Thursday, June 3, 2010

Biasing Search Results

Biasing means favoring or manipulating. Biasing search results finds use in many situations. Consider the following few cases:
  1. biasing results which have been rated by users as excellent or above average compared to others
  2. biasing results based on geographic location of the search user
  3. biasing results based on targeted audience ;-)
One of the tools Autonomy IDOL provides to enable biasing is "BIASVAL" operator. Using BIASVAL the relevancy of search results can be manipulated based on certain criteria. For example, Content having country in its metadata can be enabled for biasing using country. BIASVAL is specified as part of the fieldtext query that is sent to IDOL.
fieldtext=BIASVAL{US,10}:COUNTRY  ---> biases content having country metadata set to US by 10%

Biasing can be grouped and applied over multiple metadata to achieve more focused search results.

Bias is especially useful in searches run from Portals where the Portal UI and content is personalised for the user.
Also very useful in the cases where the ACL is not restrictive enough to filter the results using ACL.

Adding bias and creating the fieldtext at run-time using the specified criteria adds a lot of dynamism to the static search queries.

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