CUED Publications database

The retrieval of structured design knowledge

Wang, H and Johnson, AL and Bracewell, RH (2011) The retrieval of structured design knowledge. ICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design, 6. pp. 303-312.

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Design rationale is an effective way of capturing knowledge, since it records the issues addressed, the options considered, and the arguments used when specific decisions are made during the design process. Design rationale is generally captured by identifying elements and their dependencies, i.e. in a structured way. Current retrieval methods focus mainly on either the classification of rationale or on keyword-based searches of records. Keyword-based retrieval is reasonably effective as the information in design rationale records is mainly described using text. However, most of the current keyword-based retrieval methods discard the implicit structures of these records, resulting either in poor precision of retrieval or in isolated pieces of information that are difficult to understand. This ongoing research aims to go beyond keyword-based retrieval by developing methods and tools to facilitate the provision of useful design knowledge in new design projects. Our first step is to understand the structured information derived from the relationship between lumps of text held in different nodes in the design rationale captured via a software tool currently used in industry, and study how this information can be utilised to improve retrieval performance. Specifically, methods for utilising various structured information are developed and implemented on a prototype keyword-based retrieval system developed in our earlier work. The implementation and evaluation of these methods shows that the structured information can be utilised in a number of ways, such as filtering the results and providing more complete information. This allows the retrieval system to present results that are easy to understand, and which closely match designers' queries. Like design rationale, other methods for representing design knowledge also in essence involve structured information and thus the methods proposed can be generalised to be adapted and applied for the retrieval of other kinds of design knowledge. Copyright © 2002-2012 The Design Society. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div C > Engineering Design
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:36
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2017 03:09