Enterprise search – research and insights

by | Aug 20, 2019 | Search


I thought it might be useful to present an annotated list of resources on enterprise search. There are two books on the subject. I wrote the first edition of Enterprise Search for O’Reilly in 2012, with the second edition being published in 2016. Udo Kuschwitz and Charlie Hill wrote Searching the Enterprise in 2017. Although there is inevitably overlap between the books they complement each other very well. Of the many other books on the underlying principles of search Text Data Management and Analysis from ChengXiang Zhai and Sean Massung is very good and has the merit of covering text mining as well as search.

The Search Network has released three report written specifically for readers who need a non-technical introduction to search. Search Insights 2018  and Search Insights 2019  have chapters written by members of the Network, who also contributed to a report I wrote in 2018 on Achieving enterprise search satisfaction . The 2020 edition of Search Insights is now in the planning stage.

We are gradually beginning to understand some of the features of enterprise search that make it difficult to optimize. This is largely due to the work of Paul Cleverley and Simon Burnet working at the University of Aberdeen. All the papers can be found on Paul’s website and most are open access. In particular his research on enterprise search satisfaction and a recent paper on the current condition of enterprise search provide a wealth of insights backed up by high-quality research. Tony Russell-Rose has also made a substantial contribution to search research. Take a look at the list of publications on his web site, especially those on the subject of professional search. Professional search is emerging as an important aspect of search and there is a good introduction to the topic in the December 2018 issue of SIGIR Forum. Sam Marshall (Clearbox) has also made two recent important contributions on enterprise search, looking at the challenges of understanding why search does not work and at the low level of search satisfaction in organisations.

For many the thought of working through an academic thesis is challenging, but there are a number of theses which do shed light on aspects of enterprise search. Examples include Modelling search and stopping in interactive information retrieval by David Maxwell and  Optimizing the search engine Elastic Search by Quentin Coviaux. In addition there is an increasing number of research papers on topics closely related to enterprise search. Recent examples are Comprehensive Characterization of an Open Source Document Search Engine by Zacharias Hadjilambrou and his colleagues at the University of Cyprus, Entity Linking in Enterprise Search: Combining Textual and Structural Information by Sumit Bhatia (IBM India) and E-Commerce Personalization with Elastic Search by Konstantinos N. Vavliakisa and his colleagues at the University of Thessalonica. It is relatively easy to track down research papers and theses using Google Scholar, which highlights where there is an open access version of a research paper that is in a subscription-only academic journal.

Martin White