Magazine article Online

Copernic Summarizer

Magazine article Online

Copernic Summarizer

Article excerpt

Information professionals all know that we're competing with Google--that we constantly need to surface the value we provide to our organization and offer additional information services to help our clients and patrons better use the information we provide. Often, that means providing executive summaries and analysis of the material we have gathered; this is particularly important when we are working for executives who are not accustomed to dealing with reports of more than a page or two.

When I first started summarizing my search results and offering some basic synthesis of the information, I found the whole process intimidating. How do I start with 100 pages of material and somehow distill it down to two or three pages? It took some practice, although one thing that helped me spot the key concepts was turning on the output option in the professional online services to highlight the search terms. That way, I could find all the mentions of, say, "market share" and extract that information.

What I really wish I'd had when I started writing these reports was a tool like Copernic's Summarizer [www.copernic.com]. This nifty piece of software takes any page of text--from a Web site, a word-processing document, a PDF file, even an e-mail message--and extracts key sentences into a summary. You can specify whether you want a summary that contains anywhere from 5 to 50 percent of the original text, or you can get a summary of 100,250 or 1,000 words. Summarizer can handle text in English, French, German, and Spanish. A fully functioning evaluation copy can be downloaded and used for 30 days; the software can be purchased for $59.95.

Summarizer quietly sits in a toolbar at the bottom of your screen to be called upon when needed--that is, when you have an article, report, or Web page you'd like to have summarized. Click the Summarize button, point it to the URL, file, or document you want summarized, and you'll see a new window with the key concepts in a column on the left and the summary on the right. You can do some editing of the summary while still within Summarizer, including deleting sentences and changing the quantity of text to be included (by changing the word count or percentage of the text to be included in the summary). Then you export the summary into a word-processing document or e-mail message, insert any text you want to add to the summary, and you're done. …

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