Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Abe Lincoln as an awesome IR engine..

Here is my all-time favorite IR sketch.. written by Woody Allen, about a putative incident from Lincoln's
life. Read it with today's IR discussion in the back of your mind, and you will enjoy this already funny sketch
even more..

Feel free to blog-comment on any IR connections you made. 


  "like Reduced Shakespeare Company: The better you know the original,
the funnier it gets"

--LA Times review of "Dave Barry Slept here, A
sort of history of United States"


  1. Completely agree with your comment!

    Alen (User) asks (queries) Lincoln (Search Engine) something which doesn't make any sense, or better he is not able to frame the correct question. As a result Lincoln replies back (search result) that doesn't make any sense (No precision). But then there is Lincoln's assistant (feedback system) which questions the relevance of question. Then Lincoln revises his thought ("Long enough to reach ground" as best answer) and gives the answer as correct one in the end. Its what I think is an IR sketch (except I wish that search engine don't ask for bread, read money, any time soon!).

  2. This was a very interesting read.

    In IR do we actually consider the relevance of the question? (keyword query). I guess the basic idea is, no matter what you ask, you must get a reply. Lincoln did just that. He was asked a question (no matter how absurd) and he replied. I think the reply itself was directly related to the question.

  3. An analogy can be drawn between Mr. Haines to a User Query and President Lincoln to an IR system.
    An imprecise query (Mr.Haines's question) was put forth to the IR system, and a response which as per the system is a close match to the query posed, was given. The result seemed to make sense to the system, but is irrelevant to the rest.
    Also, the context of the query (pointed by Mr.Jennings) was disregarded.