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Search Tools Consulting, 1998 – present

I work with organizations to understand their true search needs, help them choose a good engine and iteratively implement the search to high quality and usability. I use information architecture, UX principles, Agile development, relevance tuning, and qualitative and quantitative metrics to  improve ecommerce, site, intranet and informational search.

Expertise

  • Customer and user information analysis, domain expert support, content source input design, crawlers, document data extraction (including Apache Tika), metadata, tokenization, query processing, rules, boosting, synonyms, spelling, auto-suggest, recall/precision, relevance ranking, faceting, grouping, results display elements, user acceptance testing, query log definition, analysis, machine learning and AI training and feature definition.
  • Search Engines – configuration of Apache Solr/Lucene, ElasticSearch, Lucidworks Fusion, Sharepoint Search, Endeca, Attivio, Google Search Appliance (obsolete).
  • Analytics – Kibana, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics (Omniture)
  • Languages – current familiarity with Python (Pandas, BeautifulSoup, Jupyter), JavaScript, JSON, Excel & other spreadsheets.  In the past I’ve used (and documented) Java, Perl, C, C++, Pascal, SQL.

Projects

  • Rhapsody/Napster – analyzed music search analysis (ElasticSearch).
  • Netflix – Performed extensive search log analysis, user interface design and wireframes for search improvements
  • United States Library of Congress – analyzed future search requirements, metadata integration, and user experience improvements.
  • Amgen – Participated in enterprise search proof of concept and rigorous comparison testing of industry-leading search engines using TREC processes.
  • VeriSign – Ran the search engines on the main public site, international sites, and intranet for several years
  • Hewlett-Packard – Analyzed logs and provided recommendations for improving the public site search, later Intranet search.
  • QwestDex – Performed faceted metadata search RFI, RFP, and recommendation. The entire site was re-designed around this dynamic interaction.
  • Kühl.com – implemented small ecommerce search (Lucidworks Fusion Solr/Lucene).
  • Council of Better Business Bureaus – best practices on query intent.
  • Google – Edited their early Search Appliance (GSA) Reviewer’s Guide.
  • Proctor & Gamble – Advised on intranet search engine selection.
  • Fair, Isaac – Advised on intranet search engine selection
  • Wal-Mart – Advised on commerce search engine selection
  • Salon.com – Analyzed site search, leading to significant improvement in search quality .

Recent Long-term Projects

Lowe’s Home Improvement, Search Quality Consultant 2020

Worked with search team to transfer knowledge, improve analytics, systematize synonym, boost and rules lists for Lucidworks Fusion Solr/Lucene engine with millions of queries per day. With Machine Learning expert, defined new auto-suggest ranking model, worked with project engineers and testers to implement multivariant (multiple A/B) tests and analyze results, leading to an estimated $10M+ improvement in sales.

Lucidworks, Inc. Search Consultant, 2017-18

Worked with Lucidworks Fusion search, including crawling, indexing, relevance tuning, machine learning Signals, search analytics and Solr. Managed and tuned Intranet search projects with millions of documents on Box and Google Drive. Consulted on the requirements, UI and functionality of a cloud search system. Performed fit-gap analysis and requirements design for a large ecommerce site. Managed the internal project for Search Rules (frequently used by online stores) culminating in a successful version update with extensive user and admin documentation.

Cisco Systems: Search Project Consultant 2016

Analyzed internal search engine, running on Attivio, including crawling, auto-suggest, featured terms, query processing, synonyms, relevance, special results, spelling, machine learning automated query expansion, federated search results, and relevance evaluation. Worked with Agile team, user stories, successful sprints. Prepared monthly search reports. Created requirements for the planned Search Log Analytics workstation. Used Kibana running on Elastic with Timelion analysis techniques. Worked across teams, including offshore engineering and data science to share Kibana discoveries, in order to make improvements on query and click logs, pre-processing, and analysis tools.

Search Technologies: Senior Search Quality Analyst, 2013-2015

Apple Online Store search: Developed search quality metrics and processes for the Apple Online Store, performed analysis on store query performance and worked with engineering on Endeca to implement changes with positive results. Analyzed machine learning for auto-suggest. Created tests on live and test sites using JSON requests, configuration database in Ruby and SQLite. Recruited and led a team of three other analysis to improve quality on international stores. Worked on implementation of search switching and auto-suggest in the worldwide revamp for the Apple.com site covering marcomm materials, Apple products, accessories, and support search.

Worked with Search Technologies consultants and architects to respond to RFPs, create corporate search assessments, analyze data input in CMS XML, SQL and other formats. Recommended search engines including Solr, Google Search Appliance, SharePoint 2013, Elasticsearch, investigated security processes for mixed public/private search engine. Presented three hour training sessions on Search Quality for at company off-site meetings during both 2014 and 2015.

Kaiser-Permanente: Search Analyst, 2011-2012

Worked with a small team to implement Enterprise Search across the entire Kaiser intranet, about 270,000 pages on several dozen web servers for 160,000 employees. Related projects included managing the implementation of search on the HR sub-site and an internal best practices site. Helped design and tested crawling, indexing, query parsing, search retrieval, relevance ranking, user interface and reporting, working closely with the IT department. Created search log analytics and reports. The search engine was IBM’s Vivisimo Velocity. I managed API integration with the IBM Web Content Management system using a service-oriented architecture and XML

Staff Positions – Software Development Companies

  • StarNine (Quarterdeck) – Product Manager: Responsible for development and release of complex email and web applications, Web Server documentation. 1996-1998.
  • Metrowerks – User Advocate and Technical Publications Manager: Development tools company, worked with programming tools including compilers and debuggers for the then-new Power PC. Participated in strategy planning, evangelized to and for developer customers, directed a team documenting IDEs, compilers, debuggers and code libraries. 1994-1996
  • Niles Software – Design, Development, Support, Management: Worked with a small team to support, design, manage, and write code for the EndNote bibliography program. 1989-1994.

Education

  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Information (aka iSchool and Library and Information Studies), Master of Arts, \December 1987. University Fellowship, 1986-87; on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, 1998-99.
  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Letters and Sciences, B.A. in Medieval Studies (Individual Major), with Honors, December 1985.