Relational databases and search engines don’t “marry” easily, which can lead some people to think to two can’t work in tandem. However, that doesn’t mean that relational databases don’t matter for search engines. While difficult, there are ways that can allow you to take advantage of relational databases through your search engine solution.
Why is a Relational Database Beneficial for Search Engine Software?
Most recent DBMSs are based on the relational data model, which is great for handling complicated queries and database operations. The fundamental organizational structure for data in the relational model involves something called a relation, which is a two-dimensional table made up of rows and columns that stores data about entities. These entities are objects or events. For example, a healthcare organization could list patients, doctors, insurance carriers, and services as entities that require data collection.
Relational columns represent specific data characteristics, such as specific attributes or data items patient names, home addresses, and other details. The rows signify records or occurrences. In our medical example, these could be services or actions completed by doctor, patients, and other similar data items. Every record in a given table is unique, which allows relational search to pinpoint these exact rows and make it easier for people to access their information.
Thanks to these qualities, relational databases offer many advantages that can improve the overall quality of search results. They help enable better sorting and filtering options, such as being able to search for results based on product color, manufacturer, or other specific details. It also allows the search to see past basic text when pulling these results. For example, a normal search for red shoes may lead Red Wing boots to appear simply because of the name. With a relational database, the color and manufacturer are separate attributes, which allows for more accurate results based on intent on not basic text.
How Relational Databases Can Benefit Search Engine Software
In a basic sense, databases serve as electronic rolodexes while search engines act as the index of a book. In other words, a good database houses all your information while a search engine can access information within that database. The challenge here is that relational search needs to properly and thoroughly crawl a wide variety of data sources, understand the relationships between them, and provide accurate, relevant results.
Another challenge is that databases can store and retrieve a lot of structured data, but search engines typically query unstructured text. As a result, it’s difficult to properly design a relational database for search, but it’s immensely valuable when done right.
That’s where Thunderstone can help. Our Texis search software is a database management system (DBMS) which follows the relational database model and addresses any inclusion of narrative full text. Because Texis is based on the versatility of open standard SQL, it can address complicated search requirements. It also serves as an "intelligent agent," allowing users to quickly and easily access complicated information, allowing you to take full advantage of complicated relational databases without it harming your ability to search within your organization.
Complicated isn’t a bad thing when you have the right solution. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert about how we can help you harness the benefits of relational search for your organization.