Sentence analysis: Netbase’s software can identify treatments used for certain diseases and directs a user to relevant excerpts from documents.
Spier adds that Netbase has worked for five years to develop an algorithm that can search through millions of documents looking for the sorts of phrases that suggest that a sentence might be interesting and relevant.
The Content Intelligence platform is the technology behind a search system called illumin8, offered by the publishing company Elsevier. That product uses Netbase’s software to search through Web content and technical papers published by Elsevier. In response to a user’s query, illumin8 lists the key researchers involved with a topic, companies that have created related products, and potential customers for applications of the technology.
Colby Ellis, CEO of Elsevier’s engineering and technology group, says that the company hired Netbase because it wanted to build a tool that could make its content more accessible. Basic searches pull up lists of papers, which can be hard for a user to sort through. “Adding a technology that helps people discover what’s actually in the content without having to read it all is an extremely valuable time-saver,” Ellis says.
Susan Feldman, an IDC analyst who studies search technologies, says that Netbase’s ability to deal with massive amounts of information on the Web could prove valuable. “Natural-language processing has always been constrained by having to do so much processing ahead of time in order to deal with a lot of information,” Feldman says.
Spier says that this year, Netbase will focus on selling its platform to companies that offer health-care-related searches, but he stresses that it could easily be expanded to other subject areas.