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A FRAMEWORK FOR BASIC RESEARCH ON MECHANIZED INFORMATION STORAGE, SEARCH AND SELECTION

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128819D
Original Publication Date: 1960-May-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-19
Document File: 18 page(s) / 73K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

National Bureau of Standards: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The general problem of developing a mechanized information selection and retrieval system can be viewed in different ways. Perhaps the most common view of the problem and possible solutions has been that of providing the human user with various types of clerical and mechanical aids to increase his speed of performance or to enable him to achieve types of performance not otherwise obtainable. Searches that are both more accurate and more comprehensive than the human can accomplish in any reasonable time are obvious examples. Thus many of the partially mechanized information selection and retrieval systems that are successful have been based upon careful study of information storage, search, and retrieval operations and the mechanization of parts of these operations wherever such mechanization appears practical or economic. Feasibility of mechanization, in a given case, will depend upon many factors, specifically including real and predicted user demand, probable user satisfaction, and availability of adequate resources of knowledge, skills, manpower, machine capabilities. On the other hand, assumed limitations of both methodology and equipment may seriously restrict even the visualization of possible improved systems considered in the light of the underlying objective: ";delivering requested and needed information to the customer promptly, accurately, economically. In this report we intend to attempt a more ambitious goal than limited mechanization of ancillary operations. Instead, we propose to consider a fully mechanized system, viewed as a system, for achieving the stated objective. We will assume that user requirements, both explicit and implicit, have been determined and that these requirements control the scope of coverage of information items that are to be stored and the range of selection criteria that are likely to be used in subsequent search and retrieval. [ Footnote ] This is, of course, a generous and farreaching assumption. Given this, our problem here is to describe the general functional outline of a fully mechanized information selection and retrieval system. The term ";fully mechanized"; must of course be carefully qualified. It is by no means clear, nor will it become clear in this report, that full mechanization to the extent of complete elimination of human beings from an information selection and retrieval system is at all possible, or even desirable. However, the thesis will be developed that a much greater degree of mechanization than is commonly considered practical should indeed be possible, provided that certain formidable problems can be solved. These problems that require solution before radically improved systems can be developed are predominantly of a theoretical nature. It s consequently appropriate to define a framework for basic research whereby possibilities for theoretical developments that can now be foreseen can be outlined in terms of potential applicability to mechanized information storage, search, and selection. This is the first of a planned series of reports on potentially applicable basic research designed, first, to describe a more fully mechanized information selection and retrieval system; secondly, to outline the critical problems that must be solved if the proposed type of system is to be realized, thirdly, to attempt to give an indication of the status of research on these various problems where such research is in progress, and, finally, to indicate possibly fruitful sources of attack on those outstanding problems that have not yet been approached. [ Footnote ] In this preliminary report, only the first of those four matters is discussed. Brief mention is also given, however, to some of the obvious problems that will be encountered in creating such a mechanized system. It should be noted, of course, that there are many identifiable problems in the development of a mechanized information selection and retrieval system that are largely of an operational nature. These can best be studied by the techniques of operations research and by the careful analysis of user habits and the comparative characteristics of operating systems. However, it is not the purpose of this present series of reports to consider such problems except insofar as they are essential parts of the mechanized information selection and retrieval system that is being proposed. Thus, in particular, such important questions as efficient methods of presentation of selected information to customers, or economical methods for physical storage of documents -- better solutions to which would undoubtedly result in considerable savings of money and time in presently existing systems -- will not be considered as such in these reports on the framework for basic research.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

A FRAMEWORK FOR BASIC RESEARCH ON MECHANIZED INFORMATION STORAGE, SEARCH AND SELECTION

NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS REPORT 6850

A report from the Research Information Center and Advisory Service on Information Processing Data Processing Systems Division
To the
National Science Foundation
May 19, 1960

NBS
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS

Functions and Activities

The functions of the National bureau of Standards are set forth in the Act of Congress, March 3, 1901, as amended by Congress in Public Law 619, 1950. These include the development and maintenance of the national standards of measurement and the provision of means and methods for making measurements consistent with these standards; the determination of physical constants and properties of materials; the development of methods and instruments for testing materials, devices, and structures; advisory services to government agencies on scientific and technical problems; invention and development of devices to serve special needs of the Government; and the development of standard practices, codes, and specifications. The work includes basic and applied research, development, engineering, instrumentation, testing, evaluation, calibration services, and various consultation and information services. Research projects are also performed for other government agencies when the work relates to and supplements the basic program of the Bureau or when the Bureau's unique competence is required. The scope of activities is suggested by the listing of divisions and sections on the inside of the back cover.

Publications

The results of the Bureau's work take the form of either actual equipment and devices or published papers. These papers appear either in the Bureau's own series of publications or in the journals of professional and scientific societies. The Bureau itself publishes three periodicals available from the Government Printing Office: The Journal of Research, published in four separate sections, presents complete scientific and technical papers; the Technical News Bulletin presents summary and preliminary reports on work in progress; and Basic Radio Propagation Predictions provides data for determining the best frequencies to use for radio communications throughout the world There are also five series of nonperiodical publications: Monographs, Applied Mathematics Series, Handbooks, Miscellaneous Publications, and Technical Notes.

Information on the Bureau's publications can be found in NBS Circular 460, Publications of the National Bureau of Standards ($1.25) and its Supplement ($1.50), available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C. NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS REPORT
NBS PROJECT 1205-12-12456

National Bureau of Standards Page 1 May 19, 1960

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A FRAMEWORK FOR BASIC RESEARCH ON MECHANIZED INFORMATION STO...