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New Search Tool to ­nlock Wikipedia

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Swipe could help Wikipedia users figure out questions such as "Which actresses won Academy awards when they were under 30 years old in the last 25 years?"

Credit: Eric Draper/AP/PA

Researchers at the University of Cagliari and the University of California, Los Angeles have developed Swipe, a prototype plug-in that can help Wikipedia users answer complex questions that are problematic for most search engines.

The researchers say Swipe is designed for everyday users and does not require knowing a database query language. The researchers wrote the software using MediaWiki, the same software that Wikipedia is based on, but it draws its answers from DBpedia, a collection of 3.6 million data entries taken from Wikipedia's pages. Swipe enables users to take the data and create a tweaked version, calling up pages that match the altered information.

Cagliari's Maurizio Atzori notes Swipe could easily be made available as an option on Wikipedia.

"I like the idea because of its simplicity and the way it uses familiar Wikipedia info boxes to construct powerful queries," says University of Southampton's Nigel Shadbolt. "If we could build a query engine that's usable by all, that would be a real winner."

From New Scientist 
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