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Effective Search Terms Yield the Right Information

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University of Gothenburg doctoral student Karin Friberg Heppin says that asking for information in the right way would help improve the performance of search engines. "Users usually know what kind of information they are looking for, but they don't know what question to ask," says Friberg Heppin.

"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," Friberg Heppin says. She used a database of medical texts written in Swedish to study what makes search terms effective or ineffective. She notes that a doctor who uses the word "flu" would find many interesting texts, but would find more useful texts by using the word "influenza."

Friberg Heppin also says the use of compound words, which are rare in English compared to Swedish, factors into the effectiveness of a search. Linguists have a role in improving search effectiveness, she says.

From University of Gothenburg
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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