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Text Analytics Enable Intelligence Solutions
by
Posted On May 1, 2006
Sorting through the onslaught of text and data noise is getting easier. Text and data analytics technologies are continually improving and increasingly being incorporated into new information filtering solutions. These new advanced analytical products are particularly critical not only for the intelligence community, but also for corporate executives and researchers concerned with global instabilities and security issues, as well as other content-intensive information applications. Several announcements hit my desk within the last few days, highlighting the growing importance of these solutions that offer aid to those seeking contextual insights.

One new product called Silobreaker (http://www.silobreaker.com) promises "intelligence for everyone!" Silobreaker claims it turns information into intelligence by converting "unmanageable noise into a source of insight." Silobreaker offers a single, integrated platform for searching structured and unstructured information, and features investigative tools that can extract textual entities on the fly, map results geospatially, and organize them in a 360-degree view. Users can not only drill down on a topic, but they can do it multi-dimensionally, such as by region, additional topic, and geography. Because of on-the-fly entity extraction, users can filter (or "split") by topics, people, companies, organizations, industries, cities, countries, provinces, world regions, or publications. Users can visually explore the relationships among entities.

Silobreaker is a current awareness service focused on the understanding and analysis of global instabilities, whether political, economical or related to crime, security, the environment, health, the military or industry. The company announced its formal launch into the U.S. marketplace in February following its introduction into the European market in 2005. The service is a joint venture of Infosphere, a Swedish commercial intelligence and knowledge strategy consultancy, and Elucidon, a U.K.-based provider of advanced information analytics and decision support software.

Silobreaker is designed for "light or casual information professionals" (executives, consultants, investors, analysts, newshounds, etc.) and costs $199 per year until June 1, when the price goes up to $398. The company has just announced that it will introduce monthly subscriptions at $59 starting June 1. Silobreaker also announced the addition of several hundred U.S. local and state newspapers and business journals to its content set. The service contains more than 10,000 qualified sources that are updated every 60 seconds.

Silobreaker is the brainchild of Mats Bjore, business development director for the startup firm. Here's how he describes the service: "Instabilities such as war, terrorism, crime, corruption, disease, famine, political upheaval, and natural disasters are global and affect us all. There's also a lot we don't know and can't foresee, but the writing is on the wall somewhere in the world. By looking for meaning, not words, and focusing on the relatedness of people, events, and ideas, Silobreaker is designed to help researchers anticipate, prevent, and solve problems before they become full-blown crises."

LexisNexis has just announced an agreement with Inxight Federal Systems Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inxight Software, Inc., to integrate the Inxight ThingFinder Professional into the LexisNexis Enterprise Data Fusion System. LexisNexis Special Services said that by including the fact and entity extraction technology, it is now able to offer its customers in the intelligence community "a massively scalable and powerful solution for the rapid refinery, processing, linking, and analysis of vast streams of disparate structured and unstructured data." The system integrates commercial and open-source information with classified and agency-specific data so that analysts can derive richer context and discover hidden links between people, places, and other associated entities, with the goal of transforming disparate information sources into actionable intelligence.

And, also this week, Inxight Software announced the general availability of Inxight SmartDiscovery Extraction Server (SDX), said to be the first commercially available, massively scalable solution for text analytics in more than 30 languages. The company said it is designed for customers with large-scale, high-throughput text processing needs, such as the government, publishers, and OEMs.

Last year, EBSCO Publishing created a new International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center (ISCTRC). It has been available via the EBSCOhost platform. Now, the company has announced the availability of a new subject-specific interface for the database. Interestingly, the new interface doesn't use text-mining or analytical technologies to aid content retrieval. According to a company representative, the ISCTRC is still a traditional keyword index to a full-text database, but it uses indexing to highlight key information for end users. The interface provides quick access to information on people, places, and organizations; features key topics; highlights key titles, reports, and books; and offers timely news content from a variety of sources. The company has begun creating subject specific interfaces for some of its larger interfaces (Business Source) and for databases that are released as full- text products (Literary Reference Center, Consumer Health Complete).

EBSCO does use text analytics capabilities and concept search technology (provided by Content Analyst Co.) for its recently launched Executive Daily Brief (EDB) product, but a spokesperson said there have only been some preliminary discussions about providing a similar "concept search" approach to the ISCTRC database. EDB was featured in the February 2006 NewsLink (http://www.infotoday.com/newslink/newslink0602.htm).The Content Analyst technology automates the analysis and categorization of unstructured text and data using a machine-learning technique called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). According to the company, LSI technology is designed to extract every contextual relation among every term in every text object within a collection.

Contextual insights into massive content aggregations are moving closer to our grasp, as companies push to develop increasingly sophisticated technologies. The smart information vendors will be those that develop these technologies within their own products or that partner with analytic technology companies to integrate these capabilities.


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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