Information Retrieval (IR) deals primarily with computer-assisted searching in digital document holdings, such as, for example, classical literature databases, or complex fact databases. In recent years web searching, also known as web-retrieval, has become increasingly important. A fundamental goal of IR research is the development of models optimizing the rate of relevant hits delivered by a search.
GESIS is actively researching in the area of IR, particularly in the application of bibliometric techniques, network analysis, automatic classification and retrieval evaluation. The research-related results serve to improve the information portals developed by GESIS. In addition to methods generally supporting searches, such as interactive search term suggestion, there is currently a focus on developing a domain-specific IR-service, particularly aimed at benefiting social scientists. Procedures developed by GESIS aid in determining the essential publications and central actors of the social science community, for example, and this information can be used to support a targeted search.
The GESIS produced social science portal sowiport plays a central role in this. It contains more than 7 million literature references as well as fulltext, study descriptions, institutions and events. Integrated searching across all of these very diverse data collections is one of the central challenges for the research field of Information Retrieval at GESIS.