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GraphicBrain.com, Introduces the Next Generation Search Engine

Thursday, July 12, 2001

Press release from the issuing company

VIGC, the Flemish Innovation Centre for Graphic Communication, has launched a brand new search engine called GraphicBrain.com; the first of a new generation. GraphicBrain.com is focused, powerful and even intelligent. Founded four years ago by several major printing companies in the Flanders region (the northern part of Belgium) it's mission is to keep track of new technologies in the graphic arts industry. VIGC is a non-profit organization and both the Flemish and the European government support the initiative. It provides information and services to companies in the graphic communication industry: printers, publishers, and corporate organisations. The launch of GraphicBrain.com is a new, important step in the growth of VIGC. "It's the virtual heart of VIGC", says Dirk Salens, managing director of VIGC. "GraphicBrain.com was in fact intended to be an internal tool, to manage our own information resources more efficiently and to access the information much faster. But it's such a nice system that we couldn't keep it only to ourselves.", says Eddy Hagen, manager GraphicBrain.com. VIGC gets the information it needs mainly from web sites, magazines and discussion groups. But the tools to retrieve information in these different information streams are really limited. The 'big' search engines will give you a lot of hits,but many of them are irrelevant, just try to look for ppml or pod. And most of them don't support the popular pdf-format. "Some magazines do have an on-line archive, but this means that you have to consult all the different sites. And looking in discussion groups is really looking for the needle in a haystack. One site where you can search all these different information types didn't exist. This is the gap that GraphicBrain.com is now filling.",says Hagen. "It is really amazing what is already available on the Internet, if you can find it of course... And we see more and more companies who are providing really good information on their site, not only information on their products, but also general information. The Adobe-site is a splendid example: it has product information, tutorials, discussion groups and even basic information on colour and colour management. Other nice examples are Flint Ink and Kiwo (screen printing material).", according to Hagen. So there is no need for GraphicBrain.com to create new content. It just shows users the way to the information that is already out there. This is of course a win/win situation for everybody: the creator of content will get more visitors; the user will find what he is looking for. And GraphicBrain.com has no need for a large staff to create content. "We encourage publishers to cooperate with GraphicBrain.com. We have the ability built-in to list documents in a secured way. So users will be able to retrieve e.g. magazine articles, but they can't read them. With the extra metadata (date, name and web site), they can either look in their own paper archive of the magazine or contact the publisher to buy a back issue.", explains Hagen. Quality first "The quality of the information in GraphicBrain.com is very important to us. Before a new information source, e.g. a web site, is entered, it's checked by our people.", tells Hagen. This is of course a big advantage for the user. He knows that the information he will retrieve is relevant and has a certain quality level. The fact that VIGC uses GraphicBrian.com on a daily basis for their own jobs is a proof of its capabilities. It also makes it future proof: "GraphicBrain.com is not really a dot com. We don't want to become zillionaires in a blink of an eye with our system. It's a tool we have developed for ourselves and we will keep using it for the information and consulting services we provide to our clients. So we need to update it frequently and keep it running. And everybody can take advantage of that." says Hagen. Web pages with press releases are in fact checked on a daily basis. "Searching in GraphicBrain.com is a little bit different from what we're used to. It happens in two steps.", explains Hagen. Millions of hits are not possible in GraphicBrain.com. The maximum number of results is even limited to 250. But if you open a document, you will get a list of suggestions of other documents that cover the same topic. This is a way to 'refine' your search and it improves the performance a lot. It also avoids the lengthy result lists you see with other search engines. A nice feature is that a user can specify which kind of information he is looking for: e.g. magazine articles, white papers, product information, research reports, messages from discussion groups. More than a search engine The search feature is only a part of GraphicBrain.com. It has also advanced features like personal agents, e-mail alerting and virtual networks. "The nicest feature is maybe what we call 'This week's special'. When you're logged on, GraphicBrain.com keeps track of all your searches and creates a personal profile. 'This week's special' is a list of documents which match your profile. So it's really a personalized overview.", explains Hagen GraphicBrain.com also offers some interesting possibilities to companies and organizations. They can create a 'network' inside GraphicBrain.com. Users can indicate that an agent is only visible to users within the same network. These virtual communities facilitate the information exchange between people. GraphicBrain.com even offers the possibility to attribute a document to a network: in that case it is only retrievable to members of that network. Free services / paid services Not everything in GraphicBrain.com will be for free. Anonymous users will be able to retrieve all the information, but they can only click through to websites of 'commercial' companies, i.e. the developers of technology. For all the other information sources, they will see the abstract, and - when applicable - the copyright holder, but they can't click through. The personal features (agents, e-mail, ...) are reserved for registered users. The fee is only a minor 25 Euro per person per year. Cutting edge technology: Autonomy and MediaMine GraphicBrain.com is built with cutting edge technology. The 'brain' behind GraphicBrain.com is the knowledge management software of Autonomy. This was chosen because it is really powerful. Autonomy doesn't work with the familiar text based searches: it analyses the text and derives the ideas, the concepts. It is also based on neural network technology and it's self-adaptive, e.g. the personal agents can be trained. The power is immediately visible when a search is launched. The result list contains real summaries, up to 10 sentences long and based upon the search! This means that whenever a large document is found, e.g. a pdf of 40 pages, you will only get a summary of those pages that cover the topic that the user is looking for. Another advantage is that you can enter really complex queries. You can even cut / paste a paragraph into the search field. GraphicBrain.com will analyse this and give similar documents. The asset management system is from MediaMine, who also did the implementation. MediaMine is already for some years working with xml-databases and java to offer real platform independent solutions. And it's of course future proof.




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