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Cabinet Office looks at automating document analysis


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Cabinet Office is running a project to automate the analysis of digital documents in central government.

It is preparing to run discovery and alpha stages under the Better Information for Better Government programme – determined by a review published in 2017 – on improving government management of digital information.

The department has published a procurement notice for support in the project, saying it is expected to run over 18 weeks beginning in January.

It has identified the need to reduce the time and effort spent in accessing analysing the high volume of digital documents created or received by public servants. It wants to explore how the process can be highly automated to reduce the effort and make it more likely that government will be able to make use of valuable information.

Among the priorities are to help public servants find relevant information more easily through content and metadata, support knowledge and information management specialists in identifying types of files, and help researchers go through heavy volumes of documents more easily.

A related alpha project has already begun on using natural language processing and machine learning to automate the management of emails. There has also been some pre-discovery research identifying potential use cases and user needs, including the development of related open source software.

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