Better Extraction from Text Towards Enhanced Retrieval

Intelligence Value

The BETTER program aims to dramatically compress the information discovery cycle for Intelligence Community analysts by designing systems that extract personalized, mission-relevant semantic information from text and leverage this information to substantially improve search capabilities.


Massive volumes of multilingual, unstructured text present an overwhelming challenge for analysts to classify, triage, and examine. Tools and methods are needed to help analysts automatically map entities and events in text documents and use this information to perform rapid search and triage. The BETTER program is leveraging entity and event identification, text search, and human-in-the-loop computation to create technologies that enable analysts to extract and retrieve highly-detailed, personalized knowledge across diverse domains and languages. BETTER’s new tools and methods will also automatically tag incoming information, according to the analysts’ pre-determined knowledge, and broaden the search criteria based on previously identified entities, events and relationships between entities, as well as human feedback. One objective is to use existing knowledge to compress the discovery cycle. Another objective is to minimize the amount of English training data needed to develop functional systems, with no training data provided in the foreign languages covered.

Information retrieval capabilities will be evaluated by the systems’ ability to return a diverse set of relevant documents in an order that optimizes the user’s experience, as well as identify the critical events and entities in them. Systems incorporate human feedback to drive system personalization. BETTER was launched in October 2019 and is a 42-month long program.

Related Publications

To access BETTER program-related publications, please visit Google Scholar.


Contact Information

Program Manager

Dr. Carl Rubino


Contracting Office Address

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

Washington, DC 20511

Program Manager

Dr. Timothy McKinnon

Contracting Office Address

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

Washington, DC 20511

Research Area(s)

Human language technology, Information extraction, Information retrieval, Machine learning , Natural language processing

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)

Link(s) to BAA


Solicitation Status


Proposers' Day Date

March 29, 2018

BAA Release Date

July 6, 2018

BAA Question Period

July 6, 2018 — August 10, 2018

Proposal Due Date

Friday, 28 September 2018

Program Summary

Testing and Evaluation Partners

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

Prime Performers

  • Raytheon BBN Technologies
  • Brown University
  • University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute
  • Johns Hopkins University