Doug Turnbull, Test Driven Relevancy – How to Work with Content Experts to Optimize and Maintain Search Relevancy

Getting good search results is hard; maintaining good relevancy is even harder. Fixing one problem can easily create many others. Without good tools to measure the impact of relevancy changes, there’s no way to know if the “fix” that you’ve developed will cause relevancy problems with other queries. Ideally, much like we have unit tests for code to detect when bugs are introduced, we would like to create ways to measure changes in relevancy.

This is exactly what we’ve done at OpenSource Connections. We’ve developed a tool, Quepid, that allows us to work with content experts to define metrics for search quality. Once defined, we can instantly measure the impact of modifying our relevancy strategy, allowing us to iterate quickly on very difficult relevancy problems. Get an in depth look at the tools we use to not only search a relevancy problem – but to make sure it stays solved!

Doug Turnbull is a Solr/Elasticsearch consultant for OpenSource Connections. He wrote Relevant Search, the guide to building smarter, contextually aware, and personalized search applications. Doug loves building tools to help with search relevancy, including Quepid, Splainer and Elyzer.

René Kriegler, Managing Search Relevancy in Solr using the Querqy open source library

Solr provides a number of features, like synonym files and the query elevation component, to manage search relevancy. However, Solr still cannot completely keep up with some of the commercial search software products in this field. For example, moving documents that contain a certain, query-dependent term to the top/bottom of the search result list, query-dependent filters, and query-time synonyms are common search management features of commercial search solutions but they are either missing or problematic in Solr.

The Querqy library was created to overcome these problems in the context of migrating an e-commerce search application from a commercial search engine to Solr. While Querqy has been developed with Solr in mind, its core - a query rewriting framework - could also be applied to other Java-based search engines.

René Kriegler has worked as a search consultant for ten years, mainly focussing on Solr/Lucene-based solutions for clients in Germany and abroad. He has a background in software development and linguistics. René maintains the Querqy open source library.