Amazon Bedrock: Elevating Knowledge Bases with Hybrid Search

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Knowledge management is undergoing a revolution with the rise of large language models (LLMs). Amazon Bedrock is a cloud-based service that leverages LLMs to empower organizations with Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) capabilities. RAG combines information retrieval with text generation, allowing users to ask questions and receive comprehensive answers directly from their company data. However, relying solely on semantic search, a core component of RAG, can have limitations. This article explores the exciting new addition of hybrid search to Knowledge Bases for Amazon Bedrock. It is a feature that significantly enhances the accuracy and effectiveness of information retrieval. 

What is Hybrid Search?

Hybrid search is an approach that integrates various search methodologies to deliver more accurate and comprehensive results. In the context of knowledge management, hybrid search combines different paradigms, such as semantic search, keyword search, and machine learning-based ranking, to enhance the effectiveness of information retrieval. 

The significance of hybrid search lies in its ability to leverage the strengths of different search techniques. By intelligently combining these methodologies, hybrid search can improve search precision, handle complex queries more effectively, and adapt to varying contexts and user intents. 

Benefits of Hybrid Search for Knowledge Bases

The following are the benefits of Hybrid Search for Knowledge Bases.

Increased Accuracy and Relevance

Semantic search excels at understanding the meaning behind words, but it can be limited by its dependence on specific keywords or concepts. Hybrid search bridges this gap by incorporating keyword matching.

This dual approach allows the system to identify documents that might not have the most optimal semantic structure but still contain relevant information based on keywords. The result? A wider range of highly relevant documents are retrieved, leading to more accurate and informative answers for the user. 

Enhanced Flexibility

Knowledge bases often deal with diverse user queries. Some queries might be very specific and use precise keywords, while others might be open-ended, conversational, or use long-tail keywords. Semantic search struggles with these non-standard query formats. Hybrid search, on the other hand, thrives in such scenarios. 

Combining semantic understanding with keyword matching can effectively handle a broader spectrum of queries, regardless of their structure or formulation. This flexibility ensures users receive relevant information even when their questions deviate from perfectly phrased keyword searches. 

Use Cases for Hybrid Search

Hybrid search capabilities within Amazon Bedrock offer a wide range of practical use cases across different domains, leveraging advanced search methodologies to enhance information retrieval and user interactions. Let’s explore some key use cases where hybrid search can be effectively applied: 

Open domain question answering

Imagine having a virtual assistant within your organization that can answer any question about your company’s data, regardless of how it’s phrased. Knowledge Bases equipped with hybrid search can become powerful question-answering systems. Users can ask broad, open-ended questions like: 

  • “What are the company policies for remote work?” 
  • “What were the sales figures for the Northeast region last quarter?” 
  • “How does this new product compare to similar offerings on the market?” 

Hybrid search empowers the system to handle these diverse queries effectively.  

Contextual-based chatbots

Customer service chatbots are becoming increasingly common, but their effectiveness often hinges on their ability to understand the context of user queries. Traditional chatbots might struggle with nuanced questions or conversational language. However, Knowledge Bases equipped with hybrid search can transform chatbots into powerful communication tools. 

By leveraging the context of previous interactions and user history, the chatbot can utilize hybrid search to retrieve the most relevant information tailored to the specific conversation. This allows the chatbot to provide more relevant and personalized responses.

Personalized search

Traditional knowledge base search often presents users with a plethora of results, which can be overwhelming.  Hybrid search unlocks the potential for personalized search experiences.  By analyzing user profiles, past queries, and access permissions, the system can leverage hybrid search to prioritize results that are most relevant to the individual user. 

How to Use Hybrid Search Via Amazon Bedrock Console?

Enabling hybrid search in Knowledge Bases for Amazon Bedrock is a straightforward process that can be done through either the console or the Knowledge Bases SDK. Here’s a breakdown of all methods. 

Using the Amazon Bedrock Console

  1. Navigate to Knowledge Bases: Log in to the AWS Management Console and locate the Amazon Bedrock service. Within Bedrock, navigate to the “Knowledge Bases” section. 
  2. Select Your Knowledge Base: From the list of knowledge bases, choose the one you want to modify and enable hybrid search. 
  3. Access Test Mode: Click on the “Test Knowledge Base” option. This allows you to experiment with different configurations before applying them to the live environment. 
  4. Configure Search Type: Locate the “Configurations” icon within the test environment. This section allows you to manage various settings for your knowledge base. Look for the option labeled “Search Type.” 
  5. Enable Hybrid Search: From the “Search Type” dropdown menu, select “Hybrid search (semantic & text).” This activates the hybrid search functionality for your chosen knowledge base. 

Using the Knowledge Bases SDK

If you prefer programmatic control, the Knowledge Bases SDK allows you to configure hybrid search directly within your application code. The specific implementation details will depend on the programming language you’re using, but the core functionality remains the same: enabling the “Hybrid Search” option within the API call for searching the knowledge base. 

Letting AWS Decide: Intelligent Search Method Selection

Amazon Bedrock offers an additional layer of convenience with its intelligent search method selection. This option allows you to avoid manually choosing between semantic or hybrid search. When you leave the “Search Type” field blank or select the “Intelligent” option, AWS analyzes your knowledge base data and automatically determines the most suitable search method. 


The introduction of hybrid search support in Amazon Bedrock represents a significant advancement in knowledge base management and NLP applications. By combining the strengths of different search methodologies, hybrid search enhances the retrieval augmented generation capabilities of Bedrock, addressing the limitations of semantic search alone. 

This innovation opens new possibilities for developing more intelligent and context-aware applications, ranging from question-answering systems to personalized search experiences. As businesses and developers continue to leverage hybrid search via Amazon Bedrock, we anticipate further advancements in knowledge management and NLP. We are being ushered in a new era of sophisticated language understanding and information retrieval. 

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