The Fundamentals of Searching

In Chapter 3, Badke discusses about the fundamentals of electronic searching. He explains the concept of a database and the basics for keyword searching and it’s hierarchies. He explains how a word can be broken down into many different meanings or categories known as a hierarchy. According to Badke, searching keywords like this can sometimes be beneficial but at times it can also be a downfall. As Badke states, “The ugly is that keywords are flat they aren’t capable of telling you whether your result is broad or narrow in relation to your topic, nor can they spell out the contexts within which your keyword might be found.” I find this to be a valid statement because many times it has happened to me where I’m stuck while I’m researching a certain topic or word, the results will sometimes variety into different subjects and meanings. This can be a problem if the instructor has assigned for a definite explanation. This is why it is best to pick out a topic that is much more specific because it will help to narrow down your results more quickly when searching rather than picking a topic that is too general which will leave you pulling your brains out.

In Elizabeth Liddy’s article, How a Search Engine Works, Liddy focuses on the four vital components of a search engine or IR system which means information retrieval. This article helped me to understand how the search engine system is able to pin point and locate our information and match it with the results. According to Liddy, “Search engines match queries against an index that they create. The index consists of the words in each document, plus pointers to their locations within the documents. This is called an inverted file.” Liddy also shows us the the results that we can sometimes encounter when our topic or words aren’t narrow enough for the system to figure out. The author gives out a few helpful pointers to the readers on how to search efficiently in order to get the best results. By deleting or eliminating certain “stop words” such as “and” or “the” we will be able to get the desired results. Liddy also states that the search engine is composed of four vital components which are the document processor,  query processor,  a search and matching function,  and the ranking capability.  This article was interesting because Liddy goes on to break down these four vital components into steps in order to show the reader how a search engine is able to process and locate our information. It’s almost as if were exploring the technicalities behind the system as we read each of their functions.

-Astrid Sarmiento


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