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QB and semantic search (vs keyword based search)

  • 1.  QB and semantic search (vs keyword based search)

    Posted 01-31-2021 16:47
    Hello all

    Happy New Years!

    Even so i am not longer involved with QB support I am still interested of what QB can do. For instance in our company our service databases has 70K repairs cases (problems/solutions pairs) When we first started using QB back in 2006 we could not imagine having so many cases to search! But it is becoming a big issue. To the point where our engineers are less and less incline to search our QB to support their daily job which is to troubleshoot our customers instruments. The reason is even a targeted search returns 100's cases which need be look at manually to find what they looking for. Worst if they don't enter the correct term (misspelling) because they could miss the correct tool diagnoses that could have help them. That is why searching a large corpus of text (text fields...problem/solution) is not doable anymore. Our QB is gold mine but we need a better shovel :)

    Anyway I have been looking at machine learning and NLP (for instance semantic search) to try improve our QB database search. Obviously the current "keyword" based search that QB is using is no longer working for us. I think using advanced NLP tool could help.

    I am curious if anybody here has looked into semantic search? Or at least at more advance search methods. I think it is a big problem when you are dealing with free text inputs and have huge number of records. My hope of course is that QB will look into it and propose and integrated solution. Rather than us coming up with our solutions since this will means extracting our data and then use an external advance search process. It won't be seamless anymore I guess.

    Will love to get the community ideas/though about this. Also, finding out if I am the only person who find the current search feature lacking when it comes to search for a large text corpus.

    Thank you for your time.


    Mohamed Bennouf

  • 2.  RE: QB and semantic search (vs keyword based search)

    Posted 01-31-2021 17:16
    I do not have an answer for the misspelling issue, but I have two suggestions.  The filter box does supports the use of the words AND as well as OR (in upper case).   Very few users know this.

    But even if you ran a training class for the techs, over time there will be  new techs hired and that knowledge will fade away.  It is also confusing how to use the OR as well as the AND in that filter box at the same time.

    Another approach would be to make a form to fill out which will have fields to enter for the search criteria clearly labeled as to if they will be treated as an AND or and OR filter.  

    Say 5 fields for "Must contain ALL of these""
    say 5 fields for "Must contain ANY of these" or leave blank.

    If you have a table of users where the Key field is the Userid, the users search terms entered on that form can be lookup down to the data base and a formula field can evaluate if the record qualifies. The reference field in the database table will be [Current User] with a formula of User().

    The report Link of qualifying records can be shown as an embedded report on the user's search terms record, upon saving their record and getting back to View mode.

    I bet that relatively simply enhancement would help a lot and be fully practical quickly.

    Mark Shnier (YQC)
    Quick Base Solution Provider
    Your Quick Base Coach

  • 3.  RE: QB and semantic search (vs keyword based search)

    Posted 01-31-2021 20:59
    Hello Mark

    Thank you SO much for your response. I really appreciate that you always answer so fast! Love it!

    Yes you are 100% that not many people know about OR and AND. Even me only discovered only few years ago!

    But as you said, every time we have an new employee we have to train them over and over. Unfortunately even with the addition of AND and OR keys, we still have to deal with people describing things differently (or I said misspelling words) Only semantic search can deal with this type of issues.

    I will look into your other suggestions. That may work but I am hoping that QB will come up with a semantic search tool to deal with huge text corpus. Of course I am sure most people may use QB differently from us. We do use QB to collect field repairs but also allow our FSE to request parts and send notification when the parts ships. We used QB for many many processes in our business. Search is mostly to bring even more values since it will help our FSE’s to speed up troubleshooting of the customers tools in the field.

    In any event, thank you Mark! QB community is lucky to have you around!