Natural lang/expert systems/www searching
NICK TOMAIUOLO, INSTRUCTION LIBRARIAN, CCSU
TOMAIUOLON at CCSUA.CTSTATEU.EDU
Tue Nov 12 13:47:40 EST 1996
Not long ago P. Stephen Thomas made
an astute observation was made by on the WEB4LIB list. The
comment was something to the effect that "Natural language" searching was
the "Holy Grail" of WWW search engines/services. Among Mr. Thomas's
cogent remarks was an allusion to artifical intelligence, which he
called Expert Systems, wherein searchers could pose a query and be
intelligently prompted by the search services for further qualifying
for example, Searcher: "Give me Supreme Court decisions" Engine: "From the
US or Canada?" Or Searcher: What are the advantages of a flat tax?
Expert System: Do you wish to limit your topic to the United States?
Expert System: Would you accept disadvantages as well as advantages?
And so on.
My question which may engender comment or discussion from not only
professional searchers but also search engine developers, end-users,
reference librarians from all fields as well as computer professionals is:
Does any such "Artificial Intelligence" powered engine exist anywhere for any
purpose? In Library Reference, in Defense Industry, in Commerical business?
Again--I don't mean an engine that says "Narrow search by looking for
word in the title?" or the rudimentary type of search strategy, but one that
responds to the particluar query of the user.
Of particular significance would be **WWW** search engines that work
intelligently-- that is, interact with the user. Again, Are there any?
Have you used them? Where are they?
But, moreoever, does any AI engine exist in any realm that
intelligently prompts the user to facilitate focusing a query and therefore
making relevant retrieval more possible? For example, even
an interoffice database, a commercial database of some sort...
Regarding the topic of Natural Language searching, does anyone know of systems
or services or engines that can "translate" an end-user's query of
"find information on gender bias in compensation in professional sports" into
its possible incarnations (i.e., "why are women paid less than men for winning
a golf tournament?")?
BTW -- would any medical information professionals, including readers at the
NLM be able to respond as to the status of the "Metathesaurus" (a project that
purported to take a query in the natural language of any professional and
translate it into a coherent query for searching the NLM databases); does the
Metathesaurus do the intelligent translating for (at least) health information
related queries? What system(s) are running with the Metathesaurus (e.g.,
NLM databases? Anything beyond that?)?
Thank you for your comments,
Please note, I do not subscribe to several of the lists to which this is
being posted. If responding, would you send me a CC or simply respond to me
Nicholas Tomaiuolo, MLS
Central CT State University
New Britain, CT USA
Nicholas G. Tomaiuolo, MLS
Bibliographic Instruction Librarian
Central Connecticut State University Library
New Britain, CT 06050
email= tomaiuolon at ccsu.ctstateu.edu
phone= (860) 832-2068
fax= (860) 832-3409
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