What is INFORMATION RETRIEVAL? What does INFORMATION RETRIEVAL mean? INFORMATION RETRIEVAL meaning - INFORMATION RETRIEVAL definition - INFORMATION RETRIEVAL explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Information retrieval (IR) is the activity of obtaining information resources relevant to an information need from a collection of information resources. Searches can be based on full-text or other content-based indexing.
Automated information retrieval systems are used to reduce what has been called "information overload". Many universities and public libraries use IR systems to provide access to books, journals and other documents. Web search engines are the most visible IR applications.
An information retrieval process begins when a user enters a query into the system. Queries are formal statements of information needs, for example search strings in web search engines. In information retrieval a query does not uniquely identify a single object in the collection. Instead, several objects may match the query, perhaps with different degrees of relevancy.
An object is an entity that is represented by information in a content collection or database. User queries are matched against the database information. However, as opposed to classical SQL queries of a database, in information retrieval the results returned may or may not match the query, so results are typically ranked. This ranking of results is a key difference of information retrieval searching compared to database searching.
Depending on the application the data objects may be, for example, text documents, images, audio, mind maps or videos. Often the documents themselves are not kept or stored directly in the IR system, but are instead represented in the system by document surrogates or metadata.
Most IR systems compute a numeric score on how well each object in the database matches the query, and rank the objects according to this value. The top ranking objects are then shown to the user. The process may then be iterated if the user wishes to refine the query.