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A method and process for improving the relevance of version specific technical search queries.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000222587D
Publication Date: 2012-Oct-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 79K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

When searching for solutions to technical problems relating to a particular piece of software, users may 'scope' their query to the version of the software they are using to ensure they are only returned results relevant to their version. This practice may also exclude otherwise relevant results that pertain to a different version of the software. This article describes a method and process for ensuring that such relevant results are still returned to the user even though the search query excludes them.

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A method and process for improving the relevance of version specific technical search queries.

Disclosed is a method and process for returning the most relevant possible results for a version specific technical search query. The disclosed method and process first identifies the subject of the search query and the version it is scoped to before determining what other versions of the software the same query would be relevant to. The search query is then modified and run such that it includes relevant results that would otherwise have been excluded by the original query.

Background

    Many people use web search engines to search for solutions to technical problems or questions regarding a specific piece of software that they are using. Typically, a user would search for a technical topic, component or feature and 'scope' their search to a specific version to ensure that they receive relevant results. For example, a user may search for "Setting up ABC bindings on Application* 8" - in this query, "setting up ABC bindings" is the technical topic and "Application 8" is the version to which the results should be scoped.

The Problem

    Often, certain components of software remain identical or nearly so between different versions. For example, the process of setting up ABC bindings may be identical between Application v7 and v8 (even though other components of the server have changed). This causes a problem when searching for help on that particular subject - if the user searches for "Setting up ABC bindings on Application v8" they may exclude (otherwise relevant) results that pertain to Application v7. Similarly, searching for "Setting up ABC bindings on Application v7" may exclude relevant results that were written with Application v8 in mind. Removing the version number and searching for "Setting up ABC bindings on Application" would return (relevant) results written for versions 7 and 8, but may also introduce irrelevant results from versions of Application (ie. v6.1, v8.5) in which the process of setting up ABC bindings may be different from versions 7 and 8.

    The problem is that (without foreknowledge of the subject area - see below), it is impossible to write a single search query that would return all relevant results when searching for a component of particular version of a piece of software. Existing Partial Solutions

    If a user is aware that a particular component has remained unchanged between two or more versions, they may be able to construct a search query that would return all relevant results, for example:
" Setting up ABC bindings on "Application v7" OR "Application v8" "

    They may even go so far as to specifically exclude versions that they know are not relevant to their search:
" Setting up ABC bindings on ("Application v7" OR "Application v8") NOT ("Application v.1" OR "Application v8.5") "

    However, this would require detailed foreknowledge of the subject area and the syntax and capabilities of the search engine in use - somethin...