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Siderean Upgrades Its Relational Navigation Platform
Posted On May 14, 2007
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Siderean Software, Inc. ( is unveiling the newest version of its information-access platform, Seamark Navigator, at the Enterprise Search Summit ( being held this week, May 14–16, in New York. Seamark Navigator 4.5 builds upon Siderean’s semantic technologies in deep relational analysis while delivering improvements in usability, scalability, security, and management capabilities. This release also provides additional user-participation features, including new tagging, voting, ranking, and reviewing capabilities. With the market for enterprise search technologies now reportedly topping $1 billion per year, Siderean said it is putting its money on the future of relational navigation in solving information-access issues.

"With the amount of and demand for information both inside and outside of the enterprise firewall growing exponentially, it has become increasingly clear that users want more access, better discovery, and the ability to participate," said Michael Schmitt, CEO of Siderean Software. "Traditional search solutions are simply not sophisticated enough to accurately shepherd users through the vast amounts of information that must be navigated in order to generate relevant results. By enhancing access, discovery, and participation, Siderean’s Seamark Navigator 4.5 allows organizations to deliver a more intuitive and personalized navigation experience. Relational navigation lets users explore the full scope of relationships between information to generate the actionable context that is critical to relevance and real discovery, allowing users to become masters of discovery."

Brad Allen, Siderean’s founder and chief technology officer, said that some other information-access vendors are now beginning to emphasize the analysis of complex relationships between information facets. While it is encouraging to see them moving in this direction, he said that Siderean’s Seamark Navigator remains the only information-access solution that enables unanticipated discovery, allowing users to identify and understand previously unseen relationships between information from disparate data sources. [See the screen showing search, faceted navigation, and relational navigation.]

Recently, Seamark Navigator delivered search results by navigating more than 1 billion relationships with subsecond response time. Siderean achieved this milestone during a proof-of-concept pilot deployment for Elsevier. Siderean’s relational navigation uses an RDF-based information architecture to enable users to pivot across subjects within search results instead of simply drilling down through query results. RDF is a semantic Web specification that uses XML as an interchange syntax, providing a lightweight ontology system to support the exchange of knowledge on the Web. RDF statements describe a resource and its properties. Allen said that Siderean has been committed to W3C standards from the beginning—the specifications are part of the core of the product, and they were not added on.

"Intelligent presentation of aggregated content sources is crucial to our customers," said Rafael Sidi, Elsevier’s vice president of product development for engineering and technology markets. "Using their Semantic Web application, Siderean was able to demonstrate the potential for solving customer problems through building complex and useful relationships between millions of data records."

Jason Busch has been working with Siderean’s solution in preparation for a new aggregated content offering for the blog that he founded and edits, The free resource, which should go live in a week or two, will provide a one-stop hub or starting point for procurement and supply chain information. It will access a variety of content sources, including RSS feeds, trade publications, blogs, the ThomasRegister, and research from AMR. Busch commented: "The generation of massive amounts of information is one of the hallmarks of social media—and one of its greatest selling points. But from a technical standpoint, the ability to effectively harness or navigate through all of that content has lagged far behind the ability to create it. Siderean’s Seamark Navigator allows our users to effectively and intuitively navigate the site to discover the information they are looking for. Siderean has demonstrated the ability to deliver a solution that meets the high standards we’ve set for information access."

Busch said he considered other information-access tools but was impressed with the navigation abilities of Siderean. He also stressed that Siderean’s vision of social networking matched his own—build a community around the content. Allen said the next major product release will provide even more user-participation features.

"Search alone is no longer enough," said Sue Feldman, IDC’s research vice president of the Content Technologies Group. "The search engine is just one component in today’s extended discovery application. The action in 2007 centers on enriching and interpreting queries, documents, and output. Helping users find and explore information requires other technologies that understand and link related information and events, guiding users to what they didn’t even know to ask about. That’s real serendipity."

Feldman is giving the opening keynote presentation for the Enterprise Search Summit on Tuesday, May 15. Previewing her talk with me in a phone call, she said that we are now seeing a new and interesting crop of search and discovery tools—including Siderean’s Seamark Navigator. "Siderean handles dynamism—elements don’t have to be predetermined. And, while other discovery tools allow drill down through facets and hierarchies, Siderean can handle ‘sideways relationships’ in a unique way."

Siderean’s customers are concentrated in the government, high-tech, and media industries. Founded in 2001 and based in El Segundo, Calif., Siderean is backed by investment firms Clearstone Venture Partners, InnoCal Venture Capital, and Red Rock Ventures.

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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