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Xerox Researchers Unveil New Document Management Technology

Scientists at Xerox's Research Centre Europe in Grenoble, France, announced Thursday that they've come up with new classification software clever enough to "read" an electronic document, decide how it should be classified, then automatically route it to the right person's e-mail address or an online document management system.

The unnamed technology -- Xerox refers to it as a categorizing tool -- is available now, and can be licensed by enterprises that want to incorporate it into existing document systems, as well as by third-party software vendors in the document management, customer relationship management, and information retrieval markets, said Xerox.

The Xerox tool, said Eric Gaussier, a researcher at the Grenoble facility, uses a hierarchical model able to understand the dependency between multiple categories, unlike so-called "flat" search and retrieval tools which treat each category separately. Biochemistry and biophysics, for example, are closely related -- and so-treated by Xerox's solution -- while flat retrieval systems would consider them separate and thus not cross-link documents in each.

The result of this approach, he said, is faster, better searches, and a virtual hands-off approach to digesting and disseminating digital documents throughout an organization.

In the pilot program that Xerox ran with the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, an academic nonprofit foundation, "their traditional search engines for medical articles often presented the most pertinent documents at the end of the list," said Gaussier. "Using our software, they were much more successful at finding what they were looking for, and typically had to browse less than half of the list to find the information."

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