#ds10: Ultraknowledge – search and visualising the news

Why does search have to produce the same set of results that we always get?

One of Andrew Lyons’, commercial director of Ultraknowledge (UKn), opening questions at the Digital Storytelling conference last week as he talked delegates through UKn’s work with the Independent.

The Independent’s NewsWall, launched in January, is a new way of organising stories and navigating through them. It provides a “visual documentation” of a topic and what’s happened in that subject area. (Similar efforts are being made by Daylife’s technology and the Guardian’s News Zeitgeist.

When searched, the wall will return 30 picture-led stories as results, and figures for dwell time on the wall are proving interesting, said Lyons.

The next part will be the ability to save my search for a topic to my Facebook page and then only have it update when it’s relevant to me.

UKn can now start to produce sponsored NewsWalls around events such as the forthcoming World Cup or general election. It will also be opening up the archive of content available through the Independent’s NewsWall from two years to the full 23 years of its history.

UKn has already worked with other publishers to create more intelligent and visually organised search results pages, such as those produced by an initial search on Metro.co.uk.

But the firm wants to take this a step further, by helping news organisations build topic pages for breaking news items by cleverly tagging and organising archived work, and through its latest – and yet-to-be launched project – StoryTriggers – a way to help journalists and news organisations find new leads and spot breaking news trends.

Sometimes the story that you’re after isn’t on your beat, so how do you find it. But when you’re dealing with news its changing, fast – how do you SEO for this? How do you tag it and relate it to what’s happened in the past and what’s happening in the future? (…) We want to be an innovation lab for publishers.

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