Yulia Aspinall The Role of Technology in Information Retrieval - FreePint for Biopharma Professionals
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By Yulia Aspinall


Yulia Aspinall examines the importance of technology in assisting users in finding, storing, using & archiving information. She looks at key tools and technologies which make information retrieval more efficient for those in the biopharma sphere, including custom taxonomies, single information repositories and specialist content discovery solutions.


In the highly competitive and rapidly changing biopharmaceutical environment, fast access to information can be critical. Whilst the required information can often be found in the organisation’s internal or external databases, the process of searching for and extracting it can be tedious and time consuming.

This is where the world of technology can come into its own, by assisting users in finding, storing, using and archiving information.

FreePint devotes special attention to information and knowledge management technology, and a number of articles of interest to biopharmaceutical information professionals experiencing information flow and access issues have been published in the past year.

Custom Taxonomies

One such report - Product Review of Comintelli Knowledge XChanger by Libby Trudell - highlights the importance of aggregation tools, in which external and internal data from many sources are gathered into a single repository under a customised taxonomy.

Whilst the creation of a taxonomy reflecting the organisation's specific areas of focus is certainly not unique to Comintelli, one of the product's strengths is the use of the Apache Solr search engine to support formulation of sophisticated queries which automatically classify all content into the taxonomy.

Combining classification with free-text searching enables users to dig into the content in different ways to elicit insights and connections.

Creating a Single Information Repository

Another software provider, Cipher Systems, is reviewed by Sophie Alexander in the report Product Review of Cipher Systems' Knowledge.Works. The company’s Knowledge.Works product acts as a single information repository for all content related to competitive or business intelligence collection and analysis.

It supports all phases of the intelligence cycle from data collection, aggregation, indexing, searching, analysis, reporting and collaboration. This product could help save an organisation time and money by automating the more time-consuming efforts of research analysts.

Content Discovery

Another good example of a tool for enabling workflow automation is InfoNgen. The discovery engine combines the ability to metasearch all or selected internal and external sources of information with flexible tagging and the ability to add or change taxonomies according to the users’ specific requirements.

InfoNgen's content discovery capabilities are used primarily by competitive intelligence and information professionals in the corporate, legal, and financial markets.

Tracking Trends in Real-Time

Digimind is another product worth a mention. The recent Product Review of Digimind Social by Aileen Marshall demonstrates the social media monitoring and analysis abilities of the platform, which lets marketers and analysts discover and analyse trends in real time.

In the earlier review Digimind: Competitive Intelligence Monitoring Software with a Twist, Jan Knight gave an overview of the product’s features which include a streamlined, time-efficient process to search, monitor, manage, analyse and disseminate market and CI information. The back end of the software consists of a set of algorithms that automates this process once a user has taken the time initially to set up the searches and sources.

The take-away message here is that understanding the technical capabilities of the databases and other resources that we use can be just as important to the information professional as understanding the database’s contents and features.

Editor’s Note

The FreePint Topic Series: Making Information Visible runs from January-March 2015. Register your interest now, and you'll also get a free PDF report with selected premium articles when it's published in March.

Gain access to the full archive of FreePint Articles and Reports, plus have the ability to share these resources with anyone else at your organisation. Complete our online form today to start your FreePint Subscription.

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