Natural Language Search

Natural Language Search (Q-go�s Intuitive Website Search) allows website visitors to ask questions in their own words and helps to find answers easily by showing only relevant results. Its Natural Language search engine understands the similarity between questions that use different wording (�Check my cash� and �What is the balance of my bank account?�) but also knows the difference in meaning between sentences with the same words (�Check my cash� versus �Cash my check�). Based on this understanding, Q-go�s search engine can determine which answers are really relevant, and instead of returning thousands of hits, it will only show a handful of relevant results. To achieve those goals, an index of so called model questions is maintained inside the Q-go environment. Natural Language Search will allow content editors to create those model questions directly inside SDL Tridion when they are maintaining the web content in the SDL Tridion component. This is a great productivity boost since it eliminates a lot of paper or email procedures to communicate changes in web content. The automatic synchronization of Q-go with the publication mechanism of SDL Tridion will ensure that both systems are always in sync.

General approach

Components are the main content building blocks in SDL Tridion. They form the basis for building a website from a content point of view. In Q-go�s view of the world, an SDL Tridion content component is the answer to questions that website visitors might ask. An SDL Tridion component is therefore the answer to one or more Q-go model questions.

It is only logical to provide content editors in SDL Tridion with direct visibility of the model questions related to that content. They are the best judge from a content point of view if the questions match the content. They should also have the option to create new model questions, or at least make a suggestion for new model questions. This is exactly what Natural Language Search does.

Figure 1: the standard component maintenance window; notice the additional "Q-go Question" tab.

The screenshot shows the maintenance of a single SDL Tridion content component. On the General tab, the actual content is edited. If you look carefully, you can see that an additional tab has been added to the application: �Q-go Question�. This new tab dynamically appears when the eXtension for Natural Language Search has been installed.

Figure 2: the dynamic Q-go Question tab shows relevant information from the Q-go database directly in the SDL Tridion window.

The Q-go tab dynamically shows the relevant information from the Q-go database. The content editor can review and update, but also add new questions. When pressing the update button, the changes are sent in the background to the Q-go database with SOAP / XML packets. For the content editor, this is transparent and he can deal with all aspects of content management in a single window.

Figure 3: the Q-go reporting is integrated in the SDL Tridion application through a Custom Page.

Besides that, web editors are by the nature of their job interested in the questions that website visitors are asking and how well the website content is suited to answer those questions. Q-go provides excellent reporting on those topics. Those reports are directly accessible through the SDL Tridion �Custom Pages� as soon in figure 3.

Advanced topics

The eXtension for Natural Language Search integrates on several levels. The integration of Q-go Question tab in the maintenance window of a SDL Tridion component and the specific Custom Page to refer to Q-go reporting are the most visible ones.
The eXtension has, however, additional levels of integration. It also integrates into the event system to synchronize with the SDL Tridion publication system: whenever a SDL Tridion component gets published to the live system, the model question will automatically be marked for publication as well. And the other way round, when content gets unpublished in SDL Tridion, the model questions are marked as inactive as well. This will greatly improve the synchronization between web content and search function.
Another advanced feature of the eXtension concerns the blue printing structure of SDL Tridion. The eXtension can map every publication to a different combination of Q-go database and siteref. This structure enables you to define different answers for the same question, depending on the web site where the question was asked. This is very important for companies that have multiple marketing brands for the same base products. The eXtension even understand that adding a model question in the top of the hierarchy can result in adding model questions to components in lower parts of the blue print hierarchy.


A full installation set can be obtained free of charge from your Q-go account manager. SDL Tridion users that are not yet a Q-go customer can contact Q-go at +31.20.5313800 or

License agreement
Download package
:    Q-go,  Intuitive website search,  natural language search,  search
:   1.0
:   No

About the Author
Jeroen van der Heijden

Very experienced software development manager. Managed overseas development organizations in both US, Europe, India and Malaysia. Technically experienced, but also good communicator and motivator. Resolved serious support incidents (both on customer and internal level). Technical experience in all Microsoft technologies (among others ASP.NET, VB.NET, SQL Server, IIS) but also in Java, XML and SyncML.


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