The Q Query System
One of the major challenges for end users today (whether scientists, researchers, policymakers, etc.) is how to pose integrative queries over Web data sources. Today one can fairly easily input a keyword search into Google (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and receive satisfactory answers if one’s information need matches that of someone in the past: the search engine will point at a Web page containing the already-assembled content.
The challenge lies when an information discovery query is being posed — one that requires assembly of content from multiple data items, but has not previously been posed. The Q System attempts to provide an intuitive means of posing such queries.
In Q, the user first defines a web query form to answer queries related to a specific topic or topic domain: this is done by describing (using keywords) the set of concepts that need to be interrelated. The system finds sets of data sources related to each of the topics. Then, using automatic schema matching algorithms, it finds ways of combining source data items to return results.