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   Automating Search Interfaces

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  • From: David Megginson <ak117@freenet.carleton.ca>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 20:00:41 -0500

Peter Murray-Rust writes:

 > Posted on behalf of John Petit

 > >One solution may be to use DTD attributes to cue the search engines.
 > >Perhaps a "LEVEL" attribute could cue the searchers to display
 > >interfaces to predefined levels. The example below shows that the
 > >"LEVEL" attribute means that the "numbeds" element should always appear
 > >in a search query, or at the top level or searches. Any elements that
 > >did not have this level 1 attribute would not be shown in the search
 > >interface. If the "LEVEL" attribute was not found in the DTD, the
 > >default would show all of the elements with search fields next to them.
 > >
 > ><!ELEMENT numbeds (#PCDATA)>
 > ><!ATTLIST numbeds
 > >    SNAME CDATA #FIXED "Number of beds"
 > >    LEVEL CDATA #FIXED "1">

You could generalise this idea so that, instead of giving the level,
you gave the element type name in a different (real or hypothetical
DTD).  In other words,

  <!ELEMENT numbeds (#PCDATA)>
  <!ATTLIST numbeds
    general-doc NMTOKEN #FIXED "div1">

In other words, you're saying that the 'numbeds' element corresponds
to 'div1' (first-level division) in the other DTD.  This is more
useful, because you can express richer relationships than simply the
level.  For example, you could specify that 'expletive-deleted' is a
type of emphasised phrase and that 'city' is a type of name:

  <!ELEMENT expletive-deleted (#PCDATA)>
  <!ATTLIST expletive-deleted
    general-doc NMTOKEN #FIXED "emphasis">

  <!ELEMENT city (#PCDATA)>
  <!ATTLIST city
    general-doc NMTOKEN #FIXED "name">

That way, a user could search for any type of emphasised phrase or
proper noun, no matter what the element type was named. 

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117@freenet.carleton.ca
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins@microstar.com

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