Leveraging Unstructured Data to Facilitate Investigative Searches

Christine Le, Acxiom Corporation, Little Rock
Eric Nelson, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


The extensive methods and tools available today have increased the data published and shared immensely. Along with this increase, organizations are now finding themselves with large collections of unstructured data that are available. In many cases, these collections of unstructured data, such as those stored on websites and Word documents, remain unused or rarely used. As the human eye can only manually sift through so much, there remains untapped value that can be gained by applying knowledge to this data. This paper provides a case study of how the authors used automation to extract and apply structure to data at a correctional facility. The case study demonstrates the significance of overcoming the challenges associated with formally collecting and extracting unstructured data. The work set the foundation for a more complete view of the organization’s data that could be leveraged along with their existing structured and semi-structured data to promote investigative searches.