
related topics 
{math, number, function} 
{system, computer, user} 
{work, book, publish} 
{rate, high, increase} 
{theory, work, human} 

Information retrieval (IR) is the science of searching for documents, for information within documents, and for metadata about documents, as well as that of searching relational databases and the World Wide Web. There is overlap in the usage of the terms data retrieval, document retrieval, information retrieval, and text retrieval, but each also has its own body of literature, theory, praxis, and technologies. IR is interdisciplinary, based on computer science, mathematics, library science, information science, information architecture, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and statistics.
Automated information retrieval systems are used to reduce what has been called "information overload". Many universities and public libraries use IR systems to provide access to books, journals and other documents. Web search engines are the most visible IR applications.
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