Industry Watch: Is 2007 the year of question-answering?

Robert Dale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Back at the beginning of 2000, I was a member of a working group tasked to come up with some guidelines for revamping my University's website.During one of our meetings, someone made the suggestion thatdecisions about howto structure and present information on the website should be driven by the kinds of questions that users come to the site with.Suddenly a light went on, and there appeared an idea for data gathering that might provide us withsome useful information. To find out what people really wanted to know whenthey visited the website, we would replace the University's searchengine by a page that invited the user to type in his or her query as a full natural language question. Appropriately chosen examples would be given todemonstrate that using real questions delivered better pages as a result. The data gathered would tell us what people were really looking for, more than could be gleaned from conventional search queries, and would therefore help usto better structure the information available on the website.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-94
Number of pages4
JournalNatural Language Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


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