Information Retrieval --
A Multilingual Perspective

by Kui-Lam Kwok

[January 6, 2006]


Since the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW), Information Retrieval (or IR, of which design of search algorithms and search engines is a major topic) has gained attention and popularity. One major impact of the WWW is that users have fundamentally changed their previous information seeking expectations and behavior: from "going to a library", to expecting "the library comes to you". A consequence is that foreign language resources of any country are often and easily available at one's desktop. How does IR handle the situation?

This talk will give a brief history of IR research and describe how IR evolves to handle some of the Asian languages such as Chinese/Japanese/Korean for native speakers. For many studies or activities such as commerce, foreign affairs, science & technology, etc., westerners' also need access to these foreign resources. To address this issue, IR has developed into CLIR - Cross-Lingual IR - by combining with automatic machine translation (MT). For example, users can input English queries to search and access Chinese documents efficiently and effectively. IR has been recognized as an important productivity enhancing tool since the web became popular in society, and CLIR is also considered significant for bridging the language gap between peoples.






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