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  • Marianne Calilhanna

The Role of Structured Content in RAG

(TL:DR—structured content is of paramount importance if you want to fine-tune your LLM with accurate and trusted content)


AI-generated image of a happy anthropomorphized robot ingesting structured content

Large language models (LLMs) like GPT-3 have shown remarkable capabilities in generating text on a wide range of topics. However, these models are not without limitations. A major challenge is ensuring that the information generated is accurate and up-to-date, especially for rapidly changing or highly specialized domains.

Enter Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG)—RAG is a technique that allows LLMs to incorporate external information from a corpus of documents during the text generation process. By augmenting the model's knowledge with relevant information from a curated set of sources, RAG can potentially improve the accuracy, timeliness, and factual grounding of LLM output.

At its core, RAG is a form of prompt engineering, where the prompt fed to the LLM is carefully crafted to include relevant context from external sources. This context can take various forms, such as excerpts from documents, structured data, or even the output of other LLMs or systems.

                       

Implementing RAG with Structured Content

While the concept of RAG is straightforward, implementing it effectively with structured content requires careful consideration and planning. Following are some key steps and considerations:

 

Identify Relevant Structured Content/Data Sources

The first step is to identify the structured content or data sources that are most relevant and valuable. These sources could include internal databases, knowledge graphs, CMSs, or even external structured content from trusted third-party providers.

It's important to evaluate the quality, accuracy, and completeness of these sources and their ability to provide up-to-date and relevant information for the intended use case.

 

Develop Efficient Search and Retrieval Mechanisms

Once the relevant structured content or structured data sources are identified, the next step is to develop efficient mechanisms for searching and retrieving information from these sources based on the user's input or query.

This may involve leveraging existing search capabilities within the data sources, building custom search engines or APIs, or implementing advanced techniques such as semantic search or natural language processing (NLP).

The goal is to retrieve the most relevant and contextually appropriate information from the structured content or structured data sources to augment the LLM's knowledge for a given input or query. However, there are size constraints for the context, which will limit how much RAG-generated data can be sent along with the prompt. Following are the current context lengths of the GPT and Llama models (source - https://agi-sphere.com/context-length/):


Not listed in the context length comparison chart above but important in the space is Anthropic's Claude. Claude3 is reported to support a 200k context space!  Enough to support a huge RAG fed context.


Construct Effective Prompts

With the relevant information retrieved from the structured content or structured data sources, the next step is to construct effective prompts for the LLM that incorporate this information in a meaningful and contextual way.

This may involve techniques such as prompt engineering, where the retrieved information is carefully formatted and integrated into the prompt to provide the necessary context for the LLM to generate accurate and relevant outputs.

The prompts should be designed to guide the LLM in understanding the context, making logical connections between different pieces of information, and generating outputs that are factually accurate and aligned with the user's intent.


Iterate and Refine

Implementing RAG with structured content is an iterative process that may require ongoing refinement and optimization. As the system is used and evaluated, it's important to gather feedback, analyze the outputs, and identify areas for improvement.

This may involve

  • refining the search and retrieval mechanisms

  • adjusting the prompt construction techniques

  • updating or expanding the structured data sources to better align with the evolving needs and use cases

 

Continuous monitoring, evaluation, and refinement are crucial to ensuring that the RAG system remains accurate, relevant, and effective over time.

 

Real-World Applications and Use Cases

The integration of structured content into RAG opens a wide range of potential applications and use cases across various industries and domains. Following are a few examples we are seeing that could support DCL’s clients:

 

Knowledge Management and Decision Support

Organizations with extensive knowledge bases or structured data repositories can leverage RAG to provide more accurate and contextually relevant information to support decision-making processes, research, or knowledge sharing.

For example, a healthcare organization could use RAG to generate patient-specific treatment recommendations or summaries by retrieving relevant information from structured medical databases, clinical guidelines, and patient records.


Customer Service and Support

RAG can be used to enhance customer service and support systems by providing more accurate and up-to-date information to customers or support agents.

By integrating structured content or structured data sources such as product catalogs, knowledgebases, and customer databases, RAG can generate more relevant and personalized responses to customer inquiries, troubleshooting issues, or product recommendations.


Content Creation and Curation

RAG can be a powerful tool for content creators and curators, enabling them to generate high-quality, factually accurate, and contextually relevant content by leveraging structured content or structured data sources.

For example, a news organization could use RAG to generate news articles or reports by retrieving information from sources such as government databases, industry reports, or expert knowledgebases, ensuring that the generated content is accurate and up-to-date.

 

Education and Learning

In the education and learning domain, RAG can be used to generate personalized learning materials, explanations, or assessments by retrieving relevant information from resources such as textbooks or course materials. This can help create engaging and effective learning experiences tailored to individual learners' needs and knowledge levels.


Research and Scientific Applications

Researchers and scientists can benefit from RAG by generating hypotheses, summaries, or research proposals based on sources such as scientific databases or published research articles.

RAG can help identify relevant information, make connections between different data points, and generate well-informed and factually grounded outputs that support scientific inquiry and discovery.


Structured Content is More Important Than Ever

These are just a few examples of the potential applications of RAG with structured content. As the technology continues to evolve and more organizations adopt structured content practices, the possibilities for leveraging RAG to improve the accuracy, relevance, and factual grounding of LLM outputs will continue to expand.


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