searching for documents that you have created,
you are likely to get good results because your
vocabularly is well known to you; you are likely
to be able to create a search query using words
or phrases that you are familier with, and that
you would have used in your documents and e-mails.
when searching on the Web or a company network,
your search vocabulary will most likely not match
that of all the authors of the Web pages or documents
you are searching, especially if you are not searching
in your native language. This is a well known
problem, and when writing for the Web or company
Intranet it is important to write with findability
in mind (see Use
Old Words When Writing for Findability by
When searching on your company network, it is
unlikely that many documents will have been created
with findability in mind; there may be 'internal
vocabulary', specialised terminology, acronyms
or abbreviations that are unique to your organisation,
profession, or industry sector; there may be slang
in internal e-mails, 'politically correct' phrases
in formal reports, words and phrases which are
the 'flavour of the month' from your marketing
or sales people, and sprinkled in will be a few
misspellings! How do you improve your search methods
to take this into account?
method which you may not have come across before
in simple search tools is the User Thesaurus;
this allows you to create synonym groups of words
or phrases (also known as 'synonym rings'). For
example, if you define a synonym group to include
the words improve, ameliorate, amend, better,
and help, a search for 'improve'
will also find any of the other words in the group.
the built in WordNet Thesaurus will allow
you to automatically find many synonyms and related
words, but word usage changes over time. You can
add current terms or add equivalent words in other
languages in the User Thesaurus, for example if
you select Related Words in dtSearch Desktop or
Network, a search on analgesic will also
find aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, painkiller
and many other alternatives, but you could perhaps
add 'anadin' or other brand names or the
common phrase 'headache tablet' to improve
your search results.
User Thesaurus can also be used to expand words
in your search query to include grammatical variants.
Stemming will take
care of the majority of these, but short words
and English irregular verbs (e.g. ring, rang,
rung; sing, sang, sung, etc.) are well known
to be difficult to handle with most stemming methods.
Plus add-on product includes sample thesaurus
files, including English irregular verbs and other
sample files to improve your search recall.
If your company uses MicroSoft's SharePoint Search,
Kenza - SharePoint Thesaurus Editor is the
easy-to-use synonym creation solution.