Course Mission Statement

This course is intended to prepare students to design, develop and use information retrieval and search systems. We will explore the practices, issues and theoretical foundations of organizing and analyzing information and information content for the purpose of providing intellectual access to textual and non-textual information resources. This course will introduce students to the principles of information storage and retrieval systems and databases. They will learn how effective information search and retrieval is interrelated with the organization and description of information to be retrieved. Students will also learn to use a set of tools and procedures for organizing information, and will become familiar with the techniques involved in conducting effective searches of print and online information resources and big data. The course also introduces the major types of information retrieval systems, search engines, the different theoretical foundations underlying these systems, and the methods and measures that can be used to evaluate them.

These topics will be examined through readings, discussion, hands-on experience using and constructing a search engine, and through exercises designed to help explore the capabilities and utility of different retrieval systems.  The class project will consist of building a search engine on a specific topic using open source search engine software.