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Dagobert Soergel
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Information structure management. A unified framework for indexing and searching in database, expert, information-retrieval, and hypermedia systems.

Abbreviated version

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Database, expert, information-retrieval, and hypermedia systems share an essential unity and a unified framework can improve their design. The systems differ along a variety of dimensions but only as a matter of degree. A new definition of a system structure generalizes search and inference operators that are applicable to any type of searching. The basic structure consists of objects (entities) and relationships (links) to make statements about objects. To enhance searching and inference, the structure includes neighborhoods (sets of objects with their relationships), especially offspring neighborhoods and ancestor neighborhoods, and connections (named chains of links). Navigation and query-based searching are but different metaphors for the same basic search and inference processes, such as spreading activation (with Boolean and weighted searching as special cases), hierarchical inheritance, and structure matching. Examples from various contexts illustrate the approach.

Full version: Fidel et al., ed. Challenges in indexing electronic text and images. Medford, NJ: Learned Information; 1994 (ASIS Monograph Series). Chapter 7, p. 111 - 156.

(Based on a paper presented at the 54th ASIS Annual Meeting, Washington, DC October 27 - 31, 1991)
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