Sitecore Cortex – Getting Started with Auto-Tagging using Open Calais API

The latest release of Sitecore CMS 9.1 (initial release) ships with number of improvements and enhancements to the core platform. One of the key feature is introduction of the Sitecore CortexTM across the platform. Sitecore Cortex is a very broad topic and not the intent for the blog post, but in very short and non-tech words, Sitecore CortexTM can be described as the brain of Sitecore CMS that can analyze data and produce intelligent insights about the content.

One of the cool things that you can do right now with Sitecore CortexTM is auto-tagging. The integration with Open Calais API is out of the box, although you can integrate with any other provider by writing custom code. This post will show you to set up auto-tagging with Open Calais API provider.

What is Open Calais?

Open Calais analyzes the semantic content of input content using a combination of statistical, machine-learning, and custom pattern-based methods. The algorithms developed by the Text Metadata Services (TMS) group at Thomson Reuters output highly accurate and detailed metadata. For more detailed information, see the official Open Calais documentation FAQ.

Auto-Tagging Setup

Pre-requisites : You should have Sitecore 9.1 installed on your local machine or in Azure PaaS.

Step1 : Register a free account with Open Calais

Go to and create a free account:

Step 2: Get your secret API Key

Click on the profile button and get your secret key. (Perm ID)

Step 3: The new Content Tagging Option

When you log-in to Sitecore 9.1, under the Home Tab, you will see a new Content Tagging option:


Step 4: Verify the initial tag field

Scroll down to the system defined Tagging section and verify there are no tags:

Step 5: Create a config patch

On your deployed folder, under location /site/App_Config/Sitecore/ContentTagging you will find files related to Open Calais settings. You can update the Sitecore.ContentTagging.OpenCalais.config file or a better option is to create a patch file as below and upload it to the /App_Config/Include folder location:


Step 6: Check the Tagging Tab

After you upload the file, you can go back to the content editor and check the ‘Content Tagging’ tab, it will be enabled

Step 7: Start Tagging

Click on the ‘Tag Item’ button and it will start tagging your content

Step 8: Review Tag Field

Once the tagging process is finished, if you review the tagging field again, it will be populated with the tags.

(You may need to click on another item and then click back on the item to see the tags)


That’s it, you are all configured to do auto-tagging.


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Getting Started with Sitecore and Microst Azure Apps – Part 1 – One-Click Azure PaaS Deployment

Sitecore Web Content Management System (WCMS) has recently release a version which supports deploying Sitecore WCMS as Platform as a Service (PaaS). As a passionate Sitecore technologist, this is great news and I am pretty excited about it.

Pieter Brinkman from Sitecore has done a great job explaining the benefits of using Microsoft Azure Web Apps and I think in few years from now, everyone will be using Microsoft Azure as their preferred hosting option.

In this post, I will post a short video screen cast of showing how easy it is to take advantage of this new offering from Sitecore and get an instance of Sitecore up and running in few minutes.

So if you never looked into Microsoft Azure web apps or didn’t get time to do it yourself, this video is for you.


Once the deployment is finished, you will see the following services within the resource group:

  • CM App Service Plan & CM Web App
  • CD App Service Plan & CD Web App
  • SQL Server with Core and Master DB
  • SQL Server with Web DB
  • Application Insights (used for logging exceptions and much more)
  • Azure Search
  • Redis Cache

In technical Sitecore terms, this is called XM1 configuration, where Sitecore is deployed in CMS-only mode. You can use this deployment if you are not planning to use analytics and marketing features of Sitecore. An overview of this deployment topology is shown below:

In the next post, I will show how can we use ARM Templates, Sitecore Azure Toolkit and PowerShell to do Sitecore deployments on Microsoft Azure. The ARM templates provides more flexibility and control over the deployment topology.

Stay tuned.