Table 1.1 DATA RETRIEVAL OR INFORMATION RETRIEVAL?
|Data Retrieval (DR)||Information Retrieval (IR)|
|Matching||Exact match||Partial match, best match|
between the two is a vague one.
And so it is, but it is a useful one in that it illustrates the range of complexity associated with each mode of retrieval.
Let us now take each item in the table in turn and look at it more closely.
In data retrieval we are normally looking for an exact match, that is, we are checking to see whether an item is or is not present in the file.
In information retrieval this may sometimes be of interest but more generally we want to find those items which partially match the request and then select from those a few of the best matching ones.
The inference used in data retrieval is of the simple deductive kind, that is, aRb and bRc then aRc.
In information retrieval it is far more common to use inductive inference; relations are only specified with a degree of certainty or uncertainty and hence our confidence in the inference is variable.
This distinction leads one to describe data retrieval as deterministic but information retrieval as probabilistic.
Frequently Bayes' Theorem is invoked to carry out inferences in IR, but in DR probabilities do not enter into the processing.
Another distinction can be made in terms of classifications that are likely to be useful.
In DR we are most likely to be interested in a monothetic classification, that is, one with classes defined by objects possessing attributes both necessary and sufficient to belong to a class.
In IR such a classification is on the whole not very useful, in fact more often a polythetic classification is what is wanted.
In such a classification each individual in a class will possess only a proportion of all the attributes possessed by all the members of that class.
Hence no attribute is necessary nor sufficient for membership to a class.
The query language for DR will generally be of the artificial kind, one with restricted syntax and vocabulary, in IR we prefer to use natural language although there are some notable exceptions.
In DR the query is generally a complete specification of what is wanted, in IR it is invariably incomplete.
This last difference arises partly from the fact