Entity Search and Query Portals
Entity Search and Query Portals

The goal of entity search is to return entities (e.g., people, products, locations) relevant to a keyword query. The goal of Query Portals is to go one step further and return not only the names of relevant entities but a rich set of information associated with each entity.

Often, users issuing keyword searches are not looking for documents but for entities residing in a structured database. Consider a user searching for products (product search), people (expert search/celebrity search), businesses (local search) or locations (travel search). In early 2005, we proposed this problem and called it "object search"; (we were one of first groups to introduce this problem). This problem is now popularly know as "entity search" (it has started to appear as a separate track in conferences like SIGIR and WWW). The result of our early work appeared in 2006 SIGMOD conference.

Subsequently, we explored ways in supporting entity search functionality in a general web search engine. We proposed ways to integrate the functionality tightly into a web search engine. This work appeared in WWW 2009 conference.

We then developed the "Query Portals" system that returns not only the entity names but also a rich amount of information for each returned entity.  Some of this information is mined from query logs. The paper on the "Query Portals" system appeared in the Developer's track of WWW 2009 conference. We also demonstrated it in SIGMOD 2010 conference


Past contributors: Venky Ganti, Dong Xin, Sanjay Agrawal

Past interns: Dong Xin, Zhijun Yin, Rares Vernica