Purpose – The automatic removal of suffixes from words in English is of particular interest in the field of information retrieval. This work was originally published in Program in 1980 and is republished as part of a series of articles commemorating the 40th anniversary of the journal. Design/methodology/approach – An algorithm for suffix stripping is described, which has been implemented as a short, fast program in BCPL. Findings – Although simple, it performs slightly better than a much more elaborate system with which it has been compared. It effectively works by treating complex suffixes as compounds made up of simple suffixes, and removing the simple suffixes in a number of steps. In each step the removal of the suffix is made to depend upon the form of the remaining stem, which usually involves a measure of its syllable length. Originality/value – The piece provides a useful historical document on information retrieval.
Program: electronic library and information systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2006
Keywords: Information retrieval; Computer applications; Historical research
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