TeraText: Decades in the Making, Still Performing Mission Critical Functions
Analytic report is part of a free service that provides technical descriptions of important players in enterprise search and content processing market from the 1980s to the present day
Stephen E. Arnold, enterprise search industry expert and author of the “Enterprise Search Report” and “The New Landscape of Search,” has announced the release of a free analysis of TeraText, a comprehensive information retrieval system developed over thirty years ago.
The thirty-page report is available free of charge at www.xenky-com/vendor-profiles. Arnold, author of the report, said: “TeraText provides a robust, scalable information processing system to government entities in the U.S., Australia, and elsewhere. TeraText is the forerunner of such systems as Recorded Future (funded by In-Q-Tel and Google) and IBM i2 Analyst Notebook. Yet most vendors marketing search and content processing systems are unaware of this important system. My report fills an important gap in the literature describing advanced information retrieval systems.”
Understanding the TeraText approach and how the company built specific applications to serve the needs of its different government customers was a road map for the later activities of Autonomy, Convera, and Fast Search & Transfer, among others. The report covers TeraText’s rise from work stemming from Dr. Ron Sacks-Davis’ work on large-scale content management, information access, and text analysis systems. Originally funded by university research grants, TeraText became a core system for governmental entities engaged in law making, defense, and intelligence.
As the product matured, TeraText avoided the Madison Avenue-style marketing used by most search vendors. The company’s executives competed for large-scale systems, for example, enabling content analysis for an Australian and New Zealand military program.
Arnold added, “Most of today’s search vendors claim that their system embodies innovations that are revolutionary. In some cases, these assertions are not based on fact. The founders of the information retrieval company is not aware of TeraText or the technical principles upon which the infrastructure solution is based. TeraText is an important system today, more than three decades after Dr. Sacks-Davis’ and his colleagues’ insights were converted to functioning software.”
Arnold started posting these search, content processing, and analytics vendor profiles in October 2013. Versions of these profiles may have appeared in monographs, articles, or books. Additional profiles are now being added every few weeks.
The TeraText report is number 11 in the series. Other search and content processing vendors profiled include Convera, Entopia, Fulcrum, Verity (which Autonomy acquired in 2005), and other vendors. A comparable report from a content marketing firm like an IDC-type firm can cost as much as $3,500. Arnold’s report is available free of charge because he believes foundation search systems can aid procurement teams in making better decisions about vendors’ claims.
These profiles are a valuable intelligence resource because significant information about previous search and retrieval systems is no longer easily available or has never before been collected. In many cases, the information about a vendor has been deleted or the new owners of the search companies have replaced earlier documents with ones laced with marketing jargon.
“Each day that passes underscores the need for individuals to have access to basic information about important search and content processing systems. Most vendors are wittingly or unwittingly recycling search methods that have been in use for decades,” Arnold added. “But these profiles—particularly the descriptions of such innovators as Autonomy and TeraText—make it clear that search innovation is moving at a very slow pace compared to some other technical fields.”
About Stephen E. Arnold, Arnold IT
Stephen E. Arnold is a technology and financial analyst with more than thirty years of experience. In addition to “The Google Legacy,” he is the author of more than 60 journal articles and a number of other books, including “The Path to the Total Network,” published in 1993, and the first three editions of the 600-page encyclopedia of search called “The Enterprise Search Report.” Since January 2008, he has published a free daily search and content processing newsletter at http://www.arnoldit.com/wordpress.
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