The development of new digital media (picture, video and audio technologies),
cheap storage devices on personal computers, and the introduction of the Internet, have
resulted in a significant rise in the amount of information which users can search in order
to answer specific questions of interest. This large increase in the availability of
information has not been matched by corresponding improvements in searching strategies
for locating and identifying relevant information. Whilst users access the Internet to find
new information they also frequently use it to locate information which has been useful to
them in the past. This is also true on personal computers, where the majority of searches
are concerned with re-finding existing information.
Traditional Information Retrieval and Internet search technologies return a large
number of results, many of which are not relevant. These query techniques utilize
keywords (often in the form of Regular Expressions) and Boolean expressions to answer
user requests. The queries are simply not expressive enough.
This thesis proposes a new search strategy, which depends upon the use of
contextual information when formulating queries. [Continues.]
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.