Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Effective search terms yield the right information

18.10.2010
It does not matter how good a search engine is if the person doing a search does not ask for the desired information in the right way. So far, a great deal of the research on information retrieval has aimed to develop search algorithms and powerful search engines. Yet, a new doctoral thesis on natural language processing from the University of Gothenburg shows that it is also important to look at the terms people type into the search box.

’Users usually know what kind of information they are looking for, but they don’t know what question to ask. The problem these days is not for the search engine to locate the right documents but to make the most relevant texts end up towards the top of the list,’ says the author of the thesis Karin Friberg Heppin.

Friberg Heppin used a database of medical texts written in Swedish to explore what makes a search term effective or ineffective. What are the features of good search terms and what characterises bad ones?

Today patients often find their own information on the internet, both before and after seeing a doctor. However, not all documents are easily understood by a lay person. Doctors surf for information too, but won’t find much new in popular science texts.

’The language differs between texts written for doctors and texts written for patients. People can use these differences to find the types of documents they want, with respect to both subject and target group,’ says Friberg Heppin.

Her point is that if a doctor does a search for, say, the word flu, he or she will not find many texts of interest. Yet, a search for the word influenza will yield more texts that suit the needs of doctors.

Another difficulty arises when the used search term is only available in a text as a compound word, or vice versa. For example, if a Swedish user types in the word diabetes (=diabetes), the search engine will not catch a text that only includes the compound word diabetesbehandling (=diabetes treatment).

‘This type of problem is more common in Swedish than in English since compound words are rare in English compared to in Swedish. The fact that almost all information retrieval research has focused on English, a language with entirely different inherent problems, suggests that more Swedish research in the area is essential,’ says Friberg Heppin, who points to the importance of the field of linguistics in this context.

’Information retrieval is a multidisciplinary subject where the focus has traditionally been on information and computer science. It’s time for linguists to start contributing to improved search effectiveness,’ says Friberg Heppin.

The thesis have been successfully defended.

For further information, please contact: Karin Friberg Heppin
Tel.: +46 (0)31 786 45 49

E-mail: karin.friberg@svenska.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/22709

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>