LSI and its Benefits

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a process of indexing and retrieving that is based on the idea that words used in the same or similar context tend to have similar meanings. LSI uses a mathematical technique to determine if there are any patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in a body of text. Then, LSI is able to form a concept of the paragraph or body of text by creating comparisons between the terms that occur in similar contexts.

Latent semantic indexing adds in an important part to the process of document indexing. LSI records which keywords are found in a specific document and in addition it appraises the entire document collection to see if there are any words in common with other pages. Semantically close and semantically distant are terms used with LSI to describe documents with shared words. Semantically close would describe a document that has many words in common while semantically distant would describe one that has few shared words. The LSI algorithm doesn’t understand the meaning of the word though the way it tracks a pattern makes it appear extremely intelligent.

A great advantage of LSI is that it has no idea what the document or word that it is analyzing means; it is a strictly mathematical approach. Therefore it has the capabilities to be used in any document collection, in any language. LSI can be used together with a regular keyword search, or instead of one, with positive results.

It is a useful tool to use when you are conducting a search and want to gather background or research information, because LSI can bring up information that is not necessarily restricted to the typed in keywords. For example, if one were to conduct a search for a said American president, information about occurrences during his presidency, or during the same time period are sure to come up, as well as principles he might have stood for regardless if his name was mentioned in any of the resulting documents. LSI ‘knows’ that there is a connection between the two due to close semantic ties.

LSI also allows the user to compile a list of results of his search and then will search further for results that will closely correlate with the first ones. This allows the user to guide the search engine to the most accurate and useful result.

In addition, it has the ability to act as a customized spam filter. By training a latent semantic algorithm on your inbox and common spam messages, you may be able to tag potentially harmful spam and unnecessary junk mail.

There are many other advantageous uses for LSI, the forerunner of search engine optimization today. It is a worthwhile investment to optimize your website to focus on LSI. As always a quality and updated website will always be the best choice for long-term Internet success.

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