Applications of Informetrics to Information Retrieval Research

By Wolfram, Dietmar | Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, Annual 2000 | Go to article overview

Applications of Informetrics to Information Retrieval Research


Wolfram, Dietmar, Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline


Introduction

Information science is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses the study of the production, organization, storage, retrieval, dissemination and use of information. Research may focus on the information user, the systems that provide access to information, or the interface between the two. Over the past fifty years a number of sub-fields have emerged within information science. Two primary areas of study within the discipline are information retrieval (IR) and informetrics. Each specialty has developed from different traditions, but have common areas of interest. In this paper, the author provides a nontechnical overview of information retrieval and informetrics for the non-specialist, with a focus on the applications of the intersection of these two areas for IR system design and evaluation.

What is information retrieval?

Information retrieval is a selective process by which desired information is extracted from a store of information called a database (Meadow, 1992). Traditionally, IR systems have been used to locate text-based information, either the full-text of documents or document surrogates that summarize the contents of documents located outside of the database (e.g. bibliographic records). In recent years, information retrieval has broadened to include multimedia formats such as images, sound and video. IR system usage has also broadened during this time. Previously, information professionals were the primary users of IR systems, searching systems available through vendors such as DIALOG and EBSCO Information Services. The wider availability of online public access catalogues in libraries, CD-ROM database systems, and, most recently, web search engines, has made IR systems much more accessible to end users.

The process of interactive information retrieval involves a dialogue between the searcher and the IR system. The searcher initially submits a query to the IR system. Queries consist of one or more search terms and operators that define the parameters for records to be retrieved. The query terms are compared to an index of terms within the database using the operations (e.g. and, or, not) specified in the query. A list of records matching the query criteria is presented to the searcher for perusal. Based on the searcher's inspection of the records retrieved, the query may be reformulated. The process is then repeated.

On the surface, IR systems may resemble commonly used database management systems (DBMS). Although it is possible to develop an IR system using certain DBMS software, physical and philosophical differences distinguish these two types of systems. For example, the concept of relevance is central to information retrieval but does not play a role in DBMS interactions. Due to the ambiguities of language, not all items retrieved may be relevant to the searcher's information needs, despite having matched the query parameters. This is the challenge of IR: ensuring the timely retrieval of relevant items while not retrieving those items that are non-relevant to the searcher's information need.

Numerous conceptual models have been developed for IR systems. Many of today's IR systems incorporate a Boolean approach where retrieval is based on an exact or partial match to a query. Many bibliographic database systems accessible within libraries or through database vendors such as DIALOG use this method. Also popular are probabilistic systems that take into account likelihood of relevance based on frequency of occurrence of search terms within documents, allowing retrieved items to be presented in rank order based on calculated relevance. Most World Wide Web search engines and other full-text IR systems rely on this approach. Still, other systems rely on a vector space model, where potential relevance is determined by proximity of documents to queries, represented as vectors in a multi-dimensional space (Salton & McGill, 1983).

Information retrieval remains a key research area within information science.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Applications of Informetrics to Information Retrieval Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.