From a technical standpoint, search engine software is more analogous to deciphering a treasure map than to looking for a needle in a haystack. Please see Beyond Searching for the Proverbial Needle in a Haystack at The Daily Blaze. With that in mind, this article addresses finding buried treasure, with a specific eye to the holidays.
The search engine in this article is dtSearch®. As general background, if you have not yet heard of dtSearch, dtSearch has enterprise and multiplatform developer products that instantly search through terabytes of data including a broad range of different file types, emails with multilevel attachments, a wide variety of databases, and other web-based data. Enterprises with very large data sets like 4 out of 5 of the Fortune 500’s largest Aerospace and Defense companies and 3 out of 4 of the “Big 4” accounting firms are dtSearch customers. However, if you just want to search your own PC documents and emails, you can also download a fully-functional 30-day evaluation version of dtSearch Desktop anytime at dtSearch.com.
One way that an application like dtSearch assists with the holidays is to instantly search a content rich website such as an online store with a holiday gift section. In this capacity, the dtSearch Engine (dtSearch’s central developer product) can make the entire site more accessible to shoppers by instantly searching not only metadata for each store item but also full-text descriptions for each item.
For example, if an online store has a backend SQL/NoSQL or SharePoint database (as many stores do to keep track of their products) along with collateral materials outside the database such as web pages, PDF flyers or MS Word documents, the dtSearch Engine can provide integrated searching across the whole shebang to make sure shoppers quickly get exactly what they are looking for. And not only can the dtSearch Engine search across all of a store’s own data, but through the built-in dtSearch Spider, dtSearch can enable integrated searching with content that even resides on a third-party site, like a toy manufacturer’s website.
dtSearch has over 25 different search options. One key option for shopping sites is fuzzy search. Even if a shopper mistypes building blocks as builning blocks, dtSearch can sift through the typo and still find the relevant gift. But beyond basic search types, there is one important search type that the dtSearch Engine makes available that is a bit more complex to explain but still critical for efficient shopping. And that is faceted search.
Faceted searching leverages a store’s metadata to provide different “facets” to narrow down search results at the user interface level. Suppose you are shopping for a gift for your niece. You might narrow your toy search by selecting certain facets, like age-range, toy brand, toy type, toy color, toy size, toy on sale, next-day delivery available, etc.
The dtSearch Engine typically uses metadata in a backend database like SQL, NoSQL or Sharepoint to generate the specific facets. Alternatively, if no backend database exists, the dtSearch Engine can use metadata added “on the fly” while indexing to generate the facets. In the toy catalog example, age range would be one metadata element, toy brand would be another metadata element, toy type would be a third metadata element, etc.
That way, a shopper can search across the entire dataset for a blue sled for a 9 year old. Or the shopper can browse through the collection by selecting specific facets—age range 9 to 10, outdoor toys and specifically sleds, blue color, etc.—and then browse through all sleds that meet those criteria. Or the shopper can enter a search for a new keyword or keywords and search just across the pre-narrowed selection for optimal efficiency.
Setting aside immediate online shopping, for consumers dtSearch is also great holiday asset. For example, you can use dtSearch Desktop to search the data on your own PCs, including documents and emails. That way, you can instantly search your own records like email receipts to see what you got Aunt Jane last year and the year before, and make sure that this year you get Aunt Jane something completely different. And dtSearch has multicolored hit highlighting so you can highlight sleds in blue, candy canes in red, etc. Again, you can immediately download and try a fully-functional 30-day evaluation version to instantly search terabytes of your own data at dtSearch.com.