601 Information Retrieval: Research and Practice

J. Stephen Downie
Email: jdownie@uwo.ca
Phone: 432-3053 (Home)
Office Hours: 30 minutes before and after class meetings; By appointment otherwise.

Course Objectives

  1. To extend the knowlege and skills acquired in the subject analysis and information retrieval course into a more intensive study of the application of online/ondisc searching in information work;
  2. To gain familiarity with the major search systems and online/ondisc databases, the characteristics of the systems and databases, and the principles and mechanics of searching;
  3. To learn about different areas of information retrieval research and about different experimental approaches to information retrieval.

Course Description

This course examines the strengths and deficiencies of online/ondisc information retrieval systems through an in-depth analysis of their structures, methodologies, and performances. 


Those interested in performing an Information Retrieval experiment for their final projects please read this.

Course Outline

Week1   06-Jan-98       Introduction 
Assignment #1 given (due Week11 or before)
Week2   13-Jan-98     Evaluationissues/Inverted files
Readings: Tague-Sutcliffe (1992); Blair and Maron (1985); 
Salton and McGill (1983) chaps. 1-2.       

Week3   20-Jan-98     Automatic Indexing
Readings: Salton (1989) chap. 9; Downie (1995); Hartley (1990) chap. 13.

Week4   27-Jan-98     DIALOG Search Features, Online Thesaraus
Assignment #2 given (due Week6)
Readings: Weinberg and Cunningham (1988); Dialog Workbook
chaps. 1-5. 

Week5   03-Feb-98       DIALOG Multiple Index Searching
Readings: DIALOG Workbook chap. 7; Chadwick (1991).

Week6   10-Feb-98      Automatic Query Construction and Relevance Feedback
Readings: Salton (1989) pp. 313-26; 
OR Salton and McGill (1983) pp. 118-36, 140-45, 146-51, 204-211. 
Week7   17-Feb-98      Internet Issues: Search Engines
Assignment #3 given (due Week9)
Readings: Lynch (1997); Venditto (1996).

Week8   3-Mar-98      Citation indexing
Readings: Garfield (1980).

Week9   10-Mar-98      Internet Issues: Meta Data and other resources
Readings: Sites to be posted.
Week10  17-March-98     Expert Systems
Readings: See Reserve List (Browse then select two readings).

Week11 24-Mar-98      CD-ROM/DVD Issues/Brief Review
Readings: See Reserve List (Look at evaluation methods; search for information on DVD).
Week12 31-Mar-98      Quiz

Week13  07-April-98      Demos and Presentations
Week14  14-April-98      Info Globe
Readings: Info Globe materials in ABC Lab

Assignments and Grading

Assignment #1: Short Review   10%
Assignment #2: DIALOG Search  17.5%
Assignment #3: Internet       17.5%
Project (Due 17-April-98)     30%
Quiz                          15%  
Participation                 10%