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Re: xml search engine?

  • From: Len Bullard <cbullard@h...>
  • To: Tim Bray <tbray@t...>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 19:43:04 -0600

xml search engine
Tim Bray wrote:
> At 10:46 AM 3/30/00 +0100, Kay Michael wrote:
> >
> >I really think you need to distinguish between a query engine and a search
> >engine. Query engines answer questions like "find me all documents that have
> >an <xyz> element as the third grandchild of an <abc> element". Search
> >engines answer questions like "have you got anything about the causes of
> >hyperinflation in inter-war Germany?"
> I think what you're talking about would normally be called an Information-
> Retrieval (IR) system.  Such a system is distinguished from traditional
> search engines in the general case in that nobody has ever successfully
> built one that, in the general case, works.
> (putting on my asbestos underwear) -Tim

Ouch! Flame to fungus?

Generalized IR should fall easily out of markup.  The trick is to ask
the namespace, not the tree.

If I have to know position, how can I ask a question of a 
tree I've never seen.  But, if I have a namespace, I can 
ask for names in it:

? germany interwar hyperinflation causes

should return the aggregate of treelocs to 
branches like that; an XLink if you like.

It really should be *made* that simple to state.  
The user gets that and it works on a little screen. :-)

Long obscurely syntaxed paths are too hard for most 
users to learn.  They have to be able to name 
and return branches.  Use the XML namespace. 
Little schemas but lots of them, iconic 
and at about the complexity that emerges  
using relational tables.

len (glossingOverNaturalLanguageParsing)

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