Re: Index vs. Search? (take III)

Subject: Re: Index vs. Search? (take III)
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
Date: Sun, 09 Sep 2007 18:12:10 -0700

Geoff Hart wrote:
> Jay Maechtlen noted: <<ideally, of course, the search engine would
> look at synonyms and offer alternative search terms...>>
> Definitely, but creating such a compendium of synonyms would be an
> awfully thorny challenge in artificial language -- one that isn't
> even close to having been solved yet. As your example (below)

Geoff, think cross-references. The synonyms needed are provided in the
putative useful index.

> indicates, it's not trivial to embody all the implicit knowledge we
> accumulate over decades of linguistic weirdness. And the resulting

The thesaurus function is basically trivial--just look it up a word in a
modern electronic, updated equivalent of Roget or some such.

And I'll bet it doesn't take a highlyskilled software developer to
extend online help to include synonyms in a Help lookup.

On second thought, I don't want to bet on that. Maybe it would require
someone who works in the Help system's API, to hack in a call to an
add-on synonym retrieval function that passes the synonyms back to the
search function. But it's not a show stopper of a problem.

> database of synonyms would be huge, even if you constrain it heavily
> towards a specific domain (e.g., word processing).

Yeah, it is "huge". But so is the power of a database lookup function.
And while it is shocking to realize that the price of bandwidth and
workstation hardware today is low enough that every workstation could
have a thesaurus onboard, a look around will reveal that a modest
investment of time and cash can make anyone able to download several
gigabytes of thesaurus data onto a thumb drive (or workstation hard disk
or gigabyte network drive), and crunch it with a ferocious CPU and
database combination that will perform the sucking out of synonym search
results, from those gigs of data, in the blink of an eye. We're there,
man! But it ain't AI--this is a baby step, where the user provides the
intelligence, and the computer(s) execute their mundane search and
retrieval stuff.


Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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Re: Index vs. Search: From: Fred Ridder
Re: Index vs. Search: From: jmccrooks
RE: Index vs. Search: From: Al Geist
Index vs. Search?: From: Geoff Hart
Re: Index vs. Search?: From: Jay Maechtlen
Index vs. Search? (take III): From: Geoff Hart

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