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Searching web documents using a summarization approach

Rani Qumsiyeh (Department of Computer Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
Yiu-Kai Ng (Department of Computer Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)

International Journal of Web Information Systems

ISSN: 1744-0084

Article publication date: 18 April 2016




The purpose of this paper is to introduce a summarization method to enhance the current web-search approaches by offering a summary of each clustered set of web-search results with contents addressing the same topic, which should allow the user to quickly identify the information covered in the clustered search results. Web search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, rank the set of documents S retrieved in response to a user query and represent each document D in S using a title and a snippet, which serves as an abstract of D. Snippets, however, are not as useful as they are designed for, i.e. assisting its users to quickly identify results of interest. These snippets are inadequate in providing distinct information and capture the main contents of the corresponding documents. Moreover, when the intended information need specified in a search query is ambiguous, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a search engine to identify precisely the set of documents that satisfy the user’s intended request without requiring additional information. Furthermore, a document title is not always a good indicator of the content of the corresponding document either.


The authors propose to develop a query-based summarizer, called QSum, in solving the existing problems of Web search engines which use titles and abstracts in capturing the contents of retrieved documents. QSum generates a concise/comprehensive summary for each cluster of documents retrieved in response to a user query, which saves the user’s time and effort in searching for specific information of interest by skipping the step to browse through the retrieved documents one by one.


Experimental results show that QSum is effective and efficient in creating a high-quality summary for each cluster to enhance Web search.


The proposed query-based summarizer, QSum, is unique based on its searching approach. QSum is also a significant contribution to the Web search community, as it handles the ambiguous problem of a search query by creating summaries in response to different interpretations of the search which offer a “road map” to assist users to quickly identify information of interest.



Qumsiyeh, R. and Ng, Y.-K. (2016), "Searching web documents using a summarization approach", International Journal of Web Information Systems, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 83-101.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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