Information Representation and Retrieval in the Digital Age

Brian Vickery (Emeritus Professor, Oxford, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 September 2004




Vickery, B. (2004), "Information Representation and Retrieval in the Digital Age", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 213-213.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This is a helpful introductory text on retrieval from computer‐based sources – online systems and the Internet. Dr Chu, who received her first degree at Peking University, now teaches at Long Island University, USA. Her book is aimed basically at information science students, though it can also be of general interest to the profession.

The work has a wide coverage. There are two chapters on information representation, followed by one on language in information representation and retrieval. Retrieval techniques and query representation is followed by retrieval approaches (searching and browsing). There are then discussions of information models and information systems, and a chapter on special problems such as multilingual, multimedia and hypertext retrieval. A chapter on users (in particular, user‐system interaction) is followed by one on evaluation, and the book ends with a brief account of artificial intelligence in retrieval.

Dr Chu concentrates on the facilities offered by retrieval methods to users, rather than on the technical details of information system construction. She does not provide much in the way of illustrative examples, and her discussion of intellectual problems involved in, say, categorisation in information representation or retrieval performance evaluation, is relatively brief.

The virtues of the book are that it is clearly and simply written, and that the author has put a great deal of thought into considering the advantages and disadvantages for the user of the various retrieval methods. She has an up‐to‐date knowledge of Internet developments, and the references at the end of each chapter are good leads into the literature of the field. The cover of the book carries a commendatory message from Wilf Lancaster, and I am happy to add my welcome for this text, which should be useful for students, teachers and professionals in information science.

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