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Patent 2557389 Summary

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Claims and Abstract availability

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(12) Patent Application: (11) CA 2557389
(54) English Title: METHOD AND APPARATUS OF VISUAL REPRESENTATIONS OF SEARCH RESULTS
(54) French Title: METHODE ET DISPOSITIF DE REPRESENTATIONS VISUELLES DES RESULTATS DE RECHERCHES
Status: Dead
Bibliographic Data
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • G06F 16/9538 (2019.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • HOEBER, ORLAND (Canada)
  • YANG, XUE DONG (Canada)
(73) Owners :
  • UNIVERSITY OF REGINA (Canada)
(71) Applicants :
  • UNIVERSITY OF REGINA (Canada)
(74) Agent: GOWLING WLG (CANADA) LLP
(74) Associate agent:
(45) Issued:
(22) Filed Date: 2006-08-28
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2008-02-28
Examination requested: 2011-08-24
Availability of licence: N/A
(25) Language of filing: English

Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT): No

(30) Application Priority Data: None

Abstracts

English Abstract





A method and system of visually coding search results is provided. Using a
search query
containing a plurality of search terms, a web search is conducted and a set of
search
results is obtained. Occurrence frequencies of the search terms in the
returned document
are tallied and used to formulate a number of occurrence indicators having
color shades
based on the occurrence frequencies of the search terms. The search results
are then
displayed in two levels of detail with a fust portion of the search results
displayed in a
first format and a second portion displayed in a second format. The occurrence
indicators
for the search terms are displayed beside each returned document to indicate
to a user the
frequency of the search terms in the search results.


Claims

Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.





-Page 28-

CLAIMS


What is claimed is:


1. A method of visually coding search results, the method comprising:


using a search query containing a plurality of search terms to conduct a
search of
a plurality of computer readable documents and obtain search results
containing a
list of returned documents;


for each returned document in the list, determining an occurrence frequency of
a
first search term in the returned document and formulating an occurrence
indicator having a color shade based on the occurrence frequency for the first

search term; and


displaying a first portion of the list in a first format on a display screen,
and
simultaneously displaying a second portion of the list in a second format on
the
display screen, wherein the occurrence indicator for the first search term is
displayed beside each returned document in the first format and second format,




-Page 29-


wherein the number of returned documents displayed in the first portion is
greater
than the number of returned documents displayed in the second portion.


2. The method of Claim 1 wherein the first portion of the list contains the
second
portion of the list.


3. The method of Claim 2 further comprising indicating all of the returned
documents in the first portion of the list in the first format that are
contained in the
second portion of the list in the second format.


4. The method of Claim 3 further comprising in response to a user selecting a
new
second portion of the list to be displayed in the second format, displaying
the new
second portion of the list in the second format and updating the first portion
of the
list displayed in the first format to indicate the returned documents in the
first
portion of the list in the first format that are contained in the new second
portion
of the list.


5. The method of Claim 4 wherein the returned documents in the fust format are

displayed smaller than the returned document in the second format.




-Page 30-


6. The method of Claim 5 wherein the returned documents in the first format
comprise an unreadable title representation and the returned documents in the
second format comprise a readable title.


7. The method of Claim 6 wherein each of the occurrence indicators displayed
with
the returned documents in the first format is displayed using a single pixel.


8. The method of Claim 6 wherein each returned document is a document
surrogate
describing one of the plurality of computer readable documents and each
document surrogate contains a title and a summary of the described computer
readable document and the occurrence frequency of the first search term is
based
on the occurrence of the first search term in the summary and title of the
document surrogate.


9. The method of Claim 4 further comprising:


for each returned document in the list, determining an occurrence frequency of
a
second search term in the returned document and formulating an occurrence
indicator having a color shade based on the occurrence frequency for the
second
search term;




-Page 31-

displaying the occurrence indicator for the first search term and second
search
term beside each returned document in the fust format and second format; and


in response to a user selecting a sort based on the second search term
resorting the
list based on the second search term.


10. A data processing system for visually coding search results, the data
processing
system comprising:


at least one processor;


a memory operatively coupled to the at least one processor,

a display device operative to display data; and


a program module stored in the memory and operative for providing
instructions to the at least one processor, the at least one processor
responsive to the instructions of the program module, the program module
operative for:


using a search query containing a plurality of search terms to
request a search of a plurality of computer readable documents and
obtain search results containing a list of returned documents;




-Page 32-


for each returned document in the list, determining an occurrence
frequency of a first search term in the returned document and
formulating an occurrence indicator having a color shade based on
the occurrence frequency for the first search term; and


displaying a first portion of the list in a first format on the display
screen, and simultaneously displaying a second portion of the list
in a second format on the display screen, wherein the occurrence
indicator for the first search term is displayed beside each returned
document in the first format and second format,


wherein the number of returned documents displayed in the first portion is
greater
than the number of returned documents displayed in the second portion.


11. The data processing system of Claim 10 wherein the first portion of the
list
contains the second portion of the list.


12. The data processing system of Claim 11 wherein the program module is
further
operative for indicating all of the returned documents in the first portion of
the list
in the first format that are contained in the second portion of the list in
the second
format.




-Page 33-

13. The data processing system of Claim 12 wherein the program module is
further

operative in response to a user selecting a new second portion of the list to
be
displayed in the second format, displaying the new second portion of the list
in
the second format and updating the first portion of the list displayed in the
first
format to indicate the returned documents in the first portion of the list in
the first
format that are contained in the new second portion of the list.


14. The data processing system of Claim 13 wherein the returned documents in
the
first format are displayed smaller than the returned document in the second
format.


15. The data processing system of Claim 14 wherein the returned documents in
the
first format comprise an unreadable title representation and the returned
documents in the second format comprise a readable title.


16. The data processing system of Claim 15 wherein each of the occurrence
indicators
displayed with the returned documents in the first format is displayed using a

single pixel.


17. The data processing system of Claim 15 wherein each returned document is a

document surrogate describing one of the plurality of computer readable
documents and each document surrogate contains a title and a summary of the




-Page 34-


described computer readable document and the occurrence frequency of the first

search term is based on the occurrence of the first search term in the summary
and
title of the document surrogate.


18. The data processing system of Claim 17 further comprising:

for each returned document in the list, determining an occurrence frequency of
a
second search term in the returned document and formulating an occurrence
indicator having a color shade based on the occurrence frequency for the
second
search term;

displaying the occurrence indicator for the first search term and second
search
term beside each returned document in the first format and second format; and

in response to a user selecting a sort based on the second search term
resorting the
list based on the second search term.


19. A data processing system product comprising a computer useable medium
including a computer readable program for visually coding search results,
wherein
the computer readable program when executed on a data processing system
causes the data processing system to:




-Page 35-



use a search query containing a plurality of search terms to request a
search of a plurality of computer readable documents and obtain search
results containing a list of returned documents;

for each returned document in the list, determine an occurrence frequency
of a first search term in the returned document and formulating an
occurrence indicator having a color shade based on the occurrence
frequency for the first search term; and

display a first portion of the list in a first format on a display screen, and

simultaneously display a second portion of the list in a second format on
the display screen, wherein the occurrence indicator for the first search
term is displayed beside each returned document in the first format and
second format,

wherein the number of returned documents displayed in the first portion is
greater
than the number of returned documents displayed in the second portion.


20. The data processing system product of Claim 19 wherein the first portion
of the
list contains the second portion of the list.





-Page 36-



21. The data processing system product of Claim 20 wherein the program module
is

further operative to indicate all of the returned documents in the first
portion of
the list in the first format that are contained in the second portion of the
list in the
second format.


22. The data processing system product of Claim 21 wherein the program module
is
further operative to in response to a user selecting a new second portion of
the list
to be displayed in the second format, display the new second portion of the
list in
the second format and update the first portion of the list displayed in the
first
format to indicate the returned documents in the first portion of the list in
the first
format that are contained in the new second portion of the list.


23. The data processing system product of Claim 22 wherein the returned
documents
in the first format are displayed smaller than the returned document in the
second
format.


24. The data processing system product of Claim 23 wherein the returned
documents
in the first format comprise an unreadable title representation and the
returned
documents in the second format comprise a readable title.


25. The data processing system product of Claim 24 wherein each returned
document
is a document surrogate describing one of the plurality of computer readable




-Page 37-



documents and each document surrogate contains a title and a summary of the
described computer readable document and the occurrence frequency of the first

search term is based on the occurrence of the first search term in the summary
and
title of the document surrogate.

Description

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.



CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page2-

METHOD AND APPARATUS OF VLSUAL REPRESENTATIONS OF SEARCH
RESULTS

This invention is in the field of search techniques used by search engines and
more
specifically methods and systems for displaying the results of searches.

BACKGROUND
to The World Wide Web has given computer users on the internet access to vast
amounts of
information in the form of billons of Web pages. Each of these pages can be
accessed
directly by a user typing the URL (universal resource locator) of a web page
into a web
browser on the user's computer, but often a person is more likely to access a
website by
finding it with the use of a search engine. A search engine allows a user to
input a search

query made up of words or terms that a user thinks will be used in the web
pages
containing the information he or she is looking for. The search engine will
attempt to
match web pages to the search terms in the search query and will then return
the located
web pages to the user.

The search results generated from a user's search query typically consist of a
collection
of document surrogates, each of which contains summary information,
attributes, and
other meta-data about the matched documents. These document surrogates are
often


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
- page 3 -

present in a simple list-based format, displaying the title of the document, a
snippet
containing the query terms in context, and the uniform resource locator (the
URL). A user
can then select one of the retumed entries to view the corresponding web page.

With the continued growth of web pages available on the internet making the
task of
search engines more and more di#f'icult, web search engines have greatly
incneased the
size of their indexes and made significant advances in .the algorithms used to
match a
user's search query to these indexes. However, while it is clear that
significant effort has
gone into creating web search engines that can index billion of documents and
return the

to search results in a fraction of a second, this has resulted in the creation
of the problem of
search queries retuming more results than the user can easily consider.

While many relevant docununts might be present in the search results setumed
from a
search engine, often the returned search results consist of tens or hundreds
of individual
t5 documents making it hard for a user to determine which of the search
results may or may
not be relevant to the information the user is looking for.

While information retrieval technique.s used by web search engines have
impmve<l
substantially over the years, tlie seareli results are still typically
represented in a simple.
20 list-based format. Although this list-based representation makes it easy to
evaluate a

single document, it does not support the users in the broader tasks of
manipulating the
search results, comparing documents, or finding a set of relevant documents.
Even


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page4-

thougii this simpte list-based representation provides the search results in a
clear and
effective manner for deterrnining the relevance of individual document
surrogates, it
reqnires that each document surrogate be evaluated in tura, and to some
degree, in the
order provided. If hundreds of documents are retumed, it is inefficient if not
completely

impractical to have a user review all of these results to determine the most
relevant
documems iocated in the search. Requiring users to evaluate each document
surrogate
individually, oflen with only ten documents per page, leads to a common u,ser
search trait
of evaluating only a few pages of search results before either re-formulating
their query
or giving up.

to

One solution that can be used to address these nwneaaus search results is for
the user to
reformSilate his or her search query to narrow the search with the result that
fewer
document are located matching the search query. However, studies have shown
that
users seidom reformulate their queries, even when a poor set of search results
are

provided. In many cases there may be high quality relevant documents buried in
the
search results set that were missed because the users did not look at csiough
search result
pages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page5-

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved method and
apparatus that
overcomes problems in the prior art.

In a first aspect of the present invention, a method of visually coding search
results is
provided. The method comprises: using a search query containing a plurality of
search
terms to conduct a search of a plurality of computer readable documents and
obtain
search results containing a list of returned documents; for each returned
document in the
list, determining an occurrence frequency of a fust search term in the
returned document
and formulating an occurrence indicator having a color shade based on the
occurrence

frequency for the first search term; and displaying a first portion of the
[ist in a first
format on a display screen, and simultaneously displaying a second portion of
the list in a
second format on the, display screen, wherein the occurrence indicator for the
first search
term is displayed beside each returned document in the first format and second
format.
The number of retumed documents displayed in the first portion is greater than
the
number of returned documents displayed in the second portion.

In a second aspect of the present invention, a data processing system for
visually coding
search results is provided. The data processing system comprises: at least one
processor;
a memory operatively coupled to the at least one processor; a display device
operative to

display data; and a program module stored in the memory and operative for
providing
instructions to the at least one processor, the at least one processor
responsive to the
instructions of the program module. The program module is operative for: using
a search


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page6-

query containing a plurality of search terms to request a search of a
plurality of computer
readable documents and obtain search results containing a list of returned
documents; for
each returned document in the list, determining an occurrence frequency of a
first search
term in the returned document and formulating an occurrence indicator having a
color

shade based on the occurrence frequency for the first search term; and
displaying a first
portion of the list in a first format on the display screen, and
simultaneously displaying a
second portion of the list in a second format on the display screen, wherein
the
occurrence indicator for the fust search term is displayed beside each
returned document
in the first format and second format. The number of returned documents
displayed in

the fmt portion is greater than the number of returned documents displayed in
the second
portion.

In a third aspect of the present invention, a data processing system product
comprises a
computer useabte medium including a computer readable program for visually
coding
search results. The computer readable program when executed on a data
processing

system causes the data processing system to: use a search query containing a
plurality of
search terms to request a search of a plurality of computer readable documents
and obtain
search results containing a list of returned documents; for each returned
document in the
list, determine an occurrence frequency of a first search term in the returned
document

and formulating an occurrence indicator having a color shade based on the
occurrence
frequency for the first search term; and display a first portion of the list
in a first format
on a display screen, and simuitaneously display a second portion of the list
in a second


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-Page7-

format on the display screen, wherein the occurrence indicator for the first
search term is
displayed beside each returned document in the first format and second format.
The
number of returned documents displayed in the fnst portion is greater than the
number of
returned documents displayed in the second portion.


DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the invention is claimed in the concluding portions hereof, preferred
embodiments
are provided in the accompanying detailed description which may be best
understood in
conjunction with the accompanying diagrams where like parts in each of the
severat
diagrams are labeled with like numbers, and where:

Fig. 1 is schematic illustration of a conventional data processing system
capable
of implementing the method of the present invention;


Fig. 2A is schematic illustration of a= network configuration wherein a data
processing system operative to implement the provided method in accordance
with the present invention is connected over a network to a plurality of
servers
operating as a search engine;



CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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Fig. 2B is a schematic illustration of a network configuration wherein a data
processing system is configured as a server and a remote device is used to
access
the data processing system;

Fig. 3 is a schematic illustration of a software system in accordance with the
present invention;

Fig. 4 is a schematic illustration of a document surrogate data object, which
is
typically provided as a returned document by a search engine as one of a set
of
1o searc3l results;

Fig. 5 is a flowchart illustrating a method of associating additional
attributes with
a returned document, in accordance with the present invention;

Fig. 6 is a schematic illustration of a document surrogate data object, which
as
been modified by the method illustrated in Fig. 5; and

Fig. 7 is a screenshot of a user interface in accordance with the present
invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLiUSTRATED ENOODIMENTS


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page9-

The present invention provides a compact visual representation of a set of
search results
at two levels of detail and supports the interactive exploration of web search
results.
Returned documents, typically in the form of document surrogates, are
retrieved from a
search engine for a given search query and presented to a user using a visual

representation that provides two levels of detail. A number of frequency
occurrence
indicators are associate with each displayed returned document to indicate to
a user the
potential relevance of each displayed retumed document.

DATA PROCESSING SYSTEM

Fig. 1 illustrates a data processing system 1 suitable for supporting the
operation of
methods in accordance with the present invention. The data processing system I
could
be a personal computer, server, mobile computing device, cell phone, etc. The
data
processing system 1 typically comprises: at least one processing unit 3; a
memory storage
device 4; at least one input device 5; a display device 6 and a program module
S.


The processing unit 3 can be any processor that is typically lmown 'in the art
with the
capacity to run the provided methods and is operatively coupled to the memory
storage
device 4 ffirough a system bus. in some circumstances the data processing
system I may
contain more than one processing unit 3. The memory storage device 4 is
operative to

store data and can be any storage device that is known in the art, such as a
local hard-
disk, etc. and can include local memory employed during actual execution of
the program
code, bulk storage, and cache memories for providing temporary storage.
Additionally,


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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the memory storage device 4 can be a database that is external to the data
processing
system 1 but operatively coupled to the data processing system 1. The input
device 5 can
be any suitable device suitable for inputting data into the data processing
system 1, such
as a keyboard, mouse or data port such as a network connection and is
operatively

coupled to the prooessing unit 3 and operative to allow the processing unit 3
to receive
information from the input device 5. The display device 6 is a CRT, LCD
monitor, etc.
operatively coupled to the data processing system I and operative to display
information.
The display device 6 could be a stand-alone screen or if the data processing
system I is a
mobile device, the display device 6 could be integrated into a casing
containing the

to processing unit 3 and the memory storage device 4. The program module 8 is
stored in
the memory storage device 4 and operative to provide instcuctions to
processing unit 3
and the processing.unit 3 is responsive to the instructions from the program
module B.
Aithough other.internal components of the data processing system 1 are not
illustr.ated, it

will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that only the
components of the
data processing system 1 necessary for an understanding of the present
invention are
illustrated and that many more components and interconnections between them
are well
known and can be used.

Fig. 2A illustrates a network configuration wherein the data processing system
1 is
connected over a network 55 to a plurality of servers 50 operating as a search
engine.
Fig. 2B illustrates a network configuration wherein the data processing system
1 is


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
- page I I -

configured as a server and a remote device 60, such as another computer, a
PDA, cell
phone or other mobile device connected to the Internet, is used to access the
data
processing system 1. The data processing system I runs the majority of the
software and
methods, in accordance with the present invention, and accesses a plurality of
servers 50

operating as a search engine to conduct a web search. By having the data
processing
system 1 configured as a server, the remote client system 60 does not need to
bave the
capacity necessary to contain all the necessary data structures and run all
the methods.
Furtherrnore, the invention can take the form of a computer readable medium
having

lo recorded thereon statements and instructions for execution by a data
processing system 1.
For the purposes of this description, a computer readable medium can be any
apparatus
that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for
use by or in
coanection with the instiuction execution system, apparatus, or device. The
medium can
be an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or
semiconduct,or system

(or apparatus or device) or a propagation medium. Examples of a computer-
readable
medium include a senticonductor or solid state memory, magnetic tape, a
removable
computer diskette, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), a
rigid
magnetic disk and an optical disk, Current examples of optical disks include
compact
disk - read only memory (CD-ROM), compact disk - read/write (CD-R/W) and DVD.


OVERVIEW OF SYSTEM


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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Fig. 3 iIIustrates a software system in accordance with the present invention.
The
software system 100 contains: a search query module 110; a search module 120;
a search
engine module 130; a query term frequency module 140; and a visualization
interface
module 150.


A search query is input to the system 100 at the search query module 110. The
search
query contains one or more search tetms and.usually at least two or three
search terms.
From the search query module 110 this search query containing one or more
search terms
is passed to the search module 120, which requests a search engine module 1.30
to return

1o the results of a search using the search query. Typically, the results
returned by the
search engine module 130 are a list of returned documents where each returned
document
is typically a document surrogate that describes the actual documents located
by the
search engine module 130.

When the results of the search are received from the search engine module 130,
the
search results and the search query are then passed from the search module 120
to the
query term frequency module 140, where the occurrence frcquency of each query
term in
the search query is determined for each of the documents returned in the
search results.

Once the occurrence frequency of the search terms is added to each retumed
document in
the search results, the search results are passed to the visualization
interface module 150
where the search results are displayed to the user.


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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The software system 100 can be implemented wholly on a data processing system
1, as
shown in Fig. 2A, with only the search engine module 130 resident on a server
50
connected to the data processing system 1 over the network 55. Altematively,
various

components of the software system 100 could be resident on a mobile device 60
operably
connected to a data pmcessing system 100 which contains other components of
the
software system 100, as shown in Fig. 2B. For example, the search query module
110
and visualization interface 150 could he resident of the mobile device 60 with
the search
module 120 and the query term frequency module 140 resident on the data
processing

!0 system I and the search engine module 130 resident on one of the servers 50
operably
connected by the network 55 to the data processing system 1.

SEARCH MODULE

When the search query module 110 passes the search qtiery to the search module
120, the
search module 120 requests the search engine module 130 to conduct a search
using the
search query. The search module 120 is typically resident on the data
processing system
1 and the searcb engine module 130 is typically a web search engine, such as
the web
search engine ncnning on servers 50 in Figs. 2A and 2B, with the search being
conducted
on a number of computer readable documents, such as searching for web pages on
the

2A World Wide Web. However, the search engine module 130 could be used in any
computerized document storage system capable of searching a large number of
computer
readable documents.


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The search engine module 130 could return the results of the search in the
form of a list
of complete documents where each complete document contains the majority of
the
contents of a located document, however, due to the likelihood that a
relatively large

number of documents can be located with the search and to save overhead on the
data
processing system, the search results are typically returned in the form of
list of returned
document where each returned document is a document surrogate, with a document
surrogate returned for each document located as a results of search.

Fig. 4 iUustrates a typical document surrogate data object 160 which is
commonly
provided as a returned document by a search engine as one of a set of search
results.
Rather than a search engine retuming a document containing a complete textual
copy of
each located document that is located in a search, search engines typically
provide a set
of document surrogates 160 in place of supplying the completed documents.
Document

surrogates 160 are the primary data objects in the list-based representation
used by search
engines. Each document surrogate 160 provides information describing the
corresponding complete document which eommonly consists of: a title 162; a
LTRL 164;
a summary 166; and any other additional other assorted infotmation. The title
162
provides the title of the corresponding complete document described by the
document

surrogate 160, the URL 164 provides the address of the complete document and
the
summary 166 contains a short description or snippet of the complete document
and
usually provides the query terms of the search term in context.


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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The search results obtained by the search module 120 are passed to the query
term
frequency module 140 where the occurrence frequency of query terms in the
search query
are determined for each of the returned documents in the search results.


QUERY TERM FREQUENCY

In the query term frequency module 140, the search results returned by the
search engine
module 130 are augtnented by adding additional attributes to each returned
docuinents in
the list of returned documents, beyond the information provided by the seatch
engine

l o module 130. For example, the returned documents provided by the search
engine module
130 are typically in the form provided by the document surrogate data object
160
illustrated in Fig. 4_ Each of the returned documents are anatyzed to
determine an
occurrence frequency for one or more of the search terrns (typicaIiy each
search term in
the search query): and adds the occurrence frequency of each search term to
the returned
document as an additional attribute.

Fig. 5 is a flowchart of a method 200 for determining the occurrence
frequencies of
search terms in the search query for each of the returned documents and adding
the
occurrence frequency as an additional attribute to the returned document. The
method

200 comprises the steps of: parsing the search query into query terms 210;
selecting a
returned document 220; tallying the occurrence frequency of a search term in a
returned
document 230; checking if more search terms must be tallied 240; if more
search terms


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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must be checked, moving to the next search term to be tallied 250; adding the
occurrence
frequencies of the search term as attributes to the returned document 260;
checking if
there are more retumed documents to be analyzed 270; and, if there are
returned
documents remaining to be anaiyzed, moving to the next document to be analyzed
280.


The method 200 begins with the search query consisting of a rtutnber of search
terms and
the retumed documents from a search conducted using the search query. At step
210, the
search query is parsed into the individual search terms that make up the
search query.

io At step 220, a fitst document returned in the search results is selected to
be analyzed.

A tally of the frequency of a fust selected search term is cieterm'sned in the
first
document, at step 230. A count of the occurrence of the search t.erm is
conducted. If the
document contains the entire textual contents of the document located in the
search, the

occurrence of the search term in the entire document is conducted. Otherwise,
the
occurrence of the search term can be determined based on the summary of the
complete
document and optionaliy in the title.

Typically, the stems and/or roots of each of the words in the document are
matched to the
stems or roots of the search terms so that the tally of the search terms does
not exc[ude
the use of words that use different suffixes, prefixes, etc. Matching based on
the stems or


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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roots of the search terms can be more effective than exact word matches, since
it takes
into account different variations of the same root word.

At step 240, the method 200 checks to determine whether there are any more
search
terms to be analyzed in the selected returned d.ocument. If there are more
search terssis to
be analyzed for the selected returned document, the next search term is
selected at step
250 and step 230 is repeated, determining the occtuxence frequency of the next
selected
search term.

lo Steps 230, 240 and 250 are repeated until each search term in the search
query has been
used to determine the occturence frequency of each of the search temis in the
selected
retumed document.

At step 260, these occurrence frequencies for each of the search terms are
added as an
additional attribute to the selected returned document to form a modified
returned
document. For a given search query consisting bf n search terms, the set of
attributes { ql,
qz, .., qj, wherein qx is the occurrence frequency of a search term, is added
to the
selected returned document.

The method 200 then checks to see if there are any more returned documents to
be
analyzed at step 270, and if there are more returued documents remaining, the
next
returned document is selected at step 280 and steps 230, 240, 250, 260 are
repeated for


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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the next returned document to determine the occturence frequency of each of
the search
terms in the next retutned document and add the occurrence frequencies as
additional
attributes to the next retutned document.

Once all of the returned documents have been analyzed and the occurrence
frequency of
each of the seaich terms is determ'vned for each of the rettxrned documents
and added as
additionat attrib-ites of the raumed documents to create a modified retumed
docutnent,
the method 200 ends.

io In this manner, the method 200 analyzes each returned document in the list
of returned
docamemms provided as the search resu.lts to determine ihe occurrence
freque,ncy of each
of the search ternns in each of the returned documents and adds these
occurrence
frequencies to the returned documents as additional attributes creating a
modified
returned docurnent.

IS

Fig. 6 illustrates a modified retumed document in the form of a modified
document
surrogate data object 260. The modified document surrogate data object 260 has
additional attnbutes added; specifically, the occurrence frequencies of each
of four search
terms in the summary 166 of the document surrogate data object 260. Along with
the

20 title 162, URL 164 and summary 166. the modified document surrogate data
object 160
also contains a first occurrence frequency 170A of a first search term, a
second
occurrence frequency 170B of a second term, a third occurrence frequency 170C
of a


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
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third search term and a fourth occurrence frequency 170D. Although Fig. 6
illustrates a
modified document surrogate data object 260 with four search terms, a person
skilled in
the art will appreciated that any number of search terms can be used with the
occurrence
frequencies of all the search terms added to a modified document surrogate
data object so

that the modified document surrogate data object contains occurrence frequency
attributes for each of the more than four search terms.

The modified returned documents, with the occurrence frequency of each of the
search
terms of the search query added as additional attributes, are then passed from
the search
module 120 to the visualization interface module 150.

VIZUALIZATION INTERFACE

The visualization interface module 150 displays the search results using
visual
represehtations at two tevels of detail. A compressed level of detail provides
the user
with an overview of a large number of the search results and a more detailed
level of

view provides more detailed information about a smaIIer number of the search
results.
Fig. 7 illustrates a screen shot of an exemplary interface 500. The search
resufts in the
form of a list of returned documents is passed to the visualization interface
module 150

2o and a first portion 510 of the list of returned documents is displayed in a
first format,
simultaneously with a second portion 530 of the list of returned documents in,
a second
format, so that the interface 500 provides two levels of detail to a user
about returned


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page20-

documents provided in the list returned as the search results. The first
portion 510
represents a subset of the documents returned by the search engine and the
second portion
530 represents a subset of the retwned documents represented by the fust
portion 510.
The first format allows a user to see a large number of the returned documents
in a

compressed view in the f'irst portion 510 and then also see a number of the
returned
documents shown in the first portion 510 in a larger, more detailed view in
the second
format in the second portion 530.

The first portion 510 displays a number of the returned documents in the list
in the first
format which provides a compressed or small view of the returned document.
Each
returned document shown in the first format in the first portion 510 is
displayed with a
number of occurrence indicators 514, and, typically, a title representation
516. Typically,
there is an occurrence indicator 514 corresponding to each search term in the
search
query. Fig. 7 illustrat~s search resuits obtained by using a seazch query with
four search:

terms and therefore a fiist occurrence indicator 514A, a second occurrence
indicator
514B, a third occurrence indicator 514C and a fourth occurrence indicator 514D
are-
displayed with each returned document in the first portion 510 and second
portion 530,
an occuirence indictor corresponding to each of the four search terms.

The title representation 516 represents the title of the returned document.
However, the
title representation 516 does not necessarify have to provide the title in a
readable format.
Returned documents displayed in the first format may be displayed so small
that a solid


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
- page 21 -

line is used to provide the title representation 516 and the title
representation 516 merely
indicates the approximate length of the title of the returned document in
relation to the
length of the titles of the other returned documents.

The second portion 530 displays a number of the returned documents in a second
fornzat.
Each of the returned documents displayed in the second format in the second
portion 530
corresponds to a retumed document displayed in the first portion 510, such
that all of ihe
retumed documents in the second portion 530 are contained in the first portion
510, with
the retumed documents in the second portion 530 occurring in the same order
that they
occur in the first portion 510.

The second portion 530 shown in the second format provides a much larger and
more
detailed view of returned documents than the first portion 510 of returned
document
shown in the first format. Typically, each return,ed document shown in the
second format

contains a number of occurrence indicators 514 and a title 536. Typically,
each returned
document shown in the fust format contains an occurrence indicator 514 for
each of the
search terms. The title 536 provides readable text showing the title of the
retumed
document. The title 536 is typically a hyperlink to the actual document, such
as the
webpage tocated in a web search, or a direct link to the document in a
traditional
information retrieval system.


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page22-

The second format can display the summary of each retumed document.
A]ternative2y,
the second format can show the summary of the returned document only when a
user
moves a cursor over the returned document in the second format. When the user
moves a
cursor over the rettuned document in the second portion 530, a popup field
(too] tip) can
appear containing the summary of the retumed document.

The occurrence indicators 514 shown with the returned documents in the first
format and
second format are displayed such that a user can identify which occurrence
indictors 514
are associated with which search terrns. In the interface 500 in Fig. 7, each
search term

of a search query is displayed as a colunm title 570 and the column located
below the
column title 570 holds the occurrence indicators 514 corresponding to that
search term.
The occurrence indicators 514 in the second portion 530 are positioned under
the
respective search term indicated in the column title 570 to which they relate.
For
instance, if the first occurrence indicator 514A i.ndica.tes the occurrence of
the first search

term in a returned the occurrence indicator 514A is positioned in the colamn
with the
column title 570A indicating the first search term.

The occurrence indicators 514 displayed with the retumed documents in the
first portion
510 displayed in the first format occur in the same order as the occurrence
indscators 514
displayed with the returned documents in the second portion 530 displayed in
the second
fortnat.


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
- page 23 -

The additional attributes determined for each returned document, using method
200,
illustrated in Fig. 5, indicating the occurrence frequency of search terms in
the retumed
documents, are used to formulate the occuirence indicators 514. A color shade
is
assigned to each occurrence indictor 514 based on the occurrence frequency
determined

for the specific search term in the retutned document. Typically, search
tersus that occur
more frequently in a retutned document (and therefore have a higher occurrence
frequency than other search terms) are assigned a color shade that is more
intense or rich.
For example, a search term that appears few if any times in a document
surrogate may be
associated with an occurrence indicator 514 that has a color shade of very
pale yellow,

wbile a search term that appears more frequently in a document surrogate will
be
associated with an occurrence indicator 514 that has a color shade of a much
darker red.
The first portion 510 displays a mueh greater portion of the list of returned
documents
than the second portion 530. In some cases, more than one hundred (100)
retumed

documents may be displayed in the first portion 510 in the first format. On
the other
1-jand the second portion 530 displays a relatively smaller number of the
returned
documents in the second format because the second format provides more details
and
therefore the returned documents must be shown in a large enough size that a
user can
read the titles 536 of the returned documents shown in tBe second form,at. For
example,

whiie the first portion 510 may display one hundred (100) returned documents
in the first
format thLe second portion 530 may display fewer than twenty five (25)
returned
documents in the second format.


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page24-

The use of a color shade in the occurrence indicators 514 allows the
information to be
conveyed to the user even though the returned document in the first portion
510 may be
displayed too small for a user to either easily read or even be able to read
text shown in

the first format. In some embodiments, rather than the returned documents in
the first
format containing a title of the returrted document, the title of the returned
document is
represented by a title representation 516 which is a line simple indicating
the relative
length of the title of the returned document. Because a color shade is used
for the
occutrence indicators 514, the occurrence indicators 514 do not have be very
large in

order to convey the necessary information to a user, just large enough to
convey to a user
a shade of color. While numbers, text or geometric shapes cannot be
illustrated using a
single pixek; a color shade can be. In some cases, the occurrence indicator
514 may be
made as small as a single pixel of a display screen (depending on the
resolution of the
display screen and limited to a user's ability to perceive a single pixel on
the display

screen). Especially for occurrence indicators 514 displayed with retumed
documents
shown in the first format.

An indicator frame 550 is positioned over the returned documents in the first
portion 510
that are also shown in the second portion 530. The indicator frame 550
indicates the
retumed documents shown in the fttst format in the first portion 510 that are
also shown
in the second format in the second portion 530.


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
- page 25 -

When a user makes a selection that changes the returned documents shown in the
second
format in the second portion 530, such as by using a scroll bar 550 to scroll
to a new set
of retuined documenis displayed in the second portion 530, the first portion
510 is
updated to indicate the same returned documents shown in the second portion
530 in the
first portion 510, by moving the indicator frame 550 along the first portion
510.

In this manner, a user, can quickly look over the occurrence indicators 514
for each =
returned document shown in the fnst format in the first portion 510 and each
returned
doamvmt shown in the sevond format in the second format 530 and see which
returned

documents have search terms occurring more frequently than other returned
documents
without requiring the user to perform any in-depth analysis of each returned
document.
By simply scanning over, the occurrence indictors 514 a user can quickly and
easily
visuaily locate the occurcence indicators 514 that indicate a retutned
document that
contains a high occurnence frequency of a specific search term by the various
shades of ~
color shown in the occurrence indicators 514.

A user can also visually analyze the retumed documents shown in the first
format in the
first portion 510, checking for retumed documents that contain occurrence
indicators 514
indicating that a specific search term has a high occuaence frequency in the
represented

returned document. Once a user identifies a returned or a grouping of returned
documents in the ftrst portion 510 that the user wishes to examine in more
detail, the user
can then move the indicator frame 550 so that the selected returned documents
or


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
- page 26 -

grouping of returned documents in the first portion 510 are displayed in the
second
format in the second portion 530. A user can then exantine the titles 536 of
the
represented documents and click on a desired retumed document title 536 to go
to the
document.


INTERACTIVITY
A user can sort the list of the retuincd docume,nts based on one search term
over the other
by selecting one of the search terms to sort the list by. In one embodiment, a
user selects
the column title 570 coaesponding with the desired search term to select the
search term

to sort by. The list of returned documents is then resorted to place a
precedent on the
selected search term and the first portion 510 of returned documents of the
first list and
the second portion 530 of the returned documents in the second forinat are
updated to
reflect the newly sorted list.

A user can also conduct a nested sort by selecting a second search term. The
list of
returned docurnents is then resorted to place a primary weight on the first
selected search
term and then a secondary weight with on the second search term and the first
portion
510 of returned documents of the fiust list and the second portion 530 of the
returned
documents in the second format are updated to reflect the newly sorted list.


The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the
invention.
Further, since numerous changes and modifications will readily occur to those
skilled in


CA 02557389 2006-08-28
-page27-

the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction
and operation
shown and described, and accordingly, all such suitable changes or
modiFcations in
structure or operation which may be resorted to are intended to fall within
the scope of
the claimed invention.

Representative Drawing
A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.
Administrative Status

For a clearer understanding of the status of the application/patent presented on this page, the site Disclaimer , as well as the definitions for Patent , Administrative Status , Maintenance Fee  and Payment History  should be consulted.

Administrative Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date Unavailable
(22) Filed 2006-08-28
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2008-02-28
Examination Requested 2011-08-24
Dead Application 2014-08-28

Abandonment History

Abandonment Date Reason Reinstatement Date
2013-08-28 FAILURE TO PAY APPLICATION MAINTENANCE FEE
2013-10-25 FAILURE TO PAY FINAL FEE

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Registration of a document - section 124 $100.00 2006-08-28
Application Fee $200.00 2006-08-28
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2008-08-28 $50.00 2008-08-27
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2009-08-28 $50.00 2009-08-14
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2010-08-30 $50.00 2010-08-04
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2011-08-29 $100.00 2011-08-19
Request for Examination $400.00 2011-08-24
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 6 2012-08-28 $100.00 2012-08-27
Owners on Record

Note: Records showing the ownership history in alphabetical order.

Current Owners on Record
UNIVERSITY OF REGINA
Past Owners on Record
HOEBER, ORLAND
YANG, XUE DONG
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.
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Document
Description 
Date
(yyyy-mm-dd) 
Number of pages   Size of Image (KB) 
Abstract 2006-08-28 1 16
Description 2006-08-28 26 746
Claims 2006-08-28 10 198
Drawings 2006-08-28 8 83
Representative Drawing 2008-02-05 1 9
Cover Page 2008-02-11 2 43
Claims 2011-09-19 5 253
Assignment 2006-08-28 9 203
Fees 2008-08-27 4 127
Correspondence 2008-08-27 4 127
Correspondence 2008-12-02 2 53
Correspondence 2008-12-23 1 15
Correspondence 2008-12-23 1 18
Correspondence 2009-08-14 2 84
Fees 2009-08-14 2 84
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-08-24 2 48
Fees 2010-08-04 1 41
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-09-19 7 291
Fees 2012-08-27 1 163