Answering imprecise database queries: A novel approach

Ullas Nambiar, Subbarao Kambhampati

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


A growing number of databases especially those published on the Web are becoming available to external users. Users of these databases are provided simple form-based query interfaces that hide the underlying schematic details. Constrained by the expressiveness of the query interface users often have difficulty in articulating a precise query over the database. Supporting imprecise queries over such systems would allow users to quickly find relevant answers without iteratively refining their queries. For databases to support imprecise queries they must provide answers that closely match the query constraints. In this paper we focus on answering imprecise user queries without changing the existing database system. We propose to support imprecise queries over a database by identifying a set of related precise queries that provide answers that are relevant to the user given query. We present a domain independent approach based on information retrieval techniques to estimate the distance between queries. To demonstrate the utility and usefulness of our approach we perform usability tests and provide results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Interntational Workshop on Web Information and Data Management
EditorsR. Chiang, A.H.F. Laender, E.-P. Lim
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2003
EventWIDM 2003: Proceedings of the Fifth ACM International Workshop on Web Information and Data Management - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2003Nov 8 2003


OtherWIDM 2003: Proceedings of the Fifth ACM International Workshop on Web Information and Data Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA


  • Imprecise queries
  • Query similarity
  • Relational database

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems


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