Reply #2 to other comments posted about my proposal; February 1998
See my post of 2/13/98 for some clarification (for some reason it got put at the end of the list, but it was my earliest reply).
Hearty thanks for your comments and reactions.
My proposal is not about a search engine a tall; it's a modeling tool which stores all data about the items modeled (doesn't store text except coincidentally, but objects and their properties), and which happens to have a search capability which can analyze the details of the domain searched in order to provide the results. This is *not a text search* or anything similar.
To use the engineering drawings as an example, they are simply stored as objects in the model, and not classified until retrieved or processed or "linked" to based on the associations stored for them. They could be associated, used in another query, viewed, or retrieved, depending on the need of the moment, based variously on their association with their creator, their time of creation, the shapes of the subcomponents within the drawings, the types of parts used, the creating software, the department using them (& the level of success in that department as measured by various criteria), original storage medium, whether it works with a certain other part, or whatever. Since *everythin* about the drawings is stored, they can be retrieved by any association with them, any content view, or anything else known at any time about them. No "thesaurus" is used, but associative links based on any logical or physical connection: "is-a", "has-a", or "belongs-to", with any other object in the database.
I agree we'd have to filter through the rubbish in some fashion when building the database, but that may happen automatically as a result of the design. A couple approaches to doing this are 1) making the "final" knowledge model a collaborative effort where disputes are resolved in some organized but asynchronous fashion, or 2) simply store both answers (rubbish and good stuff), where the only attempt to ascertain "truth" (for now) is simply to state that individual A (an object in the model) held opinion A-1 (another object?), and individual B (also a modeled object) held opinion B-1. Of course when modeling principles, like economics and physics (as opposed to physical object), it may be trickier but there are base principles that can either be modeled or derived from the observed physical data; the deriviations change automatically (without having a committee revamp a theory or any of that business) as the data about the physical world changes & is updated.
Fundamentally, this is a proposed tool for storing *all knowledge*. Not a way to stored & retrieve all text in the world; it has nothing in common with awk & grep. It uses the text as an input for building the model, but in the process that material is structurally revamped to convert it to classes of objects, data about those objects, and the behaviors of those objects, in a systematic (hence programmable) way. The search is a side-effect. I think it's more interesting to be able to view the objects in 3-d, manipulate them in a virtual sense that "looks" like what you'd do in the physical world (in manipulating hammers, saws, wood, software, hardware, whatever, only they are virtual models of these & all other classes of objects), and update the model with further creation in that "logical" dimension before moving to the phycial creation. Or "browse" to learn. Still, these are all side-benefits that are possible, once all knowledge is modeled in an object database.
Does that help? If you've also read my post of 2/13, can you see that it is radically different from text searching, and has different uses (possibly eliminating the need for text searches)?