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A major impediment to accurate information retrieval from the World Wide Web is the inability of search engines to incorporate semantics in the search process. This research presents a methodology, CONQUER (CONtext-aware QUERy processing), that enhances the semantic content of Web queries using two complementary knowledge sources: lexicons and ontologies. The methodology constructs a semantic net using the original query as a seed, and refines the net with terms from the two knowledge sources. The enhanced query, represented by the refined semantic net, can be executed by search engines. The methodology and its implementation in a prototype will be discussed. An empirical evaluation shows that queries suggested by the prototype produce more relevant results than those obtained by the original queries. This research, thus, provides a successful demonstration of the use of existing knowledge sources to enhance the semantic content of Web queries. Among other things, our future work involves identifying potential uses of such enhancements of search technology in organizational contexts.
Vijayan Sugumaran is Professor of Management Information Systems in the department of Decision and Information Sciences at Oakland University, USA. His research interests are in the areas of Ontologies and Semantic Web, Intelligent Agent and Multi-Agent Systems, Component Based Software Development, Knowledge-Based Systems, and Data & Information Modeling. His most recent publications have appeared (or will appear) in Information Systems Research, ACM Transactions on Database Systems, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Communications of the ACM, Healthcare Management Science, Data and Knowledge Engineering, The DATABASE for Advances in Information Systems, and Information Systems Journal. Dr. Sugumaran is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Intelligent Information Technologies, and also serves on the editorial boards of eight other journals. He has served as Chair and program committee member for a number of national and international conferences.