Effective ZING searches using another language than English

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How to facilitate effective searches on sentence fragments or even whole sentences in ServiceNow in another language then English?

Within ServiceNow there is a feature called “Zing Text Search” that is used a lot without you realizing. Zing is the text indexing and search engine that performs all searches in ServiceNow.

In an out-of-the-box environment or an environment where most text is written in English, text searching gives you a very accurate and limited list of results.

What about environments where most input text is registered in for example the Dutch language or a combination of English and Dutch?
You probably noticed that a text search in your Dutch or Dutch/English orientated environment is much less effective and produces a huge list of results.

Why is that? For an effective search on sentence fragments or even whole sentences the Zing Text Search engine relies on a table containing stop words. Out-of-the-box ServiceNow only supplies an English stop word list even when the Dutch localisation is activated.

Stop words are query terms that will be thrown out, ie. the junk or noise words like “a” and “the”. If you set good stop words, your users can search on sentence fragments or even whole sentences, and only the important words will get looked up. For example, “the book” could search for just “book”, “What is a carburetor?” could search for just “carburetor”, and “Tell me about the history of the presidency” could search for just “history” and “presidency”. It’s up to you.

ServiceNow let’s you setup your own stop words under System Definition->Text Index Stop Words. Stop words are only a design element because they are a presentation trick and not real natural language parsing, so you shouldn’t mislead your users into thinking that you really understand what they’re saying. But used properly, stop words can be the cornerstone of a very effective text searching. It will help your end users to find more accurate information, which will help them to do their work more effectively.

Whatever your use, stop words are a great feature, so consider what they might do for you.

Click HERE to download a XML containing a mixture of Dutch and English stop words you can easily import into your own environment.

If you have questions you can reach me via email on .img[at].img.

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