You've got mail -- somewhere

December 20, 2007

New "smart" email search software from IBM can figure out what you are trying to find, even when you aren't so sure yourself. Its semantic search capabilities allow you to search on concepts and ideas rather than set-in-stone keywords. Made in IBM's research labs, the software is powered by advanced algorithms that interpret incomplete queries and find information such as phone numbers, people, meetings, presentations, documents, and images.

IBM today unveiled powerful “smart” search software to help people find information buried in the vast personal database that e-mail has become by identifying the most relevant information in a search query and extrapolating what the user is trying to find.

Made in IBM’s Research Labs, the software is powered by advanced algorithms that can interpret incomplete queries and find information such as phone numbers, people, meetings, presentations, documents, images and more.

Called IBM OmniFind Personal Email Search (IOPES), the semantic search tool is available at no charge on IBM alphaWorks ( It helps users quickly search and find information -- for example a person’s phone number -- even if the e-mail database does not have the words “phone” and “number” in the text. IOPES also allows users to create, save and share personalized searches for future use.

Available for Lotus Notes, this smart email search tool eliminates the frustration many of us feel when irrelevant search results are returned for a simple text or keyword search. Common search concepts, such as dates, times and phone numbers, are built into the software; additional search parameters, such as meeting requests or specific locations, can be defined and used on the fly without any programming expertise. Such user-defined concepts can be shared between individuals and used to build a more personalized search system.

“With gigabytes of e-mail storage readily available to nearly everyone, e-mail has evolved from a simple communication tool into a personal database where we retain vast amounts of valuable information,” said Douglas Wilson, distinguished engineer and chief technology officer of Lotus. “We continue to deliver better tools to speed and improve personal mailbox search, and OmniFind Personal Email Search illustrates how IBM’s advanced technology delivers the ability to quickly and easily access the precise information we need, exactly when we need it.”

IOPES was created through a collaborative effort spanning IBM Research Labs in Almaden (California), Haifa (Israel) and Delhi (India). The software uses the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA), an open source software framework that helps organizations build new analysis technologies to realize more value from their unstructured information by discovering relationships, identifying patterns, and predicting outcomes. Originally developed by IBM, UIMA is now an open source project at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). UIMA already is used extensively to enable text analysis, extraction and concept search capabilities in other parts of the IBM OmniFind enterprise search portfolio, including OmniFind Enterprise Edition, OmniFind Analytics Edition, and OmniFind Yahoo! Edition.

alphaWorks is an online community that gives the outside world a unique peek into the work underway in IBM's R&D labs by highlighting the company's most cutting-edge work and providing it at no cost. More than 90 of the Fortune 100 companies access alphaWorks technologies.

Prior to release on alphaWorks, IOPES was tested inside IBM by early adopters who participate in the company’s internal Technology Adoption Program.

Source: IBM

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