and a bit later and more concretely by Vannevar Bush) to let everyone use everyone else’s intellectual effort. We could build a real `World Encyclopedia’ with a true `planetary memory for all mankind’ as Wells wrote in 1938. [Wells 1938]. He talked of “knitting all the intellectual workers of the world through a common interest;” we could do it. The challenge for librarians and computer scientists is to let us find the information we want in other people’s work; and the challenge for the lawyers and economists is to arrange the payment structures so that we are encouraged to use the work of others rather than re-create it.”

Industry News

Google Acquires Metaweb

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Google announced today that it has acquired Metaweb Technologies, a company based in San Francisco that developed Freebase, an “open, shared database of the world’s knowledge.” A semantic web startup, Metaweb was founded in 2005 by Danny Hillis, John Giannandrea, and Robert Cook and was run under the parent company Applied Minds.

This could lead Google even further into the realm of semantic search. According to Gigaom, Google says it plans to use Metaweb to “help handle complicated and hard-to-understand search queries by getting a better understanding of the 12 million people, places and things in Freebase and how they relate to each other.”