ArangoSearch Analyzers

Analyzers parse input values and transform them into sets of sub-values, for example by breaking up text into words. If they are used in Views then the documents’ attribute values of the linked collections are used as input and additional metadata is produced internally. The data can then be used for searching and sorting to provide the most appropriate match for the specified conditions, similar to queries to web search engines.

Analyzers can be used on their own to tokenize and normalize strings in AQL queries with the TOKENS() function.

How Analyzers process values depends on their type and configuration. The configuration is comprised of type-specific properties and list of features. The features control the additional metadata to be generated to augment View indexes, to be able to rank results for instance.

Analyzers can be managed via an HTTP API and through a JavaScript module.

Value Handling

While most of the Analyzer functionality is geared towards text processing, there is no restriction to strings as input data type when using them through Views – your documents could have attributes of any data type after all.

Strings are processed according to the Analyzer, whereas other primitive data types (null, true, false, numbers) are added to the index unchanged.

The elements of arrays are unpacked, processed and indexed individually, regardless of the level of nesting. That is, strings are processed by the configured Analyzer(s) and other primitive values are indexed as-is.

Objects, including any nested objects, are indexed as sub-attributes. This applies to sub-objects as well as objects in arrays. Only primitive values are added to the index, arrays and objects can not be searched for.

Also see:

  • SEARCH operation on how to query indexed values such as numbers and nested values
  • ArangoSearch Views for details about how compound data types (arrays, objects) get indexed

Analyzer Names

Each Analyzer has a name for identification with the following naming conventions:

  • The name must only consist of the letters a to z (both in lower and upper case), the numbers 0 to 9, underscore (_) and dash (-) symbols. This also means that any non-ASCII names are not allowed.
  • It must always start with a letter.
  • The maximum allowed length of a name is 254 bytes.
  • Analyzer names are case-sensitive.

Custom Analyzers are stored per database, in a system collection _analyzers. The names get prefixed with the database name and two colons, e.g. myDB::customAnalyzer.This does not apply to the globally available built-in Analyzers, which are not stored in an _analyzers collection.

Custom Analyzers stored in the _system database can be referenced in queries against other databases by specifying the prefixed name, e.g. _system::customGlobalAnalyzer. Analyzers stored in databases other than _system can not be accessed from within another database however.

Analyzer Types

The currently implemented Analyzer types are:

  • identity: treat value as atom (no transformation)
  • delimiter: split into tokens at user-defined character
  • stem: apply stemming to the value as a whole
  • norm: apply normalization to the value as a whole
  • ngram: create n-grams from value with user-defined lengths
  • text: tokenize into words, optionally with stemming, normalization, stop-word filtering and edge n-gram generation

Available normalizations are case conversion and accent removal (conversion of characters with diacritical marks to the base characters).

Feature / Analyzer Identity N-gram Delimiter Stem Norm Text
Tokenization No No (Yes) No No Yes
Stemming No No No Yes No Yes
Normalization No No No No Yes Yes
N-grams No Yes No No No (Yes)

Analyzer Properties

The valid attributes/values for the properties are dependant on what type is used. For example, the delimiter type needs to know the desired delimiting character(s), whereas the text type takes a locale, stop-words and more.

Identity

An Analyzer applying the identity transformation, i.e. returning the input unmodified.

It does not support any properties and will ignore them.

Delimiter

An Analyzer capable of breaking up delimited text into tokens as per RFC 4180 (without starting new records on newlines).

The properties allowed for this Analyzer are an object with the following attributes:

  • delimiter (string): the delimiting character(s)

Stem

An Analyzer capable of stemming the text, treated as a single token, for supported languages.

The properties allowed for this Analyzer are an object with the following attributes:

  • locale (string): a locale in the format language[_COUNTRY][.encoding][@variant] (square brackets denote optional parts), e.g. "de.utf-8" or "en_US.utf-8". Only UTF-8 encoding is meaningful in ArangoDB. Also see Supported Languages.

Norm

An Analyzer capable of normalizing the text, treated as a single token, i.e. case conversion and accent removal.

The properties allowed for this Analyzer are an object with the following attributes:

  • locale (string): a locale in the format language[_COUNTRY][.encoding][@variant] (square brackets denote optional parts), e.g. "de.utf-8" or "en_US.utf-8". Only UTF-8 encoding is meaningful in ArangoDB. Also see Supported Languages.
  • accent (boolean, optional):
    • true to preserve accented characters (default)
    • false to convert accented characters to their base characters
  • case (string, optional):
    • "lower" to convert to all lower-case characters
    • "upper" to convert to all upper-case characters
    • "none" to not change character case (default)

N-gram

An Analyzer capable of producing n-grams from a specified input in a range of min..max (inclusive). Can optionally preserve the original input.

This Analyzer type can be used to implement substring matching. Note that it slices the input based on bytes and not characters by default (streamType). The “binary” mode supports single-byte characters only; multi-byte UTF-8 characters raise an Invalid UTF-8 sequence query error.

The properties allowed for this Analyzer are an object with the following attributes:

  • min (number): unsigned integer for the minimum n-gram length
  • max (number): unsigned integer for the maximum n-gram length
  • preserveOriginal (boolean):
    • true to include the original value as well
    • false to produce the n-grams based on min and max only
  • startMarker (string, optional): this value will be prepended to n-grams which include the beginning of the input. Can be used for matching prefixes. Choose a character or sequence as marker which does not occur in the input.
  • endMarker (string, optional): this value will be appended to n-grams which include the end of the input. Can be used for matching suffixes. Choose a character or sequence as marker which does not occur in the input.
  • streamType (string, optional): type of the input stream
    • "binary": one byte is considered as one character (default)
    • "utf8": one Unicode codepoint is treated as one character

Examples

With min = 4 and max = 5, the Analyzer will produce the following n-grams for the input string "foobar":

  • "foob"
  • "fooba"
  • "foobar" (if preserveOriginal is enabled)
  • "ooba"
  • "oobar"
  • "obar"

An input string "foo" will not produce any n-gram unless preserveOriginal is enabled, because it is shorter than the min length of 4.

Above example but with startMarker = "^" and endMarker = "$" would produce the following:

  • "^foob"
  • "^fooba"
  • "^foobar" (if preserveOriginal is enabled)
  • "foobar$" (if preserveOriginal is enabled)
  • "ooba"
  • "oobar$"
  • "obar$"

Text

An Analyzer capable of breaking up strings into individual words while also optionally filtering out stop-words, extracting word stems, applying case conversion and accent removal.

The properties allowed for this Analyzer are an object with the following attributes:

  • locale (string): a locale in the format language[_COUNTRY][.encoding][@variant] (square brackets denote optional parts), e.g. "de.utf-8" or "en_US.utf-8". Only UTF-8 encoding is meaningful in ArangoDB. Also see Supported Languages.
  • accent (boolean, optional):
    • true to preserve accented characters
    • false to convert accented characters to their base characters (default)
  • case (string, optional):
    • "lower" to convert to all lower-case characters (default)
    • "upper" to convert to all upper-case characters
    • "none" to not change character case
  • stemming (boolean, optional):
    • true to apply stemming on returned words (default)
    • false to leave the tokenized words as-is
  • edgeNgram (object, optional): if present, then edge n-grams are generated for each token (word). That is, the start of the n-gram is anchored to the beginning of the token, whereas the ngram Analyzer would produce all possible substrings from a single input token (within the defined length restrictions). Edge n-grams can be used to cover word-based auto-completion queries with an index, for which you should set the following other options: accent: false, case: "lower" and most importantly stemming: false.
    • min (number, optional): minimal n-gram length
    • max (number, optional): maximal n-gram length
    • preserveOriginal (boolean, optional): whether to include the original token even if its length is less than min or greater than max
  • stopwords (array, optional): an array of strings with words to omit from result. Default: load words from stopwordsPath. To disable stop-word filtering provide an empty array []. If both stopwords and stopwordsPath are provided then both word sources are combined.
  • stopwordsPath (string, optional): path with a language sub-directory (e.g. en for a locale en_US.utf-8) containing files with words to omit. Each word has to be on a separate line. Everything after the first whitespace character on a line will be ignored and can be used for comments. The files can be named arbitrarily and have any file extension (or none).

    Default: if no path is provided then the value of the environment variable IRESEARCH_TEXT_STOPWORD_PATH is used to determine the path, or if it is undefined then the current working directory is assumed. If the stopwords attribute is provided then no stop-words are loaded from files, unless an explicit stopwordsPath is also provided.

    Note that if the stopwordsPath can not be accessed, is missing language sub-directories or has no files for a language required by an Analyzer, then the creation of a new Analyzer is refused. If such an issue is discovered for an existing Analyzer during startup then the server will abort with a fatal error.

Examples

The built-in text_en Analyzer has stemming enabled (note the word endings):

arangosh> db._query(`RETURN TOKENS("Crazy fast NoSQL-database!", "text_en")`)
Show execution results
Hide execution results
[ 
  [ 
    "crazi", 
    "fast", 
    "nosql", 
    "databas" 
  ] 
]
[object ArangoQueryCursor, count: 1, cached: false, hasMore: false]

You may create a custom Analyzer with the same configuration but with stemming disabled like this:

arangosh> var analyzers = require("@arangodb/analyzers")
arangosh> analyzers.save("text_en_nostem", "text", {
........>   locale: "en.utf-8",
........>   case: "lower",
........>   accent: false,
........>   stemming: false,
........>   stopwords: []
........> }, ["frequency","norm","position"])
arangosh> db._query(`RETURN TOKENS("Crazy fast NoSQL-database!", "text_en_nostem")`)
Show execution results
Hide execution results
{ 
  "name" : "_system::text_en_nostem", 
  "type" : "text", 
  "properties" : { 
    "locale" : "en.utf-8", 
    "case" : "lower", 
    "stopwords" : [ ], 
    "accent" : false, 
    "stemming" : false 
  }, 
  "features" : [ 
    "frequency", 
    "norm", 
    "position" 
  ] 
}
[ 
  [ 
    "crazy", 
    "fast", 
    "nosql", 
    "database" 
  ] 
]
[object ArangoQueryCursor, count: 1, cached: false, hasMore: false]

Custom text Analyzer with the edge n-grams feature and normalization enabled, stemming disabled and "the" defined as stop-word to exclude it:

arangosh> analyzers.save("text_edge_ngrams", "text", {
........>   edgeNgram: { min: 3, max: 8, preserveOriginal: true },
........>   locale: "en.utf-8",
........>   case: "lower",
........>   accent: false,
........>   stemming: false,
........>   stopwords: [ "the" ]
........> }, ["frequency","norm","position"])
arangosh> db._query(`RETURN TOKENS("The quick brown fox jumps over the dogWithAVeryLongName", "text_edge_ngrams")`)
Show execution results
Hide execution results
{ 
  "name" : "_system::text_edge_ngrams", 
  "type" : "text", 
  "properties" : { 
    "locale" : "en.utf-8", 
    "case" : "lower", 
    "stopwords" : [ 
      "the" 
    ], 
    "accent" : false, 
    "stemming" : false, 
    "edgeNgram" : { 
      "min" : 3, 
      "max" : 8, 
      "preserveOriginal" : true 
    } 
  }, 
  "features" : [ 
    "frequency", 
    "norm", 
    "position" 
  ] 
}
[ 
  [ 
    "qui", 
    "quic", 
    "quick", 
    "bro", 
    "brow", 
    "brown", 
    "fox", 
    "jum", 
    "jump", 
    "jumps", 
    "ove", 
    "over", 
    "dog", 
    "dogw", 
    "dogwi", 
    "dogwit", 
    "dogwith", 
    "dogwitha", 
    "dogwithaverylongname" 
  ] 
]
[object ArangoQueryCursor, count: 1, cached: false, hasMore: false]

Analyzer Features

The features of an Analyzer determine what term matching capabilities will be available and as such are only applicable in the context of ArangoSearch Views.

The valid values for the features are dependant on both the capabilities of the underlying type and the query filtering and sorting functions that the result can be used with. For example the text type will produce frequency + norm + position and the PHRASE() AQL function requires frequency + position to be available.

Currently the following features are supported:

  • frequency: how often a term is seen, required for PHRASE()
  • norm: the field normalization factor
  • position: sequentially increasing term position, required for PHRASE(). If present then the frequency feature is also required

Built-in Analyzers

There is a set of built-in Analyzers which are available by default for convenience and backward compatibility. They can not be removed.

The identity Analyzer has no properties and the features frequency and norm. The Analyzers of type text all tokenize strings with stemming enabled, no stopwords configured, accent removal and case conversion to lowercase turned on and the features frequency, norm and position:

Name Type Locale (Language) Case Accent Stemming Stopwords Features
identity identity           ["frequency", "norm"]
text_de text de.utf-8 (German) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_en text en.utf-8 (English) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_es text es.utf-8 (Spanish) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_fi text fi.utf-8 (Finnish) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_fr text fr.utf-8 (French) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_it text it.utf-8 (Italian) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_nl text nl.utf-8 (Dutch) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_no text no.utf-8 (Norwegian) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_pt text pt.utf-8 (Portuguese) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_ru text ru.utf-8 (Russian) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_sv text sv.utf-8 (Swedish) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]
text_zh text zh.utf-8 (Chinese) lower false true [ ] ["frequency", "norm", "position"]

Note that locale, case, accent, stemming and stopwords are Analyzer properties. text_zh does not have actual stemming support for Chinese despite what the property value suggests.

Supported Languages

Analyzers rely on ICU for language-dependent tokenization and normalization. The ICU data file icudtl.dat that ArangoDB ships with contains information for a lot of languages, which are technically all supported.

The alphabetical order of characters is not taken into account by ArangoSearch, i.e. range queries in SEARCH operations against Views will not follow the language rules as per the defined Analyzer locale nor the server language (startup option --default-language)! Also see Known Issues.

Stemming support is provided by Snowball, which supports the following languages:

Language Code
Arabic * ar
Basque * eu
Catalan * ca
Danish * da
Dutch nl
English en
Finnish fi
French fr
German de
Greek * el
Hindi * hi
Hungarian * hu
Indonesian * id
Irish * ga
Italian it
Lithuanian * lt
Nepali * ne
Norwegian no
Portuguese pt
Romanian * ro
Russian ru
Serbian * sr
Spanish es
Swedish sv
Tamil * ta
Turkish * tr

* Introduced in: v3.7.0