Archive for the 'IR for children' Category

New DB group member: Sergio Duarte Torres

Monday, October 12th, 2009, posted by Djoerd Hiemstra

Today, Sergio Duarte Torres joined our group to work on PuppyIR, a European project that will develop an open source environment to construct information services for children. Welcome Sergio!

First PuppyIR search architecture

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, posted by Djoerd Hiemstra

PuppyIR: Designing an Open Source Framework for Interactive Information Services for Children

by Leif Azzopardi, Richard Glassey, Mounia Lalmas, Tamara Polajnar, and Ian Ruthven

One of the main aims of the PuppyIR project is to provide an open source framework for the development of Interactive Information Retrieval Services. The main focus of the project is directed towards developing such services for children, which introduces a number of novel and challenging issues to address (such as language development, security, moderation, etc).

In this poster paper, we outline the preliminary high-level design of the open source framework. The framework uses a layered architecture to minimize dependencies between the user-side concerns of interaction and presentation, and the system-side concerns of aggregating content from multiple sources and processing information appropriately. Each layer will consist of a series of interchangeable components, which can be interconnected to form a complete service. To facilitate the construction of diverse information services, a dataflow language is proposed to enable the assembly of the components in an intuitive and visual manner. One of the the design goals of the architecture, and ultimate measures of success, is to provide a “lego” style building block environment in which researchers and developers of any age can build their own information service. The poster provides the starting point for the design of the framework and aims to seek comments, feedback and suggestions from the community in order to improve and refine the architecture.

[download paper]

Jobs: Three PhD student positions

Monday, March 9th, 2009, posted by Djoerd Hiemstra

Position: Distributed Information Retrieval

The Database Group of the University of Twente offers a job opening in the NWO Vidi Project “Distributed Information Retrieval by means of Keyword Auctions”. The project’s aim is to distribute internet search functionality in such a way that communities of users and/or federations of small search systems provide search services in a collaborative way. Instead of getting all data to a centralized point and process queries centrally, as is done by today’s search systems, the project will distribute queries over many small autonomous search systems and process them locally. In this project, the PhD student will research a new approach to distribute search: distributed information retrieval by means of keyword auctions. Keyword auctions like Google’s AdWords give advertisers the opportunity to provide targeted advertisements by bidding on specific keywords. Analogous to these keyword auctions, local search systems will bid for keywords at a central broker. They “pay” by serving queries for the broker. The broker will send queries to those local search systems that optimize the overall effectiveness of the system, i.e., local search systems that are willing to serve many queries, but also are able to provide high quality results. The PhD student will work within a small team of researchers that approaches the problem from three different angles: 1) modeling the local search system, including models for automatic bidding and multi-word keywords, 2) modeling the search broker’s optimization using the bids, the quality of the answers, and click-through rates, and 3) integration of structured data typically available behind web forms of local search systems with text search.

See official announcement. (Deadline: 19 April 2009)

Two positions: PuppyIR, Information Retrieval for Children

The Groups Human Media Interaction and Databases of the University of Twente offer two job openings in the European Project PuppyIR. Current 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 ask for information. PuppyIR will create information search services that are tailored to the specific needs of children, giving children the opportunity to fully and safely exploit the power of the Internet. PuppyIR will develop new interaction paradigms to allow children to easily express their information need, to have results presented in an intuitive way and to engage children in system interaction. It will develop a set of Information Services: components to summarise textual and audiovisual content for children, to help children safely explore new information, to moderate information for children at different ages, to build new social networks and to intelligently aggregate and present information to children. PuppyIR will offer an open source platform that enables system designers to construct useful and usable information retrieval systems for children. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of the PuppyIR modules through demonstrator systems constructed in collaboration with the Netherlands Public Library Association and the Emma Children’s Hospital. At the university of Twente, a team of six senior researchers and three PhD students will cooperate in PuppyIR. One PhD student will work on user interaction design. The other two positions are described below.

Position 1: Analyzing and structuring textual information (at Human Media Interaction) Analyzing and structuring textual information studies how natural language processing tools can assist the organization of information in a way that enables children to easily access the information. The PhD student at Human Media Interaction will focus on information extraction, text classification, and story understanding and summarization on written and spoken data, for instance for questions or comments created by children (e.g., chats, blogs) and content created explicitly for children (e.g., stories).

Position 2: Multimedia content mining (at Databases) Multimedia content mining will develop database search technology that enables better understanding of the individual behavior of the child and consequently his/her information need. The PhD student at Databases will focus on concept retrieval, faceted search, query formulation assistance, and intuitive relevance feedback mechanisms that allow children to easily access the content of multimedia data sources, for instance for content sharing within online groups including moderated discovery.

See official announcement. (Deadline: 15 April 2009)

PuppyIR: IR for Children

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, posted by Djoerd Hiemstra

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.

An Image Retrieval Interface for Children

Friday, April 11th, 2008, posted by Djoerd Hiemstra

by Sander Bockting, Matthijs Ooms, Djoerd Hiemstra, Paul van der Vet, and Theo Huibers

Studies on information retrieval for children are not yet common. As young children possess a limited vocabulary and limited intellectual power, they may experience more difficulty in fulfilling their information need than adults. This paper presents an image retrieval user interface that is specifically designed for children. The interface uses relevance feedback and has been evaluated by letting children perform different search tasks. The tasks were performed using two interfaces; a more traditional interface - acting as a control interface - and the relevance feedback interface. One of the remarkable results of this study is that children did not favor relevance feedback controls over traditional navigational controls.

[download pdf]