PuppyIR: IR for Children

As adults we are keen to help children maximize their full potential. Developing children’s abilities to find and understand information is key to their development as young adults. The Internet offers children exciting new ways to meet people, learn about different cultures and develop their creative potential. In a world where Internet and technology play such an important role as it does today, it is absolutely necessary that children can assess the meaning of gathered information and can in child-friendly ways get engaged in interaction with content.

However, children’s ability to use the Internet is severely hampered by the lack of appropriate search tools. Most Information Retrieval (IR) systems are designed for adults: they return information that is unsuitable for children, present information in lists that children find difficult to manage and make it difficult for children to identify the relevant parts. Worse, almost all Internet search engines confront children with inappropriate material.

PuppyIR is an FP7 project that will help children search the Internet safely and successfully by the design of an Open-Source platform of child-friendly information services. These Information Services will be able to summarise content for children, moderate information for children, help children safely build social networks and intelligently aggregate for presentation to children. PuppyIR aims to facilitate the creation of child-centric information access, based on the understanding of the behaviour and needs of children. PuppyIR will provide a suite of components that can be used by system designers to construct usable and tailored IR systems for children and the opportunity for children to fully exploit the Internet. PuppyIR will develop new interaction paradigms that allow children to express their information needs simply and have results presented in an intuitive way. PuppyIR will contribute to the evaluation of children’s IR systems by the development of child-centred evaluation methods.

More info at: PuppyIR project page at NIRICT.

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