Abstract: A text search method, which is called an axis-specified search method, is proposed. This method is suitable for full-text searches of a large-scale text collection. In this method, in addition to specifying search strings, the user selects an axis from a predefined set. The system outputs excerpts and hyper-links that are ordered along the axis. The search strings express the specific subject of the search, and the axis specifies a general-purpose method of ordering results. Short sub-topics, which cannot be easily caught by statistical methods, are effectively gathered from the text collection. The user can get satisfactory results using a simple search string. Even if the number of results is very large, the user can easily survey them, because they are well structured. This method has been applied to an electronic encyclopedia and a newspaper database. In these applications, distributed descriptions that were related to each other could be gathered, and the user could discover their relationships from the results. For example, by specifying "semiconductor" for a search string and "year" for an axis, a table listing seven decades of semiconductor-related topics sorted by year was generated from newspaper issues published over a single year. By specifying "basin" for a search string and "area" (m2) for an axis, descriptions of the world's largest rivers were extracted from the encyclopedia and sorted according to their basin areas.
Introduction to this research theme: Axis-Specified Search (Thematic Search)