Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Text retrieval is a branch of computerised information retrieval where the information is stored primarily in the form of text. In short it is the study of techniques of retrieving textual documents relevant to the needs of a searcher.
Text retrieval became a field of study in the sixties. Initially documents (typically legal or scientific) were indexed by trained indexers, and assigned keywords. The keywords and a reference to the document would then be stored in a computerised database, and the user could retrieve any documents to which given keywords had been attached. Both indexing and searching were relatively skilled occupations.
The advent of full text searching made the job of the indexer redundant during the 1980s. Text databases moved from being large and centralised to local and personal, thanks to the personal computer and the CD-ROM.
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