Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effective search terms yield the right information

Date:
February 4, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
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 shows that it is also important to look at the terms people type into the search box.

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.

Related Articles


'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 hav been successfully defended.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Effective search terms yield the right information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074606.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, February 4). Effective search terms yield the right information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074606.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Effective search terms yield the right information." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074606.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) The entry by Cablevision and Google could intensify the already heated price wars for mobile phone service. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hector the Robot Mimics a Giant Stick Insect

Hector the Robot Mimics a Giant Stick Insect

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) A robot based on a stick insect can navigate difficult terrain autonomously and adapt to its surroundings. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaysia Airlines Hack: Lizard Squad, ISIS Involved?

Malaysia Airlines Hack: Lizard Squad, ISIS Involved?

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) Malaysia Airlines on Sunday experienced website outages and what appeared to be an attack by hacker group Lizard Squad. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins