Automatic Query Formulations in Information Retrieval
Salton, Gerard; Buckley, Chris; Fox, Edward A.
Modern information retrieval systems are designed to supply relevant information in response to requests received from the user population. In most retrieval environments the search requests consist of keywords, or index terms, interrelated by appropriate Boolean operators. Since it is difficult for untrained users to generate effective Boolean search requests, trained search intermediaries are normally used to translate original statements of user need into useful Boolean search formulations. Methods are introduced in this study which reduce the role of the search intermediaries by making it possible to generate Boolean search formulations completely automatically from natural language statements provided by the system patrons. Frequency considerations are used automatically to generate appropriate term combinations as well as Boolean connectives relating the terms. Methods are covered to produce automatic query formulations both in a standard Boolean logic system, as well as in an extended Boolean system in which the strict interpretation of the connectives is relaxed. Experimental results are supplied to evaluate the effectiveness of the automatic query formulation process in practice.
computer science; technical report
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