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Enhancing Searching of Mathematics

Knowledge workers spend a great deal of their time searching for information, perhaps as much as 20-30% according to a survey by the Delphi Group.  Unfortunately, that time is not always well spent.  Information resources are often disorganized, or lack sufficient adequate structure and metadata.  In the area of science, technical, engineering and medical (STEM) information, these problems are exacerbated by the fact that mathematical notation, charts, diagrams and images are frequently completely invisible to standard search techniques.  

To address this need,  Design Science has launched a project to develop infrastructure and algorithms for enhanced search capabilities for STEM documents.  The project has three broad goals:

  1. To formulate, coordinate and disseminate best-practice guidelines for facilitating the searching and indexing of STEM material;
  2. To create a test bed collection of documents, including software infrastructure, on which to conduct usability testing for searching and indexing algorithms;
  3. To investigate several specific algorithms for searching mathematics.

Project News

Math Searching Workshop Held

A "Hot Topics" workshop on the subject of Enhancing Searching of Mathematics was held at the Institute for Math and its Applications at the University of Minnesota April 26-27, 2004.  The workshop brought together about 40 researchers, content managers and publishers.  A Position Paper summarizing the conclusions and recommendations of the workshop is available.

In the Press

  • The March 2004 issue of D-Lib Magazine has an article on new NSDL projects mentioning Design Science's searching project.
  • The January 2004 issue of Desktop Engineering magazine has an article on math searching, featuring Design Science's searching project.

Further Information and Resources


This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation through the National Science Digital Library program under Grant No. 0333645. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of Design Science and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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