Modern Information Retrieval
Chapter 10: User Interfaces and Visualization
Human-computer interfaces for helping guide users to appropriate sources is a wide open area for research. It requires both eliciting the information need from users and understanding which needs can be satisfied by which sources. An ambitious approach is to build a model of the source and of the information need of the user and try to determine which fit together best. User modeling systems and intelligent tutoring systems attempt to do this both for general domains [#!cypher93!#,#!wilensky84!#] and for online help systems [#!horvitz98!#].
A simpler alternative is to create a representation of the contents of information sources and match this representation against the query specification. This approach is taken by GlOSS, a system which tries to determine in advance the best bibliographic database to send a search request to, based on the terms in the query [#!tomasic97!#]. The system uses a simple analysis of the combined frequencies of the query words within the individual collections. The SavvySearch system [#!howe97!#] takes this idea a step further, using actions taken by users after a query to decide how to decrease or increase the ranking of a search engine for a particular query (see also Chapter 13).
The flip side to automatically selecting the best source for a query is to automatically send a query to multiple sources and then combine the results from the various systems in some way. Many metasearch engines exist on the Web. How to combine the results effectively is an active area of research, sometimes known as collection fusion [#!bartell94!#,#!towell95!#,#!hull96!#]. starting points |)