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Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst

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4 Query Specification

In the query specification part of the information access process, the searcher expresses an information need by converting their internalized, abstract concepts into language, and then converting that expression of language into a query format that the search system can make use of. This chapter discusses the mechanisms by which information needs are expressed. The two main dimensions for the query specification process are:

(1) The kind of information the searcher supplies. Query specification input spans a spectrum from full natural language sentences, to keywords and key phrases, to syntax-heavy command language-based queries.

(2) The interface mechanism the user interacts with to supply this information. These include ...

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