Definition

intelligent database

An intelligent database is a full-text database that employs artificial intelligence (AI), interacting with users to ensure that returned items (hits) contain the most relevant information possible. This is in contrast to a traditional database, which is searchable only by keywords and verbatim phrases connected by Boolean operations such as AND, OR, and NOT. Intelligent database technology is in its infancy, and is evolving as AI becomes more advanced.

When a search is conducted using a traditional full-text database, the mere presence of keywords and phrases in a referenced file does not guarantee that the contents of that file will be relevant in a given context. An intelligent database provides expanded and more flexible options for conducting queries. For example, a user might type in a question as a full sentence. The database then provides a list of hits arranged according to the likelihood (from highest to lowest) that the resulting data contains a useful answer to that question. The AI may correct suspected errors (such as inaccurate spelling) input by the user. Some intelligent databases display synonyms (items with similar meanings) or antonyms (items with opposite or negative meanings) for keywords and phrases.

In order to derive the most benefit from an intelligent database, the user must formulate queries with forethought, phrasing them with care, just as is necessary when interrogating a person. For example, a user might type, "When will my computer be able to predict stock prices?" If this question does not provide satisfactory results, the user can ask a more specific question, or change the nature of the query. A search can be restricted to a particular computer, server, or network, or it can include the entire Internet. A search can be restricted to specific fields or topics such as specific products, world news, regional news, local news, business news, images, white papers, or the field of information technology. Queries can be limited to certain languages, geographic regions, or historical periods. An intelligent database can provide the user with a history of searches recently made, so if it is necessary to refine the search later or conduct another search on the same topic, the user does not have to start all over again.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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