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Home > Tech Reiews > Japan Technology Review Last Updated: 15:24 03/09/2007
Japan Technology Review #35: February 25, 2002

Progress of the Creation of Science and Technology Knowledge Platform -Part 2-

By Hajime Yamada (GLOCOM)

Retrieval Systems of Science and Technology Knowledge

The Creation of Science and Technology Knowledge Platform project facilitates a science and technology knowledge base and its retrieval systems open to anybody to freely search and utilize the knowledge. I will report its progress in this issue.

On the Internet, many sites are available for searching data. It is possible to retrieve data concerning science and technology knowledge through one of these sites. However, these sites are not very efficient because they tend to pick up a lot of noise in addition to useful information. For this reason the current project has established its own retrievable knowledge base containing data associated with science and technology knowledge only.

In this knowledge base, not only literature and patent information, but also such information as newspaper articles, researchers, organizations, projects and facilities are accumulated. For example, who wrote an academic paper or obtained a patent, or to which organization he or she belongs, is important information. Also, information on facilities, for example which company is most fit to order special processing of certain special machinery is an important issue.

As of March 2002, the 100 thousand pieces of data input into the database are limited to those collected by specific organizations promoting this project. However, this database is not an ordinary literature database. Each piece of data in it includes an evaluation from a technical or business point of view. Qualified individuals with doctor's degrees or consulting engineers have entered evaluations.

Some examples of the evaluation statements follow. It should be obvious that these evaluation statements are concrete and highly useful.

This study is very original and unique. Also this field has a high potential to develop well. Especially, heat-resistant polymer is noteworthy. This study is very valuable.
This interesting study has a great possibility of bearing a new product development. Estimation of possible annual sales of the new product suggests considerable economic effects.
Compared to the publicly known technology, the theme of this study is interesting, and this study field should be closely watched continuously in the future.

This study deals with the analysis of macromolecule electrolytic solid substance. The field has a high probability for future development, and the study is very valuable.
It may lead to new product development. However, marketability is not high.

After April, participants of the Creation of Science and Technology Knowledge Platform project will be able to input data and enter evaluation of inputted data. In this way, the more substantial the database becomes, the more the participants, which will result in more data input. What is expected is such an autonomous growth.

The data I have explained so far are accumulated directly in the server of the Creation of Science and Technology Knowledge Platform project. However, if various sites in Japan are connected and available for free retrieval of information, it will be much easier to use. Therefore, it has been planned for future to introduce a technology of constructing a virtual database by connecting related databases that are scattered all over Japan, to enlarge the number of available data.

There are two general retrieval systems. In one system, users follow a tree of science and technology knowledge, which is categorized by fields, to reach target information. Necessary science and technology knowledge is eventually obtained by specifying the area from life science to biology, then to molecular biology and so on, for example.

Another system is knowledge retrieval. When users input free sentences describing what kind of information he or she wants to obtain, pertinent information is extracted. For example, when a user enters such a phrase as "an electric power supply that modulates a semiconductor laser at high frequencies," a list of high frequency power supplies will appear on the screen, together with associated literature and articles.

Because there are two retrieval systems, users have a choice to utilize them according to their needs. Systematic information will be obtained when the technological categorization method is used. On the other hand, when the knowledge retrieval method is used, such information as life science as its main field may be extracted even though the user had inputted some phrases from the telecommunications field. Thus, a cross-field retrieval of science technology knowledge will be realized.

The database and the retrieval systems will be open to public use from March of 2002. Then, both systems will be improved according to users' opinions on operability.

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