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In recent years there has been a great deal of interest in developing effective techniques for ad-hoc search and retrieval in structured repositories such as relational databases - e.g., searching online databases of homes, used cars, and electronic goods. In many of these applications, the user often experiences "information overload'', which occurs when the system responds to an under-specified user query by returning an overwhelming number of tuples, each displayed with a huge number of features (or attributes). We have developed a search and retrieval system that tackles this information overload problem from two angles. First, we show how to automatically rank and display the top-n most relevant tuples. Second, our system offers techniques for ordering the attributes of the returned tuples in decreasing order of "usefulness" and selects only a few of the most useful attributes to display.
Date of Conference: 15-20 April 2007