Introduction to the special issue on advanced information retrieval and databases
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Information retrieval (IR) is the process of searching through a collection of data for information relevant to a user’s need. Rapid developments in hardware and software technologies have led to generation of tremendous amounts of data in various digital forms such as text documents, audio/video files and data warehouses. Searching for relevant information from such collections of data becomes more and more challenging. Besides an obvious expectation of fast performance of IR and database systems in general, there is also a challenge how to use them optimally, in particular, how to formulate queries or questions in order to get the required answers as fast as possible. Besides another obvious expectation that the answers should be of satisfactory quality, there is a fundamental challenge how the quality should be actually defined. With respect to both speed and quality, there is also an issue how to tune the systems and algorithms to match varying users’ preferences, varying queries,...