Online Information Retrieval Techniques

last revised: 2004–02–16

This document is available in PDF format for US letter size paper and for A4 size paper. Do not print out this web page, you will get an incomplete document.

Course Description

This course will introduce the students to the theory of information retrieval and its application in large-scale commercial database system and on the WWW.

Course objectives

On completing this course, students


Students should have a basic command of the Microsoft Windows operating system because the machines in the lab run on this operating system.


Thomas Krichel
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548–1300
work phone: +1–(516)299–2843
private phone: +1–(718)507–1117

Class structure

Classes will be held in room 125 of the Westchester graduate campus of LIU, between 12:00 and 16:00. There will be a mixture of lectures and hands-on work in the lab. Provisional class details are:

0 2004–01–24 Introduction to the course and to Information Retrieval
1 2004–01–31 preparing to search and Dialog 1
2 2004–02–07 IR performance and Dialog 2
3 2004–02–14 vector model and Nexis I
4 2004–02–28 other issues in information retrieval and Nexis II
5 2004–03–06 Google and Amazon
6 2004–03–13 IR in P2P, relational data, OpenURL, and full-text databases

To print the slides in Microsoft powerpoint, press control-p to print, then under "Print what" choose "Handouts", and under "Color/grayscale" choose "Pure Black and White". You can also use openoffice to print the slides.

Class mailing list

A mailing list for this class has been set up. Students who wish to stay informed are encouraged to sign up.


The powerpoint slides of the intructor are the reading. The slides may point to other sources of reference as required. Database practice makes for a master searcher, only reading about them is not getting students very far. The session on Google will make use of a new book on Google hacks published by O'Reilley and Associates.

Some slides on teaching Dialog have been given to the instructor, mail him if you want a copy.

Some reference questions to work on are available.


Each student will have to prepare a search exercise and report as detailed in the first lecture. This report must not exceed 5 pages. Appendices will be permitted, but may not get read. It will count for 50% of total grade. It is due on March 20. The remaining 50% will come from quizzes held at the start of each lecture except the first. Quizzes will last around 10 minutes and focussed on a precise short answer. The worst quiz performance will be discarded when the average is being computed.

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