Automatic Retrieval of Biographical Reference Books

Cherie B. Weil


A description of one of the first projected attempts to automate a reference service, that of advising which biographical reference book to use. Two hundred and thirty-four biographical books were categorized as to type of subjects included and contents of the uniform entries they contain. A computer program which selects up to five books most likely to contain answers to biographical questions is described and its test results presented An evaluation of the system and a discussion of ways to extend the scheme to other forms of reference work are given.


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