All entries for Thursday 16 September 2004

September 16, 2004

Semantic querying and the future of search engines

Follow-up to Emergent semantics (from Deleuze) and the semantic web from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Prof. Wendy Hall of Southampton made this important distinction between two types of web query:

  • A query that simply aims to provide a specific piece of information, an answer to a closed question. She calls this an 'uh…uh' query.
  • A query that aims to go from a semantic map of a document to other documents with a similar map, the aim being that the second document will expand and illuminate the first. This she calls an "er…er" query.

People typically do the second more open type of query by identifying a set of keywords from the first document, and typing them all into a plain google search. In creating their own keywords list they are creating a semantic map of the document, a map that makes sense to them. Perhaps a useful development in browser and search engine design would be to add functionality that makes this easier. A user could select words and phrases from the source document to create the map, and then do a search for related maps. Perhaps these maps could be represented diagramatically?

As you can see, i'm just starting to get the relationship between Deleuze's work on semantics and creativity, the work in AI that I did at Sussex, current work on the semantic web, and e-learning.