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While there's no shortage of museums, we have yet to find a museum dedicated to this book's field, a museum of information retrieval and its history.Of course, there are related museums, such as the Library Museum in Boras, Sweden, but none concentrating on information retrieval.Information retrieval is the process of searching within a document collection for a particular information need (called a query).Although dominated by recent events following the invention of the computer, information retrieval actually has a long and glorious tradition.
The book serves two very different audiences: the curious science reader and the technical computational reader.A cavedweller interested in searching a collection of cave paintings to answer a particular information query had to travel by foot, and stand, staring in front of each painting.Unfortunately, it's hard to collect an artifact without being gruesome, so let's fast forward a bit.For example, the authors include entertaining asides such as how search engines make money and how the Great Firewall of China influences research.The book includes an extensive background chapter designed to help readers learn more about the mathematics of search engines, and it contains several MATLAB codes and links to sample web data sets.In fact, Beowulf passed from oral to written form around A. The scribes' works were placed in medieval libraries, which initially were so small that they had no need for classification systems.Eventually the collections grew, and it became common practice to divide the holdings into three groups: theological works, classical authors of antiquity, and contemporary authors on the seven arts.(In fact, the root of the word parchment comes from the word Pergamum.) Unlike papyrus, parchment did not roll easily, so scribes folded several sheets of parchment and sewed them into books.These books outlasted scrolls and were easier to use. The heights of writing, knowledge, and documentation of the Greek and Roman periods were contrasted with their lack during the Dark and Middle Ages.Thus, the result of the child's search for information was biased by the wisdom and judgement of the intermediary storyteller.Fortunately, the invention of paper, the best writing medium yet, superior to even parchment, brought renewed acceleration to the written record of information and collections of documents. Later, monks, the possessors of treasured reading and writing skills, sat in scriptoriums working as scribes from sunrise to sunset.