The impact of subject indexes on semantic indeterminacy in enterprise document retrieval

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Ample evidence exists to support the conclusion that enterprise search is failing its users. This failure is costing corporate America billions of dollars every year. Most enterprise search engines are built using web search engines as their foundations. These search

Ample evidence exists to support the conclusion that enterprise search is failing its users. This failure is costing corporate America billions of dollars every year. Most enterprise search engines are built using web search engines as their foundations. These search engines are optimized for web use and are inadequate when used inside the firewall. Without the ability to use popularity-based measures for ranking documents returned to the searcher, these search engines must rely on full-text search technologies. The Information Science literature explains why full-text search, by itself, fails to adequately discriminate relevant from irrelevant documents. This failure in discrimination results in far too many documents being returned to the searcher, which causes enterprise searchers to abandon their searches in favor of re-creating the documents or information they seek. This dissertation describes and evaluates a potential solution to the problem of failed enterprise search derived from the Information Science literature: subject-aided search. In subject-aided search, full-text search is augmented with a search of subject metadata coded into each document based upon a hierarchically structured subject index. Using the Design Science methodology, this dissertation develops and evaluates three IT artifacts in the search for a solution to the wicked problem of enterprise search failure.