Obtaining Precision when Integrating Information
Dr. Gio Wiederhold
Computer Science Department, Stanford University
Stanford California, 94305,
Precision is important when information is to be supplied for commerce and decision-making, However, a major in the web-enabled world is the flood and diversity of information. Through the web we can be faced with more alternatives than can be investigated in depth. The value
system itself is changing, whereas traditionally information had value, it is now the attention of the purchaser that has value.
New methods and tools are needed to search through the mass of potential information. Traditional information retrieval tools have focused on returning as much possible relevant information, in the process lowering the precision, since much irrelevant material is
returned as well. However, for business e-commerce to be effective, one cannot present an excess of data produced. The two types of errors encountered, false positives and false negatives now differ in importance. In most business situations, a modest fraction of missed
opportunities (type 1 errors) are acceptable. We will discuss the tradeoffs and present current and future tools to enhance precision in electronic information gathering.