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Understanding Search Engines: Mathematical Modeling and Text Retrieval, Second EditionUnderstanding Search Engines: Mathematical Modeling and Text Retrieval, Second Edition

Michael W. Berry and Murray Browne

Software, Environments, and Tools 17

There is no other information retrieval/search book where the heart is the mathematical foundations. This book is greatly needed to further establish information retrieval as a serious academic, as well as practical and industrial, area. --Jaime Carbonell, Carnegie Mellon University.

Berry and Browne describe most of what you need to know to design your own search engine. Their strength is the description of the solid mathematical underpinnings at a level that is understandable to competent engineering undergraduates, perhaps with a bit of instructor guidance. They discuss the algorithms used by most commercial search engines, so you may find your use of Google and its kind becomes more effective, too. --George Corliss, Marquette University.

This book gives a valuable, generally non-technical, insight into how search engines work, how to improve the users' success in Information Retrieval (IR), and an in-depth analysis of a mathematical algorithm for improving a search engine's performance. …Written in an informal style, the book is easy to read and is a good introduction on how search engines operate… --Christopher Dean, Mathematics Today, October 1999.

The second edition of Understanding Search Engines: Mathematical Modeling and Text Retrieval follows the basic premise of the first edition by discussing many of the key design issues for building search engines and emphasizing the important role that applied mathematics can play in improving information retrieval. The authors discuss important data structures, algorithms, and software as well as user-centered issues such as interfaces, manual indexing, and document preparation.

Readers will find that the second edition includes significant changes that bring the text up to date on current information retrieval methods. For example, the authors have added a completely new chapter on link-structure algorithms used in search engines such as Google, and the chapter on user interface has been rewritten to specifically focus on search engine usability. To reflect updates in the literature on information retrieval, the authors have added new recommendations for further reading and expanded the bibliography. In addition, the index has been updated and streamlined to make it more reader friendly.


Instructors will find that the book serves as an excellent companion text for courses in information retrieval, applied linear algebra, and scientific computing. Because of the authors’ informal, conversational tone, readers with nonmathematical backgrounds also will appreciate the less technical chapters of the text.


Preface to the Second Edition; Preface to the First Edition; Chapter 1: Introduction; Chapter 2: Document File Preparation; Chapter 3: Vector Space Models; Chapter 4: Matrix Decompositions; Chapter 5: Query Management; Chapter 6: Ranking and Relevance Feedback; Chapter 7: Searching by Link Structure; Chapter 8: User Interface Considerations; Chapter 9: Further Reading; Bibliography; Index.

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2005 | xviii + 117 pages |Softcover | ISBN-10: 0-89871-581-4 | ISBN-13: 978-0-898715-81-1
List Price $41.00 | SIAM Member Price $28.70 | Order Code SE17
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