The structure of the book
The introduction presents some basic background material, demarcates the subject and discusses loosely some of the problems in IR.
The chapters that follow cover topics in the order in which I would think about them were I about to design an experimental IR system.
They begin by describing the generation of machine representations for the information, and then move on to an explanation of the logical structures that may be arrived at by clustering.
There are numerous methods for representing these structures in the computer, or in other words, there is a choice of file structures to represent the logical structure, so these are outlined next.
Once the information has been stored in this way we are able to search it, hence a discussion of search strategies follows.
The chapter on probabilistic retrieval is an attempt to create a formal model for certain kinds of search strategies.
Lastly, in an experimental situation all of the above will have been futile unless the results of retrieval can be evaluated. Therefore a large chapter is devoted to ways of measuring the effectiveness of retrieval.
In the final chapter I have indulged in a little speculation about the possibilities for IR in the next decade.
The two major chapters are those dealing with automatic classification and evaluation.
I have tried to write them in such a way that each can be read independently of the rest of the book (although I do not recommend this for the non-specialist).
Chapter 2: Automatic Text Analysis - contains a straightforward discussion of how the text of a document is represented inside a computer.
This is a superficial chapter but I think it is adequate in the context of this book.
Chapter 3: Automatic Classification - looks at automatic classification methods in general and then takes a deeper look at the use of these methods in information retrieval.
Chapter 4: File Structures - here we try and discuss file structures from the point of view of someone primarily interested in information retrieval.
Chapter 5: Search Strategies - gives an account of some search strategies when applied to document collections structured in different ways.
It also discusses the use of feedback.
Chapter 6: Probabilistic Retrieval - describes a formal model for enhancing retrieval effectiveness by using sample information about the