Foundations and Trends® in Information Retrieval > Vol 1 > Issue 2

Open-Domain Question–Answering

By John Prager, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA,

Suggested Citation
John Prager (2007), "Open-Domain Question–Answering", Foundations and Trends® in Information Retrieval: Vol. 1: No. 2, pp 91-231.

Publication Date: 21 Aug 2007
© 2007 J. Prager
Question answering

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In this article:
1 Introduction 
2 Overview of Question–Answering 
3 Evaluation 
4 Specific Approaches 
5 User Models and Question Complexity 
6 Discussion 


The increasing availability of music in digital format needs to be matched by the development of tools for music accessing, filtering, classification, and retrieval. The research area of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) covers many of these aspects. The aim of this paper is to present an overview of this vast and new field. A number of issues, which are peculiar to the music language, are described–including forms, formats, and dimensions of music–together with the typologies of users and their information needs. To fulfil these needs a number of approaches are discussed, from direct search to information filtering and clustering of music documents. An overview of the techniques for music processing, which are commonly exploited in many approaches, is also presented. Evaluation and comparisons of the approaches on a common benchmark are other important issues. To this end, a description of the initial efforts and evaluation campaigns for MIR is provided.

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Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. Overview of Question Answering
3. Evaluation
4. Specific Approaches
5. User Models and Question Complexity
6. Discussion

Open-Domain Question–Answering

Open-Domain Question Answering is an introduction to the field of Question Answering (QA). It covers the basic principles of QA along with a selection of systems that have exhibited interesting and significant techniques, so it serves more as a tutorial than as an exhaustive survey of the field. Starting with a brief history of the field, it goes on to describe the architecture of a QA system before analysing in detail some of the specific approaches that have been successfully deployed by academia and industry designing and building such systems. Open-Domain Question Answering is both a guide for beginners who are embarking on research in this area, and a useful reference for established researchers and practitioners in this field.