An Interactive Customization Program for a Natural Language Database Query System
There has been ample evidence for some time, both from prototype systems and, more recently, commercially available systems that it is possible to build a natural language interface to a data base which allows access to data by naive users. However, these systems have been hand tailored to particular data bases, to a greater or lesser degree, by their developers. (Artificial Intelligence Corporation now trains customers to be their own data base linguists, but the principle of requiring a linguist as a customizer remains the same). It is generally recognized that a fixed, domain independent, natural language query system is not now attainable. Nonetheless, it would clearly be preferable, from a commercial point of view, if a query system product could be delivered to a customer without requiring vendor personnel to adapt it to the domain. This paper describes an interactive system which has the aim of making it possible for a customer who knows his data base but is unfamiliar with linguistic processing to provide an English interface to an SQL/DS data base.
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