|Frédéric Roulland, Aaron Kaplan, Stefania Castellani, Claude Roux, Antonietta Grasso, Karin Pettersson, Jacki O'Neill|
|The 29th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR), 2-5 April 2007, Rome, Italy.|
We have developed an interactive query refinement tool that helps users search a knowledge base for solutions to problems with electronic equipment. The system is targeted towards non-technical users, who are often unable to formulate precise problem descriptions on their own. Two distinct but interrelated functionalities support the refinement of a vague, non-technical initial query into a more precise problem description: a synonymy mechanism that allows the system to match non-technical words in the query with corresponding technical terms in the knowledge base, and a novel refinement mechanism that helps the user build up successively longer and more precise problem descriptions starting from the seed of the initial query. A natural language parser is used both in the application of context-sensitive synonymy rules and the construction of the refinement tree.