Re: What if they can't spell?

Subject: Re: What if they can't spell?
From: "Janet Valade" <jvalade1 -at- san -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2001 09:13:03 -0700

> I don't know exactly what kind of recognition ability this technology has
> nowadays, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
> I believe some of this technology recognises synonyms, but that is a
> separate issue.

I don't know about natural language, but search engines can have a feature
called sound-alike. I don't know how many do or don't. On a company web
site, I used Atomz which has this option. I had all my manuals online and
offered users the ability to search the manuals. Sound-alike is intended to
find words that are mispelled by searching for words which sound like the
word entered. Whether one wants to use it or not would depend on the site. I
don't know the exact algorithm the search engine uses and don't remember
exactly all the "similar" words it finds, but it finds a lot of unrelated
stuff. If you have a small site with not too many results expected, it
probably would be helpful. However, in the end, I shut it off. While I
believed it was really helpful for misspellings and some users found items
that they would not have found due to misspelling, it was an actual problem
for people who spelled things correctly, giving them so many unrelated
results. We discussed it and decided it was a problem for more people than
it was helpful for.

Janet Valade
San Diego, CA
Freelance writer, Web site programmer


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What if they can't spell?: From: Bevan Mccabe

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