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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 09:21 GMT
EU aims to improve net searching
Magnifying glass
Searching for what you want online can be frustrating
A European-funded project aims to revolutionise the way internet search engines work.

Some of Europe's leading academic researchers will work to find a way of making search engines behave more like humans.

Sorting information among the masses of unstructured text on the net is a growing problem for surfers.

The project's aim is to develop a way for search engines to work out the overall subject matter of a web page.

Knowledge tool

It is hoped that eventually the project will develop search engines that can emulate the human ability to assess the context of information presented and sort out irrelevancies before delivering the results.

Today's software makes us information rich but insight poor
Daniele Rizzi, European Commission
Project SEKT (Semantic Knowledge Technologies) is made up of 12 partners from the world of commerce and academia. It includes BT's research wing BT Exact and the universities of Sheffield, Innsbruck and Barcelona.

"Having to wade through reams of irrelevant and disordered information to find what you're looking for is frustrating," said Stewart Davies, chief executive of BT Exact.

"It undermines the internet's promise of immediacy and its potential as a tool for knowledge," he added.

The European Commission is funding a series of projects aimed at improving the way people interact with information technology.

"Today's software makes us information rich but insight poor," commented commission member Daniele Rizzi.

"People are overloaded and overwhelmed by the information they're bombarded with," she said, "we have to learn how to harness it."

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