Yell.com pushes local business search

The famous directory uses emerging data mining tools to add location-based searches.

Yell on an iPhone

Yell.com, the online directories business, is mining its unstructured data to help consumers find local businesses.

The company has installed new search servers to scan through unstructured information to speed up searches of its business listings.

Yell.com is currently using the search servers for its web-based directories and will use it to run its mobile channels from January.

The company picked the search technology from vendor MarkLogic after an evaluation process. Alternatives considered included the open source tool Lucene, according to Daniel Booth, search development manager for Yell in the UK.

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"MarkLogic has given us more flexibility in search and product development, enabling Yell.com to evolve to meet the changing needs of both advertisers and consumers," said Booth.

"We have been able to hit site performance targets as well as introducing new features especially in geo-spatial search."

According to John Pomeroy, vice president for Europe at MarkLogic, technologies that can scan through unstructured data - rather than relying on relational databases - are growing in importance due to their flexibility and speed of deployment.

MarkLogic's search server can scan through any XML document, said Pomeroy, removing the need for data owners to add metadata to documents or copy them to a content or knowledge management system.

In some cases, customers were able to reduce the number of servers used for data mining significantly - in one case from 35 to just three.

The technology is gaining ground in science and medicine as well as in publishing. MarkLogic provides the technology behind with Wiley Custom Select, a custom publishing tool for academic course texts, and recently won a deal with Kopinor, which manages copyright for the publishing arms across Norway's universities.

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Gartner, the research firm, argued in a recent report businesses should invest more in data management.

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