Information Storage and Retrieval Course Work

See the class homepage for more information on the class.

Short Assignments

assignment 1: (Due Jan. 25)
Use Google,, and the Library of Congress Online Catalog to search for information on Cyril Cleverdon and his relation to the field of information retrieval. Write 1-2 pages comparing the three systems how they did and did not support the task.

assignment 2: (Due Feb. 8)
Learn about Lucene ( You need to install it and go through the "Getting Started" tutorial. What to turn in: Two pages describing the difficulties you had with installing and setting up the Lucene index/demo and how you resolved them. Also describe your initial impression of Lucene.


The class projects will proceed through a series of phases. There will be written reports and presentations associated with various stages. The reports will get longer at each stage as it is assumed that your understanding of your project will accumulate. Also, some of the text from prior reports will likely be appropriate for inclusion in later reports, especially the final report.

I will meet with each project team (of three to five students) individually a couple times during the semester to provide advice, answer questions, etc.

phase 1: Team Formation and Topic Selection (due Feb. 15)
Identify a collection of materials (must not be protected intellectual property ... e.g. copyrighted materials) and the characteristics of the content.

What you turn in: one to two page description of the collection and the content characteristics.

phase 2: System Design (due March 6)
Specify system design goals and create an initial conceptual design.

What you turn in: 3 to 5 page description of the system goals and conceptual design. This should include diagrams/drawings of the interface or interactions between system components and users in order to provide a sense of what the system might look like. This should include a description of the query language and IR models being used. Also, there will be project presentations in class.

phase 3: Prototype Implementation (due April 3)
Create a working prototype of your system.

What you turn in: 5 to 8 page description of the implemented system, including screen dumps of intended interaction by a user to perform their task showing how it satisfies the initial design goals.

phase 4: Final Report and Presentation (due April 26)
Write a report describing the collection and its associate information retrieval tasks, and your technological solution to these tasks (including design and prototype implementation). (Most of this material can come from previous reports.) Also include an empirical or observational study of how you would evaluate your system's success in meeting its goals.

What you turn in: 8 to 12 page final report, formal presentation in class.

Term Paper (for 670 students only)

Term paper surveying research in information retrieval
Students will pick a subarea within the field of information retrieval and write a survey of research within that area. They will also be expected to give a short presentation on this area to the class. WARNING: you must write your own text (copying and pasting from other sources is grounds for automatically failing the class -- not just the assignment.)

Important Note:
All reports are to be printed on a word processor or typed (no handwritten assignments will be accepted). It is expected that students will use correct grammar and spelling -- these are grounds to deduct from your grade. (i.e. use a spelling checker and reread what you wrote before turning it in)