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The Cheshire II project is developing a next-generation online catalog and full-text information retrieval system using advanced IR techniques. This system is being deployed in a working library environment and its use and acceptance by local library patrons and remote network users are being evaluated. The Cheshire II system was designed to overcome twin problems of topical searching in online catalogs, search failure and information overload as well as to provide a bridge between the purely bibliographic realm of previous generations of online catalogs and the rapidly expanding realm of full-text and multimedia information resources. The system incorporates a client/server architecture with implementations of current information retrieval standards including Z39.50 and SGML and XML.

Cheshire II system includes the following design features:

1.It supports SGML/XML as the primary data base format of the underlying search engine.

2.It is a client/server application where the interfaces (clients) communicate with the search engine (server) using the Z39.50 Information Retrieval Protocol.

3.The search engine (server) supports both Boolean and probabilistic "best match" ranked searching, and permits the combination of Boolean and probabilistic elements within the same search.

4.The search engine and graphical user interface support browsing through automatically generated hypertext links, through ``nearest neighbor'' searches and relevance feedback.

5.The user interfaces (clients) include a direct manipulation interface on Unix, Linux and Windows machines, command line and scripting interpreters using Tcl/Tk and support for WWW access and CGI scripting.

These design elements of the Cheshire II system represent a significant advance over the simple left-to-right matching of subject headings used in first generation online catalogs, and the Boolean keyword matching used in second generation online catalogs. The Cheshire II system was designed to be a next- or third generation online catalog using advanced information retrieval techniques to improve subject searching performance, help combat the twin problems of search failure and information overload, and to support networked access to global information resources using standardized information retrieval protocols.

Last update of this page 1998