Monday, July 13, 2009

Information and Knowledge

Does Information mean Knowledge or vice-versa? This is often the topic of discussion when I happen to talk about knowledge and its role in Semantic Web. More often than not we confuse information with knowledge.

So what is information? It is the smallest detail we have (fact in the system) about an entity. Today is Monday is an information, But Monday is first day of work week is not. In western countries first day of week is Monday but that is not true for middle-east, their week begins on Sunday.

So how do we define knowledge? Knowledge is the interpretation of information. In our previous example, Monday is the first day of the week or not depends in which country's context we are discussing Monday. We can define knowledge as Information related to a context. If not attached to a context, the information does not convey any meaning and that means the information is of no use hence cannot be classified as knowledge. So for an information to be classified as knowledge we must have the context attached to it.

Until Next Time...!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What is Semantic Search

If I ask this question in a group of 10 researchers, I will have 11 correct answers of this (including one of mine) for sure. But the question will remain unanswered as what exactly is "Semantic Search"?

During Semantic Technology Conference 2009, this topic was debated among search biggies as what exactly is next direction of search ? One thing that came out of the discussion is page ranking and keyword search is definitely NOT the way the searches are going to work in future. One of the most probable future for search engine is "It will be more like a conversation with the user".

Currently the search engine work in "Tell and show the result" mode. The user enters the keyword and the search engine dumps all possible matches (based on page rank, keyword matches etc) to the user. Most of the time the results do not make any relavance to the search intention at all. A conversation style of search seems to be more appropriate where the user refines their search criteria with continuous interaction with computer. This resembles more of how we search information in our day-to-day life. The search session will be more like a brainstorming where the user will feed more and more information about what they know about what they want. The system will then return a set of most relavant searches to the user. The user then will add more details of what they want and the steps will be repeated till the user finds what they want. At any point in time, they would also like to go back and start from scratch.

One of the positive step in this area is Semanti search engine. This search engine provides a list of suggested categories where a particular keyword is associated. This is just the starting point for semantic search. The semantic search engine should be able to let the user feed more (unlimited) details of what they know about what they are looking for. These details (provided by user) could be directly related to the result they are looking for or it might not describe the result at all. Knowledge reasoning is a major influencer in the search process. Reasoning is the core of the semantic search process and will determine how accurate the search engine is. While the search engine is designed for accuracy, the efficiency will have to be compromised at least for a while. One of the possible scenario these search engines will have to handle is percentage accuracy of result based on the search criteria. The more matching result should be displayed on top of the list.

So what is your idea of Semantic Search?

Until Next Time...!!!