Spoken Conversational Search

Spoken Conversational Search


This project will research a new interaction paradigm for search engines, where all input and output is mediated via speech. While such information systems have been important for the visually impaired for many years, a renewed focus on speech is emerging driven by the ever growing sales of internet enabled smart phones. The phones allow internet access in new contexts that require both hands- and eyes-free interaction; one example being searching for
information while driving. Also, smart phones are being accessed by a new and large population of users across the world many of whom struggle with literacy; again requiring access mediated by speech. Currently, search systems poorly serve such a mode. Recent research showed that one cannot just ‘bolt on’ speech recognisers and screen readers to an existing system: a fundamental change to the way search is conducted is required.
Our Project Aim then is to research a new framework for effective information retrieval over a speech-only channel: Spoken Conversational Search (SCS), which provides a conversational approach to determining user information needs, presenting results, and enabling search reformulation.
The project is funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage projects scheme (LP130100563) and is a joint collaboration between RMIT University and RealThing Entertainment Pty Ltd.

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