Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Donald H. Kraft


A methodology for the design of document retrieval systems is presented. First, a composite index term weighting model is developed based on term frequency statistics, including document frequency, relative frequency within document and relative frequency within collection, which can be adjusted by selecting various coefficients to fit into different indexing environments. Then, a composite retrieval model is proposed to process a user's information request in a weighted Phrase-Oriented Fixed-Level Expression (POFLE), which may apply more than Boolean operators, through two phases. That is, we have a search for documents which are topically relevant to the information request by means of a descriptor matching mechanism, which incorporate a partial matching facility based on a structurally-restricted relationship imposed by indexing model, and is more general than matching functions of the traditional Boolean model and vector space model, and then we have a ranking of these topically relevant documents, by means of two types of heuristic-based selection rules and a knowledge-based evaluation function, in descending order of a preference score which predicts the combined effect of user preference for quality, recency, fitness and reachability of documents.