Knowledge Mining with Azure Search

Kevin Tupper

Recently, Uche Adegbite and I had the opportunity to discuss Knowledge Mining with Azure Search at the Microsoft Azure Government DC Meetup. In our presentation we demonstrated how to use Cognitive Search to take your knowledge discovery capabilities to the next level. This brief post is a follow-up to our presentation where I make the distinction between Azure Search and Cognitive Search, and point you to resources that will teach you how to create an advanced knowledge mining solution for your organization.

On occasion you may hear people use Azure Search and Cognitive Search interchangeably. While I’ve done so at times as well, it’s important to recognize that there’s a distinction between the two.

Azure Search is a search-as-a-service cloud solution that gives developers APIs and tools for adding a rich search experience over private, heterogenous content in web, mobile, and enterprise applications. Query execution is over a user-defined index.

Cognitive Search is an AI feature in Azure Search. It’s how we extract text from images, blobs, and other unstructured data sources – enriching the content to make it more searchable in an Azure Search index. Extraction and enrichment are implemented through cognitive skills attached to an indexing pipeline.

AI enrichments are supported in the following ways:

  • Natural language processing skills include entity recognitionlanguage detectionkey phrase extraction, text manipulation, and sentiment detection. With these skills, unstructured text can assume new forms, mapped as searchable and filterable fields in an index.
  • Image processing skills include Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and identification of visual features, such as facial detection, image interpretation, image recognition (famous people and landmarks) or attributes like colors or image orientation. You can create text-representations of image content, searchable using all the query capabilities of Azure Search.

What resources are available to help me begin building an advanced knowledge mining solution?

There are four free resources that Microsoft has created to help you learn to build an advanced knowledge mining solution.

Knowledge Mining Bootcamp

The first resource is the Knowledge Mining Bootcamp. This is a two-day course in which you create an enterprise search solution by applying knowledge mining to business documents like contracts, memos, presentations and images. You will use Microsoft Azure AI technology to extract insights from unstructured data and expose the results in a Bot interface.

Microsoft AI Airlift: Intelligent Apps & Agents + Knowledge Mining

As a supplement to the Knowledge Mining Bootcamp, consider the Microsoft AI Airlift for Intelligent Apps & Agents + Knowledge Mining. It is similar in structure to the bootcamp but is covered as a three-day course instead of two days and gives more attention to some of the cognitive services and bot building skills.

Knowledge Mining Solution Accelerator Guide

The third resource is our Knowledge Mining Solution Accelerator. This accelerator was built to provide developers with all of the resources needed to quickly build an initial Knowledge Mining prototype with Azure Cognitive Search. Use this accelerator to jump start your development efforts with your own data or as a learning tool to better understand how Cognitive Search can be leveraged for the unique needs of your business.

Azure Search & Cognitive Search Documentation

Lastly, I refer you to documentation for Azure Search and Cognitive Search. This is where you can find the latest tutorials, concepts, and how-to guides for everything related to building an advanced knowledge mining solution.

Need more help on building an advanced knowledge mining solution?

Are you a federal government agency that needs help with knowledge mining? Reach out to me directly and I can put you in touch with the right partner or our team can come alongside your team and help you accelerate your knowledge and development in various ways.

Also, I invite you to watch our presentation on YouTube and join the Microsoft Azure Government DC user community at future meetups to engage and learn about the latest in government cloud innovation.


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