DEVELOPMENT OF AN ONLINE INFORMATION RETRIEVAL SYSTEM (A Case study of Nigeria’s Federal Civil Servants)

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ABSTRACT

This research work was conducted to investigate the nature and impact of an effective online interactive information retrieval in relation to Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria, problem facing the use of the Internet as a source of information among Federal Civil Servants and also the ability to understand the knowledge and the basis of internet usage. This choice includes their inadequate knowledge of the various types of online System from which information can be interactively retrieved. Various techniques were used in the fact finding; they include interviews, questionnaires, on-site observation and record reviews.

Two software applications were deployed in the development of the software: (PHP) Hypertext Protocol as the programming language used on the front end and MySQL at the back end. A simple percentage analysis revealed that the old system involves piling paper files in several cabinets kept at different office locations, coupled with tedious search for information, which makes the process inefficient and undermines the integrity and security of the data/information. This corroborated the pre-research speculations, which gave rise to this research work.


TABLE OF CONTENT

TITLE PAGE
ABSTRACT
TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
1.1       Preamble
1.2       Background of the Study
1.3       The Problem Statement
1.4       Research Methodology
1.5       Aims and Objectives of the Study
1.6       Significance of the Study
1.7       Scope of the Study
1.8       Benefits of the Online Retrieval System
1.9       Limitation
1.10     Outline of Chapters

CHAPTER TWO – LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Overview of Information Retrieval System
2.2       Web Search Engine
2.3       History and List of Web Search Engine
2.4       How Web Search Engines Work
2.5       Types and Ranking of Web Search Engines
2.6       Current Developments in Web Search Engines
2.7       Challenges in Web Search Engines for Users
2.8       Comparison among Online Information Retrieval System
2.9       Criteria for the Evaluation of Web Search Engines

CHAPTER THREE – SYSTEM ANALYSIS AND DESIGN
3.1       Overview
3.2       System Analysis
3.3       Research Survey and Analysis
            3.3.1    Research Questionnaire
            3.3.2    Research Analysis and Results
3.4       Design Analysis of the Proposed System
            3.4.1    Application Requirement
            3.4.2    Functional Requirement of the New System
            3.4.3    Non-Functional Requirements of the System
3.5       Description of the Proposed System
            3.5.1    System Architecture
            3.5.2    The Back End Database Design
            3.5.3    The Schema
            3.5.4    The Presentation Layer
            3.5.5    The System Application Files
3.6       Design of the New System
            3.6.1    System Design Tools
            3.6.2    Technology Requirement
            3.6.3    Cost of System Development
            3.6.4    System Flowchart

CHAPTER FOUR – IMPLEMENTATION AND TESTING
4.1       Overview
4.2       Implementation of the Database
            4.2.1    Setting up the Database
            4.2.2    Testing the database
            4.2.3    Testing Results
4.3       Implementation of the Application
            4.3.1    Setting up Apache with PHP
            4.3.2    Deploying Application Files
4.4       System Testing and Results
            4.4.1    Searching for Resources
4.5       Administration
            4.5.1    Adding New Places

CHAPTER FIVE – CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Conclusion
5.2       Recommendations

REFERENCES

APPENDIX: SYSTEM SOURCE CODE


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Preamble

Information retrieval (IR) is the area of study concerned with searching for documents, for information within documents, and for metadata about documents, as well as that of searching structured storage, 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, statistics and law (Singhal, 2001).
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.IR in a digital environment is strongly affected by the IR system, the user, the information and the environment.
Walker and Janes (1999) identified the uniqueness of online IR system:
·           First, online searches are conducted in real time. Users can search and obtain results almost immediately.
·           Secondly, online IR systems offer remote access. Users can search at any location as long as there is internet connection.
The typical online IR systems can be classified into the following four types:
·           Online Database Environments
·           OPAC Environments
·           Digital Library Environments
·           Web Search Engine Environments

The Online Database Environment is a database of either full-text documents or citations and abstracts accessible via telephone or internet connection. The online industry is responsible for the development, design, dissemination and use of online database and services. It consists of three basic elements: database producers, online vendors, and information searches.

An OPAC Environment: Online Public Access Catalogue is an access tool and resource guide to the collection of  a Library or Libraries which contains interrelated sets of bibliographic data in a machine-readable form and which can be searched interactively on a terminal by users (Fayen, 1983, p.4).

Digital Library Environment is a broad term used to define an information retrieval system that permit timely access to electronic information in the same way that physical libraries are traditionally provided access to print-based and other tangible information resources.

Fox, Akscyn, Furuta and Leggett (1995) summarized different perceptions of digital libraries by the key players in digital libraries: librarians, computer scientists, and users. To librarians, digital libraries carry out the functions of libraries in a new way; to computer scientists, a digital library is a distributed text-based information system; a collection of distributed information services, a distributed space of interlinked information, or a networked multimedia information services, to end users, digital libraries are regarded as similar to the World Wide Web (WWW) with improvements in performance, organization, functionality and usability.

Web Search Engine Environment is a tool designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. The information may consist of web pages, images, information and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories.

Berners-Lee 1989, 1996 invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 and developed it online in 1991 by using a hypertext model. In 1996 he defined the components of the web: the boundless information world, the address system (URL: Uniform Resource Locator), a network protocol (HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol), a mark-up language (HTML: Hypertext Mark-up Protocol), a body of data and the client-server architecture of the web.

Concurrently with the above development by Berners-Lee came the creation of Mosaic in 1993. This was a graphic Web interface that was the precursor of Netscape which enabled millions of people to easily access the Web. Since then, increase in Web resources has been phenomenal and this has created the need for a system for navigating the Web resources.

The emergence of the Web signifies the era of end users. In IR history, this is the first time that millions of users have been able to search for online information themselves without help from intermediaries. (Sullivan, 2006), a global leader in Internet media and market research, reported that the volume on Internet search queries grew to more than 5.1 billion by October 2005; the top five search engines are Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Ask Jeeves.

 

1.2       Background of the Study

In recent years, Internet usage has grown tremendously around the world with most users surfing the Web for various forms of information. The World Wide Web remains the most important and popular source of information in the world today.

This project presents a theoretical overview of the Online IR system and its navigation system (the Web Search Engines). Recent literature and current developments in this aspect of Information Science are also reviewed. A Case study is carried out to determine the usage of this important source of information among Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria.

Federal civil servants run the administrative and policy-making engine of the Federal Government of Nigeria. To be effective in this important task federal civil servants have to be well informed. This means there is the need for them to use the Online IR system to access information which they need to carry out their daily activities effectively.


However, the extent of Internet usage by Federal Civil Servants is not well documented. A large number of this works was carried out in Abuja and this, therefore, presents a good environment to find out how they use the Online IR system to navigate the Web. The ability of Federal Civil Servants to have an effective Online Information Retrieval System, therefore, presents a challenge in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and explains why this project is pertinent......


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