This tutorial will lead you through a few of the basic commands in Galago. By the end of the tutorial, you will know how to build an index, run some queries, and looked at raw index data.

Getting Started

All commands that you need to type appear in boxes like this:

% ls

I'll assume that you're on some kind of Unix-based system, typing from the command line. These commands also work on Windows; just substitute .\bin\galago.bat for bin/galago.

Enter the directory where you extracted the Galago distribution, then type:

% bin/galago help

You'll see a quick list of the commands that the Galago application will respond to. We'll look at about half of them.

Building an Index

First, we need to build an index:

% bin/galago build /tmp/wiki-small.index /tmp/wiki-small.corpus

When you type this command, a little bit of output should appear about Jetty. The last line will be "Status: http://localhost:00000", where 00000 is some other number. Copy this URL into a web browser.

You should now see a web page that refreshes every 5 seconds, although that's configurable by the Refresh links at the top of the page. On the left side of the page you'll see information about what stage of indexing is occurring right now. The stages have names like 'parsePostings' and 'writeExtents'. If the stage is bright green, that means it's running right now. Gray stages are waiting for something else to finish, and dark green lines are done.

The right side of the screen has counter values, which are updated by the indexer. This lets you know how many documents have been parsed, or how many posting lists have been written.

The index that's built has two sets of posting lists; one set is stemmed with the Porter2 stemmer and the other set is unstemmed. You'll be able to choose the stemmed or the unstemmed lists at query time. No stopwords are removed since Galago has no default stopword list.


Once that's done, it's time to run a query:

bin/galago search /tmp/wiki-small.index /tmp/wiki-small.corpus

Just as before, you'll see a URL in the output marked "Search:". Copy this URL into a web browser. You'll be presented with a typical web search interface.

Type 'testing' into the search box and click 'Search'. You should see a typical page of search results. Clicking the 'debug' button in the middle of the top of the page will show you what Galago parsed from your query, and how it transformed it into something it could execute.

Clicking on a result title takes you to the document content. You won't see images and the formatting may look incorrect, but you should be able to see the raw text of the page clearly.

You've already seen the "/search" and "/document" interfaces. This search service also supports "/xmlsearch" and "/snippet", which might be useful if you want to use Galago search results from another program (or from a language other than Java). See the JavaDocs for SearchWebHandler for more information about these services.

Examining Files

Most Galago files are written by IndexWriter, including corpus files. IndexWriter builds a sorted list of key-value pairs. In the case of corpus files, the keys are document identifier strings. In inverted list files, the keys are term strings. In either case, using the dump-keys command will tell you what keys are in an index file.

First, we'll try looking at a corpus file to see what documents are in there:

bin/galago dump-keys /tmp/wiki-small.corpus

If you'd like to focus on a single document, use the doc command:

bin/galago doc /tmp/wiki-small.corpus 1998_in_spaceflight

Next, let's look at an inverted file to see all the words in the wiki-small.corpus:

bin/galago dump-keys /tmp/wiki-small.index/part/postings

Galago also indexes stemmed versions of each word. Stemming groups similar kinds of words under the same string, so for example, the stem 'run' can represent the words 'run', 'running' or 'runs'. Here's how you can look at the stems:

bin/galago dump-keys /tmp/wiki-small.index/part/stemmedPostings

If you'd like to see all the data in the inverted file, use the dump-index command:

bin/galago dump-index /tmp/wiki-small.index/part/stemmedPostings

The indexer creates lots of temporary files while building an index. You should be able to find these files in your temporary directory. On Unix systems, this is just /tmp. Look for a directory called /tmp/tupleflow00000 (where 00000 is some random number). Inside that directory you should see subdirectories called things like parsePostings-stemmedPostings or parsePostings-documentData.

We can see the content of these files using the dump-connection command:

bin/galago dump-connection /tmp/tupleflow00000/parsePostings-stemmedPostings/0/0

This data looks a lot like the data in the stemmedPostings file. In fact, this is a fraction of that data. Galago combines all the temporary files in parsePostings-stemmedPostings to create the stemmedPostings index.

Batch experiments

This is really just an aside, but if you're used to using information retrieval research you might be wondering how to do experiments. The galago tool has two commands that will help you. The first is batch-search:

bin/galago batch-search --index=/tmp/wiki.small.index --count=100 /tmp/queries

This command runs all the queries stored in /tmp/queries and prints TREC-style output to the screen. The count parameter tells Galago to return no more than 100 results per query. The queries file is formatted just like an Indri query file, if you've used that:

    <text>this is my query</text>

Since those results are batch results, you can use a traditional retrieval evaluation tool like trec_eval to evaluate your results. Galago has an evaluation tool built-in that computes most major metrics plus significance tests.

bin/galago eval /tmp/query.output /tmp/wiki.query.judgments

The previous command evaluates the query output from a batch-search command against human judgments for those queries. The judgments file also needs to be in TREC format.


You're now set to build indexes, search, and look at data. The Galago tool can also run batch query sets, evaluate query results, and make new corpus files.

If you want to extend Galago, look for other tutorials on the website or look over the JavaDocs. If you want more information about the Galago query language, look on the website or in the Search Engines textbook. Galago's query language borrows heavily from the Indri query language, so any tutorials you find on that language may help you.