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Surpassing Search: New Xerox Text Mining Software Goes Beyond "Keywords" To Deliver More Relevant Information


Searching for documents that contain specific information can be time consuming and frustrating in today’s office environment. Xerox scientist Frédérique Segond helped develop FactSpotter, a new technology that takes ordinary search to the next level by digging into more documents, analyzing meaning of words and context, accepting queries in everyday language. Segond manages parsing and semantics research at Xerox Research Centre Europe, in Grenoble.

What it is: New Xerox text mining software for service offerings is discriminating, smart and easy to use.

How it’s different: Takes ordinary search to the next level by digging into more documents, analyzing meaning of words and context, accepting queries in everyday language.

Why it matters: Makes it easy to retrieve information from massive data bases in legal cases, fraud detection, drug discovery, risk management, and more.

GRENOBLE, France, and ROCHESTER, N.Y.,Researchers at Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) today unveiled FactSpotter, new document search software that goes beyond conventional “keyword” search, enabling it, in effect, to spot the one or two golden nuggets among the pebbles on the shore.
Developed in Grenoble, France, by researchers at the Xerox Research Centre Europe, the new text mining software combines a powerful linguistic engine with an easy-to-use interface so that anyone can query the system in everyday language. Unlike traditional enterprise search tools, FactSpotter looks not only for the keywords contained in a query but also the context of the document those words contain. For example, if searching for documents that reference Angelina Jolie, FactSpotter will also return results where the pronoun “she” is used instead of Jolie’s full name.

The “smart” search engine can comb through almost any document regardless of the language, location, format or type; take advantage of the way humans think, speak and ask questions; and discriminate the results highlighting just a handful of relevant answers instead of returning thousands of unrelated responses.

“Our advanced search engine goes beyond today’s typical ’keyword’ search or current data-mining programs, which typically end up searching only 40 percent of all the documents that are relevant because the keywords are too limiting,” said Frédérique Segond, manager of parsing and semantics research at XRCE. “Xerox’s tool is more accurate because it delves into documents, extracting the concepts and the relationships among them. By ’understanding’ the context, it returns the right information to the searcher, and it even highlights the exact location of the answer within the document.”

FactSpotter is part of Xerox’s ongoing intelligent document technology research that complements its growing portfolio of services-related innovations. The technology helps customers better manage data and document-intensive work processes in industries like banking, finance and legal. Xerox plans to launch FactSpotter next year as part of its Xerox Litigation Services offerings, which include electronic discovery (e-discovery) services that primarily support legal and regulatory compliance.

“Today’s knowledge worker has quite a task in front of them. Each and every day they search for specific data, information, or corporate knowledge in order to do their job well,” said Mike Maziarka, director, InfoTrends Dynamic Content Software and Image Scanning Trends Consulting Services. “We all need tools that will make it easier to search for that ’needle’ among the ’haystack’ of masses of information that exist in our world today. FactSpotter meets this need because it can make searches easier to conduct, more accurate, and more encompassing. This ultimately improves the focus of the results and allows workers to be more productive.”

Next Generation of Searching
The new software goes beyond traditional search engines in several ways:

FactSpotter’s novel interface means users can express their queries naturally instead of forcing them to adapt their questions to the logic of computers. Traditional systems, on the other hand, split a query into isolated words and return only documents that contain exactly those words.

Unlike traditional search engines that return the entire document forcing the user to find the relevant information manually, FactSpotter returns the specific portion of a search document that is relevant to the query.

FactSpotter takes into account the context of the entire document instead of just a cluster of nearby words. It introduces the concept of “relation,” searching within and across sentences and paragraphs.

FactSpotter recognizes abstract concepts, like “people” or “building,” and will retrieve all the words that fit within that category.
By analyzing the meaning of both the query and the searched document, FactSpotter will dramatically simplify and speed up time-consuming activities. For example, during the electronic discovery phase of a legal trial, FactSpotter will allow specific facts to be found quickly and easily among thousands (and often millions) of different documents. By delivering complete and relevant answers quickly and easily, FactSpotter could revolutionize the operations of data-intensive businesses such as electronic legal discovery, risk management, pharmaceutical research, competitive and market intelligence, security intelligence and fraud detection.
Xerox innovation at work
Xerox Corporation’s Innovation Group conducts work in color science, computing, digital imaging, work practices, electromechanical systems, novel materials, linguistics, work practice analysis, and nanotechnology connected to Xerox’s expertise in printing and document management. The company consistently builds its inventions into business by embedding them in Xerox products and solutions, using them as the foundation for new business, or licensing or selling them to other entities. Last week Xerox was named the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, recognizing the company’s “over 50 years of innovation in marking, materials, electronics and communications that created the modern reprographics, electronic printing, and print-on-demand industries.” For more information, visit


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