Information Retrieval (in Computing)

information storage and retrieval

information storage and retrieval, the systematic process of collecting and cataloging data so that they can be located and displayed on request. Computers and data processing techniques have made possible the high-speed, selective retrieval of large amounts of information for government, commercial, and academic purposes. There are several basic types of information-storage-and-retrieval systems. Document-retrieval systems store entire documents, which are usually retrieved by title or by key words associated with the document. In some systems, the text of documents is stored as data. This permits full text searching, enabling retrieval on the basis of any words in the document. In others, a digitized image of the document is stored, usually on a write-once optical disc. Database systems store the information as a series of discrete records that are, in turn, divided into discrete fields (e.g., name, address, and phone number); records can be searched and retrieved on the basis of the content of the fields (e.g., all people who have a particular telephone area code). The data are stored within the computer, either in main storage or auxiliary storage, for ready access. Reference-retrieval systems store references to documents rather than the documents themselves. Such systems, in response to a search request, provide the titles of relevant documents and frequently their physical locations. Such systems are efficient when large amounts of different types of printed data must be stored. They have proven extremely effective in libraries, where material is constantly changing.

See A. Ishikawa, Future Computer and Information Systems (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Text-Based Intelligent Systems: Current Research and Practice in Information Extraction and Retrieval
Paul S. Jacobs.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Law, Decision-Making, and Microcomputers: Cross-National Perspectives
Stuart S. Nagel.
Quorum Books, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Information Retrieval Research: How It Might Affect the Practicing Lawyer"
A Symbolic and Connectionist Approach to Legal Information Retrieval
Daniel E. Rose.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994
Natural Language and the Computer
Paul L. Garvin.
McGraw-Hill, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Part 5 "Information Retrieval"
Lexical Acquisition: Exploiting On-Line Resources to Build a Lexicon
Uri Zernik.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Lexical Acquisition and Information Retrieval"
From Documentation to Information Science: The Beginnings and Early Development of the American Documentation Institute-American Society for Information Science
Irene S. Farkas-Conn.
Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Bibliographies and Information Retrieval" begins on p. 133
Questions and Information Systems
Thomas W. Lauer; Arthur C. Graesser; Eileen Peacock.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Librarian’s tip: discussion of information retrieval in computing begins on p. 131
Journalism for the 21st Century: Online Information, Electronic Databases, and the News
Tom Koch.
Praeger, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Electronic Libraries: Files, Vendors, and Databases"
Using National Data Bases in Educational Research
Thomas L. Hilton.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Health Information Systems: Design Issues and Analytic Applications
Elizabeth A. McGlynn; Cheryl L. Damberg; Eve A. Ker; Robert H. Brook.
Rand, 1998
A New Archetype for Competitive Intelligence
John J. McGonagle Jr.; Carolyn M. Vella.
Quorum Books, 1996
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