What is Full-text Search?
Full-text search is a method of searching within large amounts of digital content, usually textual, by using computer programs. Several algorithms exist to find the best-matched results based on the keywords used in relation to context and other pertinent information.
The process may be performed by software or hardware components in a document management system or online indexing platforms such as an online library or web-based application. It is also known as document retrieval and document indexing, with similar variants for things like web crawling and social media.
What is Full-text Search used for?
There is a growing need to search large amounts of digital content for the purpose of product discovery. In legal and regulatory environments, a full-text search may be used to find relevant material within documents and reports, emails and instant messages, websites, social media posts, and videos.
More broadly, this kind of search can be thought of as simply finding documents on a specific topic or theme. This can be as simple as using a keyword query to find a document that uses the word “dog” on the page.
On a larger scale, it can be used to search across multiple documents, and even search by concepts.
There are numerous different ways full-text search can be used. The key here is to assign meanings to words that make it easier for people to find the right document or content.
Applications and examples of Full-text Search
In the medical community, the full-text search can be used to find relevant information about a disease or condition by searching for words and phrases related to those terms. However, this becomes more difficult with those terms having multiple meanings because it would take multiple searches to find all the relevant results.
For example, searching for “migraine” can yield a range of information about the condition such as “remitting, chronic, cerebral” and “acute episodic.” However, full-text search is an excellent tool to find relevant information on almost any topic from technical information to clinical material.
The knowledge management field is defined by the knowledge it holds and uses to improve decision-making and enhance business performance. This can mean a variety of things, such as information technology, marketing research, and cloud computing.
Full-text search can be used to find relevant papers in these fields rather than having to look through hundreds of documents or reports on a topic.
For example, in the knowledge management field, it is important to find research papers on the competitive landscape of a particular industry. These papers might be used by marketers or journalists looking for an idea on how to better engage their customers.
Research and analysis
In any type of research and analysis environment, the full-text search can be used to find relevant information in already stored documents or data sets quickly. This includes trends, patterns, and other statistics that reflect the state of a company or industry.
For example, in the data science field, a full-text search can be used to find important information such as which companies are the most valuable on the stock market.
Best practices of Full-text Search
The rise of mobile devices and the digital workplace has increased the need for full-text search capabilities. The ability to find information that is relevant to a specific topic or idea quickly has never been more important. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date with best practices, new techniques, and promising technology advancements.
Don’t apply before you test
There are many different types of full-text search tools on the market, some of which are more advanced than others. The best way to determine which is right for a company is to conduct a detailed evaluation before making a move. This will help identify the gaps in a company’s current information delivery and discovery process.
Build your own solution
There are free and low-cost tools that can help businesses integrate full-text search into their workflow. It is a good idea to test the software before making a purchase to find out if it is compatible with the organization’s data and information needs.
If it is not or if it can’t be customized, it may be best to build a custom solution. This involves involving the company’s IT team so they understand what they are doing and how to do it.
Consider a hybrid approach
Companies often use full-text search as an additional step to the traditional query process. However, the technology may be used along with the traditional method to find relevant information more efficiently. This could help improve accuracy and flow in finding information from documents and data sets.
For example, some organizations have full-text search capabilities built into their enterprise content management tools so that documents are easier to find when searching for certain keywords or phrases related to certain processes or certain topics.
Add value to the search process
Most full-text search tools are used by multiple people looking for different types of information. Because of this, it is smart to make edits and additions to the search results so that information can be more easily found.