Document Type

Journal Article


As the number and diversity of distributed Web databases on the Internet exponentially increase, it is difficult for user to know which databases are appropriate to search. Given database language models that describe the content of each database, database selection services can provide assistance in locating databases relevant to the information needs of users. In this paper, we propose a database selection approach based on statistical language modeling. The basic idea behind the approach is that, for databases that are categorized into a topic hierarchy, individual language models are estimated at different search stages, and then the databases are ranked by the similarity to the query according to the estimated language model. Two-stage smoothed language models are presented to circumvent inaccuracy due to word sparseness. Experimental results demonstrate that such a language modeling approach is competitive with current state-of-the-art database selection approaches.