Indexing Millions Of Documents…

Indexing Millions Of Documents Using Tika And Atomic Update by Patricia Gorla.

From the post:

On a recent engagement, we were posed with the problem of sorting through 6.5 million foreign patent documents and indexing them into Solr. This totaled about 1 TB of XML text data alone. The full corpus included an additional 5 TB of images to incorporate into the index; this blog post will only cover the text metadata.

Streaming large volumes of data into Solr is nothing new, but this dataset posed a unique challenge: Each patent document’s translation resided in a separate file, and the location of each translation file was unknown at runtime. This meant that for every document processed we wouldn’t know where its match would be. Furthermore, the translations would arrive in batches, to be added as they come. And lastly, the project needed to be open to different languages and different file formats in the future.

Our options for dealing with inconsistent data came down to: cleaning all data and organizing it before processing, or building an ingester robust enough to handle different situations.

We opted for the latter and built an ingester that would process each file individually and index the documents with an atomic update (new in Solr 4). To detect and extract the text metadata we chose Apache Tika. Tika is a document-detection and content-extraction tool useful for parsing information from many different formats.

On the surface Tika offers a simple interface to retrieve data from many sources. Our use case, however, required a deeper extraction of specific data. Using the built-in SAX parser allowed us to push Tika beyond its normal limits, and analyze XML content according to the type of information it contained.

No magic bullet but an interesting use case (patents in multiple languages).

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