Automating Search Interfaces

Michael Kay M.H.Kay at
Mon Feb 23 11:48:07 GMT 1998

>I would like to talk about the location of the person making the search versus >the location of the product or service provider
    Geographic/Spatial queries are a well-researched topic in the database literature. Free text retrieval is definitely a weak approach, though people attempt it by using thesaurus facilities to represent the structure of a gazetteer. In most of the practical systems I have seen, spatial query is done using postal codes: the system needs knowledge of which postal districts are near each other. (We also use such techniques for scheduling the itinerary of service engineers).
    >A hotel room is a 'chambre' in french. If I search for a hotel room in Italy, I>don't know the word for room in italian...
    Multilingual search is well researched and seems to work reasonably well. The more difficult problem is to distinguish agencies that can book you a hotel room from newsletter articles by people enthusing what a wonderful hotel room they were staying in: I think this is why there will always be added value in manual categorization and indexing services.
    Mike Kay
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