Monthly Archives

January 2015

General tips on searching


In our experience, the following heuristics can be useful for searching:

Have a goal

Before you search, think about what you would like to achieve.  Do you want to find relevant experts?  Companies?  Or papers describing new technologies in detail?  Is your search a unique project or is it a topic that interests you on a continuous basis?  Would you like to be surprised (cf. “try unusual things” below)?  Who else is interested in the results you find, and what would they most likely find interesting (and why)? Continue Reading

What types of sources can mergeflow analyze?


By default, mergeflow analyzes open sources from the web, either via web feeds or via APIs.  By “open source” we mean sources that are not behind a paywall or that require some other form of authorized access.

Some sources provide free access e.g. to teasers or abstracts but not to full content.  In this case we only read the teasers or abstracts, not the full text.  In order to access the full text in these cases, mergeflow users either need a login for the full text, or purchase it on a document-by-document basis. Continue Reading

How to set up alert feeds


You can use alert feeds to get updates on a specific search, without having to run the search manually all the time.  Alert feeds also allow you to get updates from mergeflow searches on your smartphone, for example (via feed reader apps on your smartphone).

For this example, let us consider “miniaturized satellites”.  Miniaturized satellites or nanosatellites are very small, light weight satellites that are much less complex and cheaper to produce and to send into orbit than “traditional” satellites (cf. Continue Reading

How to save a search


If you have a continued interest in a topic, you can save your search.  In order to do this, click on “Save current search”:

Continue Reading

How to use relationship graphs


Relationship graphs in mergeflow show how objects (people, organizations, technologies, etc. identified by mergeflow) relate to each other.  By “relate to each other”, we mean “appear in a common context in the content of a document”.  Here we illustrate how relationship graphs work.

As topics, we selected “named entity recognition”(cf. and “social network analysis” (cf.  As data source, we selected research project descriptions from SBIR, a US government organization that funds research at small businesses (

Our questions then were (1) how companies and experts relate to each other, and (2) whether there are companies or experts who work on both topics (i.e. named entity recognition and social network analysis).

We start off by searching for “named entities” OR “social network analysis” (please click on the screenshot in order to see a larger version):

search-queryThen we group our results by “site”, and select “Company” as tag type:


Clicking on “Open graph” then opens a relationship graph in a new tab:

  • Green nodes in the graph are companies identified by mergeflow.
  • Yellow nodes are our search terms.
  • Node size is a function of the number of documents (e.g. “21st Century Technologies” is mentioned more often than “Aptima”).
  • Edge thickness is a function of the number of common contexts (e.g. “Cymfony” and “named entities” share a common context more often than “Language Weaver” and “named entities”).

Here is a screenshot of the graph; the entity classes menu is expanded already because we want to add “Person” as a further object type:


After adding the “Person” category, the graph looks like this:

company-person-graphThe graph shows, among other things, that companies and experts related to “named entities” are not connected to the ones working on “social network analysis”.

Here is how you can navigate the graph:

  • Use your mouse wheel for zooming in and out
  • Use Strg+F to search in the graph
  • Move the mouse over a node in order to see its adjacent nodes
  • Move the mouse over an edge in order to see its adjacent nodes
  • Click on a node to see documents related to the node
  • Click on an edge to see documents related to both nodes adjacent to the edge
  • Right click on a node in order to remove the node from the graph

For instance, we could use our browser’s standard search (Strg+F) to search for “applied minds” (

search-applied-mindsThen move our mouse over “APPLIED MINDS” to see its adjacent nodes:

node-mouseoverClicking on “APPLIED MINDS” opens a new tab, showing the relevant document:


Clicking on the document’s title then takes us to the source (

applied-minds-sbirOf course, now we could go back to our graph to look at the network of Applied Minds in general.  In order to do this, we first search for “applied minds” in our graph, i.e. click on the green search terms field (cf. red arrow) and replace our original search by “applied minds”:

graph-search-applied-mindsNow “applied minds” is the yellow node because it is our search query:

applied-minds-general-networkThe graph shows that Applied Minds also shares context with Northrop Grumman.  In order to see what this context was, we move our mouse over the edge connecting “applied minds” and “Northrop Grumman”…

applied-minds-northrop-grumman-edge…then click on the edge, which opens the underlying document in a new tab…

app-minds-northr-gr-doc…and, if we are interested, visit the original source (

am-ng-sbir-1The abstract of this project also describes the connection between Applied Minds and Northrop Grumman (cf. yellow highlighting in the text):




What are repositories?


Repositories in mergeflow are collections of internet sources.  By default, mergeflow already provides a range of repositories with high quality content (e.g. scientific journals, research project descriptions, company updates, investor activities).  We at mergeflow constantly maintain and expand these repositories.  More details on our standard repositories (e.g. how you can see their sources) are here: Continue Reading

kimonolabs — getting updates from sites without feeds


Some web sites contain interesting information or updates but do not offer feeds or APIs.  Here we describe how to create a feed for such sites, add the feed to mergeflow as a source, and analyze its content.  We already posted a very short article on this topic a while ago.  Here we go into details. Continue Reading