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Prospects for intelligent, language‐based information retrieval

Alan F. Smeaton (School of Computer Applications, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland)

Online Review

ISSN: 0309-314X

Article publication date: 1 June 1991



Current approaches to text retrieval based on indexing by words or index terms and on retrieving by specifying a Boolean combination of keywords are well known, as are their limitations. Statistical approaches to retrieval, as exemplified in commercial products like STATUS/IQ and Personal Librarian, are slightly better but still have their own weaknesses. Approaches to the indexing and retrieval of text based on techniques of automatic natural language processing (NLP) may soon start to realise their undoubted potential in terms of improving the quality and effectiveness of information retrieval. In this article we will explore what that potential is. We will divide information retrieval functionality into conceptual and traditional information retrieval and we will examine some of the current attempts at using various NLP techniques in both the indexing and retrieval operations.


Smeaton, A.F. (1991), "Prospects for intelligent, language‐based information retrieval", Online Review, Vol. 15 No. 6, pp. 373-382.




Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited

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