Multilingual search engine
Travel and tourism have become economically important and will continue
to expand. The sector was quick to appreciate the potential of Internet for data
distribution and commercial transactions. Many airlines, tour operators, hotel chains and
resorts run their own World Wide Web sites and customers are increasingly planning and
arranging their travel online. Organisations offering services for the tourist are being
challenged to think globally and above all they need to rethink their language strategies.
Project MIETTA intends to help the sector by developing an advanced and specialised
search engine. This will allow people to look for tourist information on the web in their
own language. Information providers will benefit from a flexible and cross-lingual tool
that integrates existing applications including free text web pages, structured databases,
or a mixture of both.
The new search engine includes a range of information retrieval and language
engineering technologies that are integrated with Internet technologies such as the Java
and XML programming languages. The result is a modular and computer platform independent
system, offering an interface that is intuitive and configurable. Its users will be able
to seek and retrieve information in their own natural language (English, Finnish, French,
German and Italian), even if the information was originally produced in a different
language of the domain.
The cross-lingual search engine, plus its retrieval and extraction functions, is
demonstrated on the MIETTA stand. A live web link illustrates how the system can be
applied to the tourist databases and a collection of web documents in Rome (Italy), Turku
(Finland) and the State of Saarland (Germany).