WO2001024049A1 - Method and system for organizing information - Google Patents

Method and system for organizing information

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Publication number
WO2001024049A1
WO2001024049A1 PCT/IL2000/000606 IL0000606W WO2001024049A1 WO 2001024049 A1 WO2001024049 A1 WO 2001024049A1 IL 0000606 W IL0000606 W IL 0000606W WO 2001024049 A1 WO2001024049 A1 WO 2001024049A1
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
item
groups
search
according
user
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IL2000/000606
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Uri Lev Tagger
Original Assignee
Smashing Concepts Ltd.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F17/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific functions
    • G06F17/30Information retrieval; Database structures therefor ; File system structures therefor
    • G06F17/30943Information retrieval; Database structures therefor ; File system structures therefor details of database functions independent of the retrieved data type
    • G06F17/30964Querying
    • G06F17/30967Query formulation
    • G06F17/3097Query formulation using system suggestions
    • G06F17/30973Query formulation using system suggestions using search space presentation or visualization, e.g. category or range presentation and selection

Abstract

Information system comprising an object locator (116) coupled to an index database (104) and to an item database (102), a dynamic builder (104) coupled to the index database (104), and a user interface (118) coupled to the dynamic builder (114) and to the object locator (116), wherein the item database (102) contains a plurality of items and the index database (104) contains a plurality of indexes respective of the items.

Description

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR ORGANIZING INFORMATION

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to method and system for processing information in general, and to methods and systems for organizing and retrieving information, in particular.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Methods and systems for processing information are known in the art. A conventional information system includes a database, which contains a plurality of records, each heaving a plurality of fields. The records are stored in a structured formation, according to a selected field for random access according to a given value of that field.

Methods for searching databases are also known in the art. Traditional methods employ search engines which search the database according to a user given query. The query is often defined according to a Boolean expression, including Boolean conditions such as logic AND, logic OR, logic terms. The search engine scans each record in the database and determines if each record either complies with the Boolean expression or not. The results are presented to the user in the form of a list or a statistical report table, sorted according to predetermined attributes and including selected information from the records. The Boolean expression is entered by the user in a number of known ways such as free text, selecting from a list of fields and typing in a value for each of these selections, and the like. After receiving the search results, the user may want to narrow the scope thereof. Using traditional search engines, the user adds terms using Boolean AND operators, in a trial and error process. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the user has no prior notion as to the effect of his or her additional terms on the search result list. According to other methods, known in the art, the database can be further indexed, according to other fields. Hence, records with specific values in these further indexed fields can be immediate accessed.

Electronic storage media today are capable of storing large amounts of digital information. The information can then be easily retrieved and displayed by an attached computer. However, in order to be useful, the information must be organized into units that are easily accessible and retrievable by the user. Many currently available computer systems for the organizing such information, rely upon organizational principles transferred from paper files and folders. For example, the concept of "folders" is typically used as the basic unit of organization for computer information, which is actually a metaphor taken from the physical world. The physical analogy progresses from folder to drawer to cabinet, and so forth, with each successively larger storage unit representing a higher level in the hierarchy. Unfortunately, such a system, although is relatively simple and easy to understand, does not fully meet the needs of users. Computers, and their associated operating systems, are capable of providing many more features and mechanisms for the organization of information in a more efficient manner, rather than relying upon a single organizational hierarchy. Although various systems have been proposed which attempt to use these capabilities to a greater extent, none of these systems provides an efficient and useful solution for the organization of information.

U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 to Lwewk et al., entitled "Method for accessing computer files and data, using linked categories assigned to each data file record on entry of the data file record", discloses a method for accessing computer files and data, by using linked categories assigned to each data file record. The "linked categories" of the method are also described as "hybrid folders", which can be used to contain information stored in different physical locations. However, the hybrid folders themselves are not organized according to an organizational structure such as a hierarchy, but instead must be manually sought. The user therefore cannot easily browse through the descriptions of the hybrid folders in order to locate the file of interest, but must know the particular combination of categories that would lead to the hybrid folder. Thus, such a method of organizing information may be difficult to understand and manipulate, without some advance knowledge about the categorization of each hybrid folder. Furthermore, the use of Boolean operators in U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 assumes that the user is familiar with such operators. This may not be true for many computer users today. These Boolean operators are needed in U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 in order to graphically create a 'search query'.

Another disadvantage of U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 is that the current methodology of ordering information in a hierarchical tree of folders cannot be used in conjunction with the disclosed method of this reference. Therefore, existing information would be difficult to assimilate in such a system.

A more useful solution would provide an organizational structure for a plurality of tags, in which one or more tags would be assigned to each unit of information. The user could potentially locate the same unit of information according to the selection of various tags, while viewing and selecting the tags according to various potential organizational structures. Such a solution would provide the most intuitive organizational structure for information, by providing both multiple tags for locating information, and multiple methods for organizing the tags. For example, in the systems existing today, when a user of an e-mail (electronic mail) program receives an e-mail message from a certain contact person regarding two projects on which they are collaborating, the user may have difficulty in filing the information. Assuming that the user has organized the e-mail messages in the system into folders according to the projects, for example, the particular categorization of this message is difficult to determine. The user may choose one project folder for storing the e-mail message, or alternatively copy the e-mail message into the folders of both projects or optionally create a shortcut in the folder of one project for pointing to the actual message residing in the folder of the other project. The above mentioned possibilities are all far from ideal, since the e-mail message may not be found when information is sought for one of the projects, storage space may be wasted for duplicate storage of information, or the information is non-homogenous, including actual messages with shortcuts to messages in other locations.

Furthermore, the user of currently available management systems may not easily and intuitively seek information by applying several unrelated characteristics together to locate a particular item or items of interest. In currently available management systems, generally a full text search must be used, which again has considerable shortcomings, as this search is textual rather than graphical, cannot apply to non-textual items, search terms may be difficult to determine, and so forth.

There is therefore a need for, and it would be useful to have, a system and a method for organizing information items according to a plurality of characteristics including, but not limited to, the type of information, the physical location of the stored information, and so forth. This system should then enable the user to simply and intuitively search for information using these characteristics. SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a novel method and system for organizing and searching information, which overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art. In accordance with the present invention, there is thus provided an information system, which includes an object locator coupled to an index database and to an item database, a dynamic builder coupled to the index database, and a graphical user interface (GUI) coupled to the dynamic builder and to the object locator. The item database contains a plurality of items and the index database contains a plurality of indexes respective of the items.

In accordance with the present invention, there is thus provided a profiler including a profiler interface and a dynamic builder, coupled to a search engine and to the profiler interface. The dynamic builder produces a list of groups, respective of a search result list produced by the search engine. Each of the groups is associated with at least one of the items included in the search result list. The profiler interface displays the groups, each group together with the number of the items associated therewith.

In accordance with the present invention, there is thus provided a user interface, which includes a search query group selection section, and a search result section. The search query group selection section provides visual representations of a plurality of selectable groups.

In addition there is provided a method for generating a searchable index structure, including the step of generating a plurality of groups from a plurality of indexes, retrieved from an index database. It is noted that each of the groups is related to at least a portion of an item stored in an item database and each group is associated with all of the items stored in the item database, which include the portion (e.g. attribute, content object, portion of content object and the like) . Furthermore, there is provided a method for searching an item database, including the steps of: producing a visual representation of a plurality of groups, wherein each group respective of at least one class, receiving a user selection of at least one of the groups, and determining a search query according to the selected groups.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which: Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of a system for organizing and retrieving data, constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a schematic illustration of a plurality of objects, contained within the item database of the system of Figure 1 ; Figure 3 is a schematic illustration of graphical user interface

(GUI), constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figures 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D are schematic illustrations in detail of the top-level branches of Figure 3, in expanded modes; Figure 5 is an illustration of the graphical user interface (GUI) of

Figure 3, after the user initiated a slice operation, constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figures 6A and 6B are illustrations of the graphical user interface (GUI) of Figure 3, at a later, more refined slice operation, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figures 7A and 7B are illustrations of the graphical user interface (GUI) of Figure 5, at an alternative, more refined slice operation, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 8 is an illustration of the graphical user interface (GUI) of Figures 7A and 7B, demonstrating result weight criterion calibration adjustment, constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 9A is a schematic illustration of one top level branch of Figure 3, after in an alternate expanded mode; Figure 9B is a schematic illustration of another top level branch of Figure 3, in an alternate expanded mode;

Figure 10 is an illustration of a method for operating the system of Figure 1 , operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figure 1 1 is an illustration of a method for operating the system of Figure 1 , operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 12A is an illustration of the graphical user interface of Figure 5, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 12B is an illustration of the graphical user interface of Figure 12A in an advanced mode;

Figure 12C is an illustration of the graphical user interface of Figure 12B in a further advanced mode; and Figure 12D is an illustration of the graphical user interface of

12C in yet a further advanced mode.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art by providing a method and system for organizing, retrieving and presenting a plurality of items, using a unique Boolean structure, which overcome the disadvantages of the prior art.

The disclosed technique provides a method, which includes a number of procedures, each novel and innovative by itself. In the initial procedure, item database is scanned and hierarchically classified, according to predetermined and dynamic criteria, and a hierarchical index database is built, including a plurality of item-groups, each respective of a plurality of items within the item database. In a later procedure, portions of the hierarchy are displayed in a dynamic visual structure, which further provides selection of item-groups and determination of Boolean operations there between, in a simple point and click operation (or numeral selection) without resorting to keying textual queries. It is noted that the dynamic visual structure can be in the form of a tree, a list, a matrix, a three dimensional complex representation, and the like.

In an additional procedure, the results of the query are displayed both as a list and further in a unique statistical structure, which further enables the user to refine the search query, again in a simple point and click operation (or numeral selection) without resorting to keying textual queries.

Reference is now made to Figures 1 and 2. Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of a system for organizing and retrieving data, generally referenced 100, constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Figure 2 is a schematic illustration of a plurality of objects, generally referenced 70, contained within the item database of the system of Figure 1.

System 100 includes an item database 102, an index database 104, an analyzer 106, an indexer 108, and a client 110. Client 110 further includes a category database 112, a dynamic builder 114, an object locator 116, a graphical user interface (GUI) 118, and a bus 120. It is noted that item database 102 can be an already existing database, external to the system. Analyzer 106 is connected to item database 102 and to indexer

108. Indexer 108 is connected to index database 104. Index database 104 is connected to bus 120 of client 110. Category database 112, dynamic builder 114, GUI 118 and object locator 116 are connected to bus 120.

GUI 118 is a user interface, which includes a display and an input device. The input device can include a pointing device (e.g., a mouse, a track ball, a touch pad and the like) an alphanumeric keyboard, a numeric key pad, a voice recognition module, a tactile input device and the like. GUI 118 can further include an audible output device such as a speaker or a bell. In the example set forth, the term "item" refers to an information record, respective of a DVD movie title. However, an item can include any data object which includes at least some data (fields or attributes) which can be classified. An object can include text, multimedia, graphics, animation, audio, video, and other types of data residing in any type of database.

With reference to Figure 2, item database 102 contains a plurality of data objects, respective of a plurality of DVD movies, structured in a predetermined format and order. Each of the objects includes a plurality of fields such as the text title 52 of the DVD title, the genres description 54 that apply thereto, the year 56 that feature film respective of this title was first issued, the studio 58 in which it was produced, the price 60 at which the title is offered, critic reviews 62, and the like. Item database 102 can further include content objects of the DVD title movies, selected audio or video samples of that title, the title itself, a concise description thereof, and the like. In the following description, an attribute is regarded a common generic property shared by multiple objects (i.e., some objects may not have anything to do with some properties]), whereas a content object is a property of a specific object (e.g., the complete DVD movie). It is noted that attributes can refer to a content object, such as the length thereof, and the like.

With reference to Figure 2, item database 102 includes a plurality of items, generally referenced 70, as listed below: Title 70A, called "Michael", is classified as a comedy, family and fiction feature film, produced in the 1990's by Artisan, and is offered at a price of $55.

Title 70B, called "King Lear", is classified as drama, produced in the 1990's by A&E, and is offered at a price of $50. Title 70C, called "The Birds", classified as a horror and action movie, produced in the 1960's by Allsop, and is offered at a price of $80. Title 70D, called "Get Shorty", is classified as comedy, family and action, produced in the 1990's by A&E, and is offered at a price of $70. Title 70E, called "Mary Poppins", is classified as a family movie, produced in the 1960's by CAV, and is offered at a price of $20. Title 70F, called "Animal House", is classified as a comedy and action feature film, produced in the 1970's by Capitol, and is offered at a price of $80. Title 70N, called "Fantasy", is classified as a comedy, animation and family feature film, produced in the 1950's by Disney, and is offered at a price of $60.

Analyzer 106 retrieves the attributes and the content objects of each of the items from item database 102, and determines for which attributes and content objects, a respective index has to be produced, and for which values thereof. In the example set forth in Figure 1 , analyzer 106 determines that genre, decade and studio, have to be directly indexed, according to the explicit values therein. Analyzer 106 further determines that the price attribute has to be indexed according to predetermined value ranges (e.g., in tens of dollars). The title attribute and critic review content object have to be indexed according to the content therein.

According to the example set forth in Figure 2, indexer 108 (Figure 1) builds an index for the genre field with the values, which are detected in the DVD title records in item database 102. This index includes the following index records:

According to the invention, one of the forms of indexing of items is in a hierarchical group structure. Items are grouped together into item-groups, and item-groups can be further grouped together as item-group-groups. An item-group-group is defined as an aggregator of item-groups. For example, Genre is an aggregator of the various types of genres (i.e., Action, Fiction, Family, and the like) and in some cases, has no relevance as an independent search (e.g., item-group-group Genre, merely indicates that the records has a Genre attribute. When all of the items in the database have this attribute, then a selection thereof does not make any difference as to the outcome of the search). In general, an item-group can include item-group-groups or item-groups and an item-group-group can include item-groups or item-group-groups. The number of cascaded item-groups and item-group-groups in a selected section in the tree is limitless. The hierarchical relationships between item-groups and item-group-groups can either be determined manually or automatically, using a predetermined set of rules. The above hierarchical group structure can be presented in the form of a tree as shall be described herein below. Reference is now made to Figure 3, which is a schematic illustration of graphical user interface (GUI), generally referenced 150, constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. GUI 150 includes a category bar 152, a main window 154, a search window 156, a text box 158, a tree 160 and a search button 162. At the initial stage, tree 160 includes presentation of top level branches 164, 166, 168 and 170.

The category bar 152 includes a plurality of category titles, which in the present example relate to ones which can be found in a conventional retail web site, such as DVD movies, music, books, games, auctions, and the like. It is noted that these categories can be further expanded to any type of item, file or object, relating to messaging (e.g., Email), inventory, currency, personnel, real-time events, and the like, category database, further includes information relating to characteristic similarities between the different categories, which are used when a search is performed on several categories, each including items having a different structure (heterogeneous item search). Accordingly, pressing more than one of these category titles, shall provide a combined search on both categories. A user can select a category in category bar 152, by clicking the respective category with a pointing device (not shown). When the user selects DVD movies 172, category database 112 identifies DVD movies 172 as the selected category, and directs dynamic builder 114 to build tree 160 of DVD movies 172. Dynamic builder 114 (Figure 1 ), builds tree 160 and the top level branches 164, 166, 168 and 170 of tree 160 are displayed in search window 156. It is noted that tree 160 can be built earlier, and merely presented when the respective category is selected.

The user can expand each of the top level branches 164, 166, 168 and 170, by clicking on the respective top level branch, which in the present example includes item-group-groups, wherein the branches associated with that top level branch will be displayed. The user can further choose to expand each branch, wherein the sub-branches of the selected branch shall be displayed. Each sub-branch can be further expanded, and so on.

Each branch and sub-branch represents an attribute of a DVD movie. An attribute can be of any known type such as text (e.g., comedy), numeral (e.g., 1990), alphanumeric (e.g., 1980's), numerical range (e.g., 1990-1992), and the like. In the present example, a branch can represent the decade in which the movie was produced (e.g., the 1990's), and the respective sub-branch can represent a range in the decade (e.g., the years between 1992 and 1994) and yet a further sub-branch can represent the explicit year (e.g., 1993).

According to the disclosed technique, the user can navigate within the tree between the branches and the sub-branches, by clicking on the selected branch or sub-branch.

Reference is now made to Figures 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D, which are schematic illustrations in detail of top level branches 164, 166, 168 and

170 of Figure 3, in expanded modes. With reference to Figure 4A, genre top level branch 164 is expanded, showing its branches 220A, 220B, 220C, 220D, 220E and 220F, namely Comedy, Drama, Horror, Family, Fiction And Action. In the example set forth in Figure 4A, the presentation of each of the branches 220A, 220B, 220C, 220D, 220E and 220F further includes a representation in brackets of the number of the items associated therewith. Accordingly, the user can learn that the comedy item-group is associated with one hundred and twenty items, while the family item-group is associated with three hundred and thirty three items.

Check-boxes 222A, 222B, 222C, 222D, 222E and 222F are displayed contiguous to branches 220A, 220B, 220C, 220D, 220E and 220F, respectively. With reference to Figure 4B, decade top level branch 166 is expanded to branches 230A, 230B, 230C and 230D, namely the 60's, the 70's, the 80's and the 90's, respectively. Branch 230D is further expanded to sub-branches 232A, 232B, 232C and 232D.

With reference to Figure 4C, top level branch 168 (studio), is expanded to branches 240A, 240B, 240C, 240D and 240E, namely Artisan, Allsop, A&E, CAV and Capitol, respectively. Check-boxes 242A and 242C are displayed contiguous to branches 240A and 240C, respectively. The user has marked check-boxes 242A and 242C. With reference to Figure 4D, top level branch 170 (price), is expanded to price ranges 0-25 $ (branch 250A), 26-50 $ (branch 250B), 51-75 $ (branch 250C), and 76-100 $ (branch 250D).

The disclosed technique further provides a unique and novel method for receiving a complex deterministic Boolean search query, without typing a single letter. Each of the groups is classified according to the groups or items associated therewith, so as to determine which of the Boolean operators "AND" or "OR" apply thereto, when it is marked as "INCLUDE" and used with other sibling item-groups (i.e., which are included in the same superior group).

The Boolean "AND" operator shall be assigned to an item-group which includes mutually inclusive item-groups (i.e., the same item may be associated with two item-groups which are both included in the same superior item-group or item-group-group). With reference to Figure 4A, the genre top level branch 164 is a group, which includes mutually inclusive sub-groups. With further reference to Figure 2, the first item 70A, is classified in the comedy, family and fiction categories and hence is included in sub-branches 220A, 220D and 220E (Figure 4A). For performing a Boolean "INCLUDE" operation on a selected group, the user has to click on the check box associated therewith, thereby marking it with the 'V sign. With reference to Figure 4A the user checks boxes 222A and 222F, thereby introducing a query which is "Comedy AND Action". A search according to this query shall yield only items, which are classified both in the comedy and action genres, such as items 70D and 70F (Figure 2).

The Boolean "OR" operator shall be assigned to a group containing other groups that are determined mutually exclusive (i.e., the same item cannot appear in two item-groups which are both included in a superior item-group or item-group-group). Hence, selecting both these item-groups as "INCLUDE" and using a Boolean AND operator there between shall result in zero items. Hence, when more than one of these item-groups are1 selected as "INCLUDE", they are Booleanically unified using an OR operator.

Another Boolean operator within the scope of the disclosed technique is the "EXCLUDE" operator, which can be assigned to any group. For performing an "EXCLUDE" operation on a selected group, the user has to click (second click) on the check box associated therewith, thereby marking it with the "X" sign. With reference to Figure 4A the user checks box 222B, thereby introducing a query which is "EXCLUDE drama". A search according to this query would exclude items, which are classified in the drama genre, such as item 70C (Figure 2). With reference to Figure 4B, the decade top level branch 166 is a group, which includes mutually exclusive sub-groups. With further reference to Figure 2, each of the items 70, was issued at a specific date and hence can be classified only to one decade. When the user selects two such groups as INCLUDE, by clicking on the checkboxes associated therewith, these checkboxes are marked with an "O" sign. With reference to Figure 4B the user checks boxes 234C and 234D, thereby introducing a query which is "'80 OR '90". A search according to this query shall yield only items, which were issued either in the '80 or '90 decades, such as items 70A, 70B and 70D (Figure 2). According to another aspect, when the user selects checkboxes 236B and 236D and at the same time also selects checkbox 234C, then checkbox 234D is also automatically marked with an "O" mark, denoting the Boolean operator which shall be used when including the item-groups 232B and 232D therein with item-groups 230C. According to a further aspect of the invention, the "O" sign is not used and a V" sign is used throughout the tree to denote INCLUDE. It will be appreciated that this approach may be regarded as less confusing for low level users. It is noted that the 'V, "O" and "X" listed above, are merely examples and can be replaced by any other visual indications, and further associated with audible indications such as the sound of a bell for INCLUDE and the sound of a car crash for EXCLUDE.

It is noted that the user selection process, by cyclically clicking on a checkbox is merely an example, and can be replaced with any other human interface procedure for selecting items. According to another aspect of the invention, directed for devices, which do not have pointing input devices, the checkboxes are replaced with numeric (or alphanumeric) marks. For example, checkboxes 222A, 222B and 222C are replaced with [ϊ], J2J and J, respectively. This is especially useful in small devices such as old models of cellular phones, which have limited input options, and do not include integrated pointing input devices. Accordingly, the user can select item-group 220A, by pressing three on the cellular phone key pad, thereby marking it for INCLUDE. A second press of that key, shall select that item-group for EXCLUDE. A third press shall un-select that item-group. Multiple character marks can be handled by defining a mark length, after which the mark is considered as entered, or by adding the use of special keys at the end of the input mark.

It is possible on a cellular device to assigne keypad numbers to various operations on the tree. For example, | ] and |δ] can go up and down on the branches, |δ] can open a branch and 0 can close it, or go up in the hierarchy. |δ| can mark an item-group as INCLUDE, while |θ] can mark it as EXCLUDE.

All of the above operations can be further extended to sub branches. In the example set forth in Figure 4B, the user selects the range of years 1993-1995 (sub-branch 232B) and 1999-2000 (sub-branch 232D) in the 90's decade. Hence, the user introduces a query, which is "'80 OR '90". A search according to this query shall yield only items, which were issued either in the '80 or '90 decades, such as items 70A, 70B and 70D (Figure 2).

The disclosed technique enables the user to produce complex Boolean expressions, using the above operations. The user can designate Boolean operations for selected branches, or designate Boolean relations between a plurality of branches. In the example set forth in Figures 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D the user has marked check boxes 222A and 222F with the 'V" sign, check box 222B with the "X" sign (Figure 4A) and check boxes 234C, 234D 236B, 236D (Figure 4B), 242A, 242C (Figure 4C) and 252C (Figure 4D) with the "O" sign. The respective Boolean expression reads as follows:

Genre=Comedy AND NOT genre=Drama AND genre=Action

AND ( Decade='80 OR ( Decade- 90

AND ( Year-Range=1993-1995

OR Year-Range=1999-220A0 ) )

) AND ( Studio=ATRISAN

OR Studio=A&E )

AND price=51-75 $

The user can alternate between the various Boolean operations, by sequentially clicking on the check-box. For example, the first click on the check-box marks it with a 'V, the second click marks it with an "X", the third click un-marks the check-box, and so on.

After selecting at least one branch, the user clicks search button 162 (Figure 3), wherein object locator 116 (Figure 1) searches index database 104, and identifies at least one item (e.g., a DVD movie title) which complies with the selected branches (i.e., attributes and respective criteria), and which satisfies the Boolean relation which the user had designated.

According to a further aspect of the invention the user can introduce a conventional text phrase, as a search query. This text phrase can include the entire query or a portion of the query, which is added with an "INCLUDE" operator to another portion of the query, defined using the above tree 160 structure. Hence, in addition or instead of selecting the branches of tree 160, the user can direct object locator 116 (Figure 1 ) to search DVD movies having a selected content object, by entering a text in text box 158, and clicking search button 162. The user can enter the text by employing Boolean operations, such as "INCLUDE", "OR", "EXCLUDE", "XOR", and the like.

With reference to Figure 1 , object locator 116 (Figure 1 ) 116 accesses index database, according to the selected item-groups and their respective values, retrieves the index records respective of these values and performs a slicing operation according to the Boolean expression of the query which is "Genre=Comedy AND Genre=Family". With reference to the above Table 1 , the item-group respective of Genre=Comedy points to item records 1 , 4, 6 and N, referenced 70A, 70D, 70F and 70N (Figure 2), respectively. In addition, the item-group respective of Genre=Family points to item records 1 , 5 and N, referenced 70A, 70E and 70N (Figure 2), respectively. Hence, applying an INCLUDE operator, between these two item-groups yields item records 1 and N (referenced 70A and 70N, respectively. Both of these items 1 and N are classified as "Family" and as "Comedy". It is noted that the above example performs a search for items in database 102, without searching the database itself and where the search query is provided in point and click operations, without typing. This feature of the disclosed technique is extremely powerful for handicapped persons which are not able to type, or for devices, which have limited keyboard capabilities, or none at all, such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDA) (e.g., Palm-Pilot Manufactured and sold by the 3COM corporation, Cassiopeia - manufactured and sold by CASIO, and the like) WEB-TV devices such as set-top boxes, iTV and WebTV, and the like. Reference is now made to Figure 5, which is an illustration of the graphical user interface (GUI) 150 of Figure 3, after the user initiated a slice operation, constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. GUI 150 displays a list of the search results in the result section 180. The list can include a plurality of items, which qualified the query of the search.

According to another embodiment of the invention, when no items qualify the query (i.e., the search results list includes zero items), then the object locator may discard certain mutually inclusive item-groups selected for the query to increase the scope of the search query, thereby providing some results for the user. Alternatively, the object locator may include certain mutually exclusive item-groups, which were not selected for the query, but are siblings of other mutually exclusive item-groups, which were selected for the query, so as to achieve the same result. According to another aspect of the invention, the object locator can discard certain portions within the search query, thereby potentially increasing the number of items in the search result list. Other such rules may be applied to modify the query, for providing a search result list, which includes at least several items.

According to a further aspect of the invention, a tolerance value is assigned to each of item-groups and hence, the object locator can discard item-groups according to the tolerance level thereof. For example, item-groups respective of price are defined at a higher tolerance level than item-groups respective of media format (e.g., VHS, DVD, BETAMAX and the like). The GUI shall notify the user when such query alteration is performed.

The number of search result items can exceed the number of items that can be displayed on screen at one time, in the result section 180. Accordingly, the result section 180 can be defined a scrolling list, and hence include a scroll bar 184. In the example set forth in Figure 5, only four items can be presented at a given time in search result section 180. The displayed items include the following DVD titles: "Michael", "Animaland", "Get Shorty" and "My Girl".

GUI 180 presents each of the result items, in a predetermined format, which can either be defined by the maker of the system, or by the user of the GUI, according to preferences thereof. In the example set forth in Figure 5, each of the presented items requires three lines, where the first line is used for displaying the name of the DVD title, the second line is used for displaying the price thereof and the third line is used for displaying the initial words from a summary thereof. GUI 150 further updates the presentation of each of the item-groups in the tree to indicate the number of items in the search result list which apply thereto. Hence, the number in brackets associated with each item is updated and item-groups, which include none of the items in the search results, can be withdrawn from the tree. Reference is further made to Figure 9A, which is a schematic illustration of top level branch 164 of Figure 3, after in an alternate expanded mode. The items associated with the genres in the list Comedy, Drama, Horror, Family, Fiction And Action are associated now with eighty, eleven, four, eighty, twenty one and fifty three items, respectively.

Alternatively, these zero search result item-groups can still be displayed in case that the user would like to use them in an alternate strategy search query. This feature helps the user to decide, which of the item-groups to include in a more refined version of the query, so as to limit the number of the search results in a given direction. For example if the number of items in the search result list is five hundred and the search result items in a non-selected mutually inclusive item-group is twenty, then by selecting that mutually inclusive item-group the number of items in the search result list shall be reduced to twenty (i.e., since all of the items in the twenty item-group are included in the search result list, an intersection operation between the search result list and the twenty item-groups, yields a list including only twenty items).

Alternatively, if the number of items in the search result list is forty and the search result items in a non-selected mutually exclusive item-group is thirty five, then by selecting that mutually exclusive item-group the number of items in the search result list shall be increased to seventy five.

In addition, GUI 150 provides a profiler section 182, which provides statistical information related to the search results. This profiler section is managed and controlled by the dynamic builder 114 (Figure 1 ). According to one embodiment of the invention, the profiler 182 includes a selection of item-groups from the tree, which apply to at least some of the search result items. The profiler further displays the number of items within the search results, which apply to each item-group, next to the representation thereof. This feature further helps the user to decide, which of the item-groups to include in a more refined version of the query, so as to limit the number of the search results in a given direction. The item-groups in the profiler can be selected arbitrarily or according to any given criteria. The profiler can determine any criteria for selecting the item-groups included therein, such as:

Item-groups, which include a large number of items in the database.

Item-groups, which include a large number of items from the search results. • Item-groups, which were previously selected by other users in similar queries.

Item-groups, which were previously selected by the user.

Item-groups, which comply with customized characteristics of the user, his general preferences, and the like. • Item-groups, which have the maximal number of items within the search result list.

Item-groups which have the minimal number of items within the search result list.

Item-groups, which were not selected for the search query. • Item-groups, which were predetermined for system 100.

With reference to Figure 5, profiler 182 provides a list of item-groups, which are relevant to the search results and include for example: • "Genre: Comedy (80)", denotes that item-group 220A of

Figure 4A applies to eighty items within the search result list.

• "Genre: Family (80)" denotes that item-group 220D of Figure 4A applies to eighty items within the search result list. • "Decade: '80 (20)" denotes that item-group 230C of Figure

4B applies to twenty items within the search result list.

• "Studio ALLSOP (33) denotes that item-group 240B of Figure 4C applies to eighty items within the search result list.

The profiler can sort the presented item-groups according to any given criteria. In the example set forth in Figure 5, the top presented item-groups are the ones, which are included in the query of the search.

Since both conditions had to be fully met, these item-groups apply to every item in the search result list (i.e., Genre=Comedy AND Genre=Family).

Hence, these item-groups exhibit the maximal number of items (eighty) within the search result list. In the present example, the profiler displays additional item-groups, which exhibit less than that maximal number, below the item-groups included in the search query.

The profiler 182 can limit the number of item-groups therein to the number of item-groups which can be displayed therein or provide a scroll bar 188, for scrolling in the list of item-groups.

The profiler 182 allows the user to refine the search results by adding conditions to the search query, which are selected from the item-groups presented in the profiler. In the example set forth in Figure 5, the profiler 182 adds a checkbox adjacent to each of the item-groups therein. The checkboxes marked with a 'V sign (referenced 186A and 186B) indicate that the respective item-groups were selected in the search query which produced the search result list. According to another embodiment of the invention (not shown), the item-groups, which were used in the search, are removed from the profiler and can be displayed in another section, which represents the current search query.

The profiler 182 allows the user to check additional checkboxes therein and refine the search query, by either reducing or increasing the number of items therein. The user can use any pointing device, associated with the device displaying GUI 150, to select any of these checkboxes. The item-groups, which are selected by the user in the profiler, are added to the search query using either INCLUDE or EXCLUDE operators, as shall be described further herein below. Reference is further made to Figures 6A and 6B, which are illustrations of the graphical user interface (GUI) 150 of Figure 3, at a later, more refined slice operation, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention. With reference to Figure 6A, the user clicks once on checkbox 186C, thereby selecting it and causing a " " sign to appear therein. Then, the user clicks on the refine button 192. As a result, the search query is updated and reads "(Genre=Comedy AND Genre=Family) AND Studio=Aristan", thereby including item-group Studio=Aristan in the search results, according to the type thereof (which in the present example, is mutually inclusive). Object locator 116 (Figure 1 ) repeats the slicing operation on the updated search query.

With reference to Figure 6B, GUI 150 displays the updated results in search-result section 180 and updates the item-group list of the profiler 182. Item-groups, which do not include items from the updated result list are removed and the statistical numbers associated with the remaining item-groups are updated. In addition, other item-groups, which were not present in the original tree, may be added, for example, since they have particular relevance regarding the search result list. In the example set forth in Figure 6B, the updated profiler includes, among others, the following item-groups: • "Genre: Comedy (20)", denotes that item-group 220A of

Figure 4A applies to twenty items within the updated search result list.

• "Genre: Family (20)" denotes that item-group 220D of Figure 4A applies to twenty items within the updated search result list.

• "Decade: '80 (3)" denotes that item-group 230C of Figure 4B applies to three items within the updated search result list.

• "Studio: Aristan (20)" denotes that item-group 240A of Figure 4C applies to twenty items within the updated search result list.

According to another aspect of the disclosed technique, the profiler 182 allows the user to exclude selected item-groups therein.

Reference is further made to Figures 7A and 7B, which are illustrations of the graphical user interface (GUI) 150 of Figure 5, at an alternative, more refined slice operation, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention. With reference to Figure 6A, the user clicks on checkbox 186C twice, thereby selecting it and causing an "X" sign to appear therein. Then, the user clicks on the refine button 192. As a result, the search query is updated and reads "(Genre=Comedy AND Genre=Family) NOT Studio=Aristan", thereby excluding item-group Studio=Aristan from the search results. Object locator 116 (Figure 1 ) repeats the slicing operation on the updated search query. With reference to Figure 7B, GUI 150 displays the updated results in search-result section 180 and updates the item-group list of the profiler 182. Item-groups, which do not include items from the updated result list are removed and the statistical numbers associated with the remaining item-groups are updated. In the example set forth in Figure 7B, the updated profiler includes, among others, the following item-groups:

• "Genre: Comedy (60)", denotes that item-group 220A of

Figure 4A applies to sixty items within the updated search result list.

• "Genre: Family (60)" denotes that item-group 220D of Figure 4A applies to sixty items within the updated search result list.

• "Decade: '80 (17)" denotes that item-group 230C of Figure 4B applies to seventeen items within the updated search result list.

• "Studio: Aristan (20)" denotes that item-group 240A of Figure 4C applies to twenty items within the initial search result list, which are excluded from the updated search result list.

As stated above, the user can determine criteria for selecting item-groups for the profiler. According to another embodiment of the invention, this selection is performed using special predetermined operations on the checkboxes, or item-groups. Figure 8 is an illustration of the graphical user interface (GUI) 150 of Figures 7A and 7B, demonstrating result weight criterion calibration adjustment, constructed and operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. According to one aspect of the invention, the user points the cursor 194 of the pointing device at an item-group "Genre: Comedy", presses the pointing device button and holds it in position for at least a predetermined time period. This initiates a weight change procedure and the display thereof. Weight bar 196 is a simple scale, ranging from zero to one hundred, and including a level indicator for the level that is set. In addition, GUI 150, at the right bottom corner thereof, provides a numeric representation of that set level, which in the present example equals eighty. Keeping that button pressed initiates a rise of the level indicator, thereby adjusting the weight level of that item-group. Pressing that button for the second time in the same manner, initiates a descend of the level indicator. It is noted key combinations and key sequences can also be predefined for such operations. According to a further aspect of the invention, the profiler approach can be coupled to a conventional search engine, for the purpose of refining conventional search result lists. For example, after the user has submitted a conventional textual query and received a plurality of results, a dynamic builder can analyze the statistical distribution of these results in various categories or predetermined item-groups, and provide suggestions for potential search refining directions, using a profiler section as described above. It is noted that the analysis is not limited to the search results, rather it can be applied also to the search query, to the database from which the search results were retrieved, previously analyzed queries and the like. It is noted that the same analysis can be applied to the innovative group related search engine of the invention, which makes it even easier, since its structure embeds a significant portion of the analysis.

Reference is now made to Figure 9B, which is a schematic illustration of top level branch 166 of Figure 3, in an alternate expanded mode. Figure 9B provides another method for selecting item-groups, operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the invention. The expanded tree is presented here together with a representation of a basket 238. The user uses the pointing device cursor 194 to drag item-groups into the basket, thereby selecting them for the query. The user can do the same with item-groups, which reside in the profiler. It is noted that additional baskets can be added (e.g., for explicitly determining excluded groups, and the like).

Reference is now made to Figure 10, which is an illustration of a method for operating system 100 of Figure 1 , operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention. In step 300, a plurality of items are retrieved from an item database, and then analyzed (step 302). It is noted that the format and characteristics of these items need not be identical or similar. With reference to Figure 1 , analyzer 106 retrieves item records from item database 102 and analyzes them. Each item is analyzed so as to determine a plurality of attributes, item-groups and content objects associated therewith

In step 304, the items are classified according to the attributes and the content objects, thereby producing a plurality of indexes (step 306). The indexes are stored in an index database (step 308). Finally, a plurality of item-groups and item-group-groups are produced from the indexes (step 310).

Reference is now made to Figure 1 1 , which is an illustration of a method for operating system 100 of Figure 1 , operative in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. In step 320, a request to display at least search structure, in at least one selected class, is received. With reference to Figure 1 , the user provides the request through GUI 1 18, according to the predetermined classes in category database 1 12. In step 322, a visual representation of the item-groups respective of the selected classes, is produced. With reference to Figure 1 , dynamic builder 1 14 generates a visual structure, which includes the item-groups respective of the selected classes. The generated visual structure is displayed on GUI 1 18. It is noted that this visual structure can be made to look like a tree, a list, a multi-dimensional structure such as a maze, a multi-level drawer system, and the like.

In step 324, a user selection of item-groups, is received. With reference to Figure 1 , the user selects a number of item-groups using the innovative mechanisms provided by GUI 1 18, as described herein above. In step 326, a search query is determined according to the selected item-groups and items, which comply with at least a portion of that search query, are retrieved (step 328). With reference to Figure 1 , object locator determines a query according to the selected item-groups and their respective position in the visual structure, accesses the index database so as to locate items which comply with at least a portion of that query (i.e., in case that the number of the results of the complete search query is not sufficient) and retrieves these items. In step 330, a representation of the retrieved items is displayed. With reference to Figure 1 , GUI 118 displays a list of the retrieved items, in one of a plurality of formats, such as those presented in Figure 5. In step 332, the visual item-groups representation is updated, according to the search results. With reference to Figure 9A, the number of items associated with a group is updated to be the number of items associated with a group, which comply with the search query. In addition, item-groups, which are not associated with any of the items, which comply with the search query, are removed from display.

In step 334, a limited number of item-groups is selected according to various profiling selection procedures. With reference to Figure 6A, some of the item-groups within the visual structure, are selected according to a profiling selection algorithm, as presented above and displayed in the profiler (step 336). At this stage, system 100 returns to step 324 and receives a user selection of item-groups, which can be selected either in the updated visual structure or in the profiler

Reference is now made to Figures 12A, 12B, 12C and 12D. Figure 12A is an illustration of the graphical user interface (GUI) 150 of Figure 5, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention. Figure 12B is an illustration of GUI 150 of Figure 12A in an advanced mode. Figure 12C is an illustration of GUI 150 of Figure 12B in an advanced mode. Figure 12D is an illustration of GUI 150 of 12C in an advanced mode. With reference to Figure 12A, GUI 150 includes a text-bar 200, a text cursor 202, and a local pop-up menu 204. The user clicks check-boxes 222A and 222F in tree 160, thereby selecting Comedy branch 220A and Action branch 220F from Genre root 164. When the user selects a plurality of Boolean operators in tree 160, then the respective operators, such as "AND", "OR", "NOT", and "XOR" are displayed in text format along with the selected item-groups and the selected branches. In this case, the selection is displayed in text-bar 200 in text format as "Comedy AND Action". The user locates cursor 202 after a selected Boolean operator

(e.g., "AND") in text-bar 200, and right-clicks in main window 154 with a pointing device (not shown), wherein local pop-up menu 204 is displayed contiguous to arrow 194. Local pop-up menu 204 includes a plurality of options such as "Undo", "Cut", "Copy", "Paste", "Search", "Select All", and the like.

With reference to Figure 12B, the user locates arrow 194 on the "Search" option of local pop-up menu 204, and clicks on the pointing device, wherein a root pop-up menu 206 branches out of the "Search" option. The options in root pop-up menu 206 are identical to the roots of tree 160 which is displayed in search window 156 (e.g., "Genre", "Decade", "Studio", "Price", and the like). Pop-up menu 212 further includes a "Search Operators" option, which when accesses, provides a plurality of search operators such as INCLUDE, EXCLUDE, boolean operators (e.g., AND, OR, XOR, NOT, NOR, and the like) hierarchy operators such as brackets and the like.

With reference to Figure 12C, the user locates arrow 194 on one of the options in root pop-up menu 206 (e.g., "Decade"), and a branch pop-up menu 208 branches out of the respective option. The options in branch pop-up menu 208 are identical to the branches of the respective root, as they would be displayed in tree 160, if the user had opened the root. A check-box such as check-box 210 is displayed contiguous to each branch in branch pop-up menu 208. In the example set forth in Figure 12C, the user selects the "Decade" root, and therefore the branches of "Decade", such as '60, 70, '80 and '90 are displayed in pop-up menu 208. With reference to Figure 12D, the user locates arrow 194 on check-box 210 of branch pop-up menu 208, and clicks with the pointing device, wherein check-box 210 will be marked with an "O", indicating to the user that the branch '70 is selected with an "OR" operator. The new selection is immediately displayed in text format in text-bar 200, as an addition to the previous selection. In the example set forth in Figure 12D, the user selects "Comedy" and "Action" from tree 160, and the decade of 70 from branch pop-up menu 208. Therefore, the selection "Comedy AND Action AND 70" is displayed in text-bar 200, indicating to the user the up to date selection that she has performed. It is noted that by right clicking on main window 154 and clicking the "Search" option, the user directs GUI 150 to display the tree in main window 154, in the format of a set of pop-up menus. Thus, the user can perform selections more efficiently, while viewing an up to date textual version of the selections at the bottom of the main window 154. This way the user can monitor her selections continuously, and rectify the selections if necessary.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather the scope of the present invention is defined only by the claims, which follow.

Claims

1. Information system comprising: an object locator coupled to an index database and to an item database; a dynamic builder coupled to said index database; and a user interface coupled to said dynamic builder and to said object locator, wherein said item database contains a plurality of items and said index database contains a plurality of indexes respective of said items.
2. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said dynamic builder produces a dynamic group structure according to data retrieved from said index database, said user interface displays said dynamic group structure and receives user selections of a plurality of groups within said displayed dynamic group structure, and wherein said object locator retrieves item records from said item database according to a query respective of said selected groups.
3. The information system according to claim 2, further comprising: an analyzer, coupled to said item database; and an indexer, coupled to said analyzer and to said index database, wherein said analyzer analyzes items stored in said item database, thereby producing item analysis, and wherein said indexer, produces a plurality of indexes according to said item analysis and stores said indexes in said index database.
. The information system according to claim 3, wherein said indexer further generates item-groups in selected ones of said indexes.
5. The information system according to claim 3, wherein said indexer further generates item-group-groups in selected ones of said indexes.
6. The information system according to claim 5, wherein said indexer further generates item-groups in selected ones of said indexes.
7. The information system according to claim 6, wherein each said item-group can be associated with at least another of said item-groups and at least one of said item-group-groups
8. The information system according to claim 6, wherein each said item-group-groups can be associated with at least another of said item-group-groups and at least one of said item-groups.
9. The information system according to claim 2, further comprising a category database coupled to said dynamic builder and said user interface, storing a plurality of categories, each said categories associated with selected ones of said items and respective ones of said indexes.
10. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said user interface is embedded in a device, selected from the list consisting of: a cellular telephone; a personal digital assistant; a laptop computer; a computer station; and a navigation device.
11. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said user interface comprises: a display; and an input device.
12. The information system according to claim 11 , wherein said input device is selected from the list consisting of: a pointing device, an alphanumeric keyboard a numeric key pad; a voice recognition module; and a tactile input device.
13. The information system according to claim 1 1 , wherein said user interface further comprises an audible output device.
14. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said user interface comprises: a search query group selection section; and a search result section, wherein said search query group selection section provides visual representations of a plurality of selectable groups.
15. The information system according to claim 14, wherein each said selectable groups is selectable as an included group.
16. The information system according to claim 14, wherein each said selectable groups is selectable as an excluded group.
17. The information system according to claim 16, wherein each said selectable groups further selectable as an included group.
18. The information system according to claim 14, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group.
19. The information system according to claim 14, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group-group.
20. The information system according to claim 19, wherein at least another of said groups is an item-group.
21 . The information system according to claim 14, further comprising a textual input field adjacent to said search query group selection section.
22. The information system according to claim 8, wherein said textual input field provides a query representation, at least partially produced according to selections of said selectable groups.
23. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in a drag and drop operation.
24. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in a point and click operation.
25. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in key press operations.
26. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in key combination operations.
27. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein said selectable groups are selected from a dynamically located list.
28. The information system according to claim 1 , wherein the location of said dynamically located list is determined according to a pointing device cursor, associated with said user interface.
29. The information system according to claim 1 , further comprising a profiler interface, coupled to said dynamic builder, wherein said dynamic builder, produces a list of groups, respective of a search result list, produced by said object locator, each said groups being associated with at least one of the items included in said search result list, and wherein said profiler interface displays said groups, each together with the number of said items associated therewith.
30. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said dynamic builder produces said list of groups, by analyzing said search result list.
31. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said dynamic builder produces said list of groups from a plurality of predetermined groups associated with items included in said search result list.
32. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said dynamic builder produces said list of groups according to the search query which initiated said search result list.
33. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group.
34. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group-group.
35. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said profiler interface is operative to receive a user selection of at least one of said groups.
36. The profiler according to claim 35, wherein at least one of said user selection comprises an include instruction of at least one of said groups.
37. The profiler according to claim 35, wherein at least one of said user selection comprises an exclude instruction of at least one of said groups.
8. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said dynamic builder selects said groups according to a profiler selection procedure, including at least one criteria, selected from the list consisting of: groups which include a large number of items in the database, which said search result list was retrieved from; groups which include a large number of items from said search result list; groups which were previously selected by other users in queries, similar to the query that was used for generating said search result list; groups which were previously selected by the user operating said profiler interface; groups which comply with customized characteristics of the user operating said profiler interface; groups which have the maximal number of items within said search result list; groups which have the minimal number of items within said search result list; groups, which were not selected for the search query that was used for generating said search result list; and groups which were predetermined for said profiler.
39. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said search engine is textual.
40. The profiler according to claim 29, wherein said search engine is textual and selectable.
41. User interface comprising: a search query group selection section; and a search result section, wherein said search query group selection section provides visual representations of a plurality of selectable groups.
42. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein each said selectable groups is selectable as an included group.
43. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein each said selectable groups is selectable as an excluded group.
44. The user interface according to claim 43, wherein each said 5 selectable groups further selectable as an included group.
45. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group.
o 46. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group-group.
47. The user interface according to claim 46, wherein at least another of said groups is an item-group. 5
48. The user interface according to claim 41 , further comprising a textual input field adjacent to said search query group selection section.
9. The user interface according to claim 48, wherein said textual input field provides a query representation, at least partially produced according to selections of said selectable groups.
50. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in a drag and drop operation.
51. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in a point and click operation.
52. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in key press operation.
53. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein said selectable groups are selected in key combination operation.
54. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein said selectable groups are selected from a dynamically located list.
55. The user interface according to claim 41 , wherein the location of said dynamically located list is determined according to a pointing device cursor, associated with said user interface.
56. Profiler comprising: profiler interface , and dynamic builder, coupled to a search engine and to said profiler interface , wherein said dynamic builder, produces a list of groups, respective of a search result list, produced by said search engine, each said groups being associated with at least one of the items included in said search result list, and wherein said profiler interface displays said groups, each together with the number of said items associated therewith.
57. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said dynamic builder produces said list of groups, by analyzing said search result list.
58. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said dynamic builder produces said list of groups from a plurality of predetermined groups associated with items included in said search result list.
59. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said dynamic builder produces said list of groups according to the search query which initiated said search engine to produce said search result list.
60. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group.
61 . The profiler according to claim 56, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group-group.
62. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said profiler interface is operative to receive a user selection of at least one of said groups.
63. The profiler according to claim 62, wherein at least one of said user selection comprises an include instruction of at least one of said groups.
64. The profiler according to claim 62, wherein at least one of said user selection comprises an exclude instruction of at least one of said groups.
65. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said dynamic builder selects said groups according to a profiler selection procedure, including at least one criteria, selected from the list consisting of: groups which include a large number of items in the database, which said search result list was retrieved from; groups which include a large number of items from said search result list; groups which were previously selected by other users in queries, similar to the query that was used for generating said search result list; groups which were previously selected by the user operating said profiler interface; groups which comply with customized characteristics of the user operating said profiler interface; groups which have the maximal number of items within said search result list; groups which have the minimal number of items within said search result list; groups, which were not selected for the search query that was used for generating said search result list; and groups which were predetermined for said profiler.
66. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said search engine is textual.
67. The profiler according to claim 56, wherein said search engine provides a plurality of selectable groups.
68. The profiler according to claim 67, wherein at least one of said selectable groups is an item-group.
69. The profiler according to claim 68, wherein at least one of said selectable groups is an item-group-group.
70. Method for generating a searchable index structure, comprising the step of generating a plurality of groups from a plurality of indexes, retrieved from an index database, each said groups relating to at least a portion of an item stored in an item database, each said group being associated with all the items stored in said item database, which include said at lease portion.
71 . The method according to claim 70, further comprising the preliminary steps of: classifying all of the items in said item database, according to a plurality of attributes and a plurality said content objects; associating each said item with selected ones of said attributes and selected ones of said content items thereby producing said indexes; and storing said indexes in an index database.
72. The method according to claim 71 , further comprising a preliminary step of analyzing said items, thereby determining said attributes and said content objects.
73. The method according to claim 72, further comprising a preliminary
step of retrieving said items from said item database.
74. The method according to claim 70, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group.
75. The method according to claim 70, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group-group.
76. Method for searching an item database, comprising the steps of: producing a visual representation of a plurality of groups, each said group respective of at least one class; receiving a user selection of at least one of said groups; and determining a search query according to said selected groups.
77. The method according to claim 76, further comprising the step of retrieving all of the items, which comply with said search query, from said item database.
78. The method according to claim 76, further comprising the steps of: retrieving all of the items which comply with said search query, from said item database, when the number of said retrieved items is greater than a predetermined threshold value; and retrieving items which comply with at least a portion of said search query, from said item database, when the number of said retrieved items is not greater than said predetermined threshold value.
79. The method according to claim 78, further comprising the step of displaying said retrieved items.
80. The method according to claim 79, further comprising the step of updating said visual representation, according to the results of said search query, so as to include a representation of the number of the items of said retrieved items, which comply with each said group.
81. The method according to claim 80, further comprising the step of selecting a limited number of said groups to be defined profiling groups, according to a profiler selection procedure.
82. The method according to claim 81 , wherein said profiler selection procedure, including at least a profiling criteria prois selected from the list consisting of: groups which include a large number of items in said database; groups which include a large number of items from said retrieved items; groups which were previously selected by other users in queries, similar to said search query; groups which were previously selected by the user which provided said user selection; groups which comply with customized characteristics of said user; groups which have the maximal number of items within said retrieved items; groups which have the minimal number of items within said retrieved items; groups, which were not retrieved for the search query; and predetermined groups.
83. The method according to claim 81 , further comprising the step of displaying said profiling groups.
84. The method according to claim 83, further comprising the steps of: receiving a user selection of at least one of said profiling groups; and updating said search query according to said selected profiling groups.
85. The method according to claim 76, further comprising the step of textually updating said search query.
86. The method according to claim 76, wherein said step of selecting marks a selected one of said selected groups to be included for said search query.
87. The method according to claim 76, wherein said step of selecting marks a selected one of said selected groups to be excluded for said search query.
88. The method according to claim 76, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group.
89. The method according to claim 76, wherein at least one of said groups is an item-group-group.
90. The system according to any of the claims 90-39 substantially as described herein above.
91. The system according to any of the claims 90-39 substantially as illustrated in any of the drawings.
92. A user interface according to any of the claims 41-55 substantially as described herein above.
93. A user interface according to any of the claims 41-55 substantially as illustrated in any of the drawings.
94. A profiler according to any of the claims 56-69 substantially as described herein above.
95. A profiler according to any of the claims 56-69 substantially as illustrated in any of the drawings.
96. A method according to any of the claims 70-75 substantially as described herein above.
97. A method according to any of the claims 70-75 substantially as illustrated in any of the drawings.
98. A method for searching an item database according to any of claims 76-85 substantially as described herein above.
99. A method for searching an item database according to any of the claims 76-85 substantially as illustrated in any of the drawings.
PCT/IL2000/000606 1999-09-27 2000-09-27 Method and system for organizing information WO2001024049A1 (en)

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