Multilingual search engine helps tourists

Travel and tourism have become economically important and will continue to expand. The sector was quick to appreciate the potential of Internet for data distribution and commercial transactions. Many airlines, tour operators, hotel chains and resorts run their own World Wide Web sites and customers are increasingly planning and arranging their travel online. Organisations offering services for the tourist are being challenged to think globally and above all they need to rethink their language strategies.

Project MIETTA intends to help the sector by developing an advanced and specialised search engine. This will allow people to look for tourist information on the web in their own language. Information providers will benefit from a flexible and cross-lingual tool that integrates existing applications including free text web pages, structured databases, or a mixture of both.

The new search engine includes a range of information retrieval and language engineering technologies that are integrated with Internet technologies such as the Java and XML programming languages. The result is a modular and computer platform independent system, offering an interface that is intuitive and configurable. Its users will be able to seek and retrieve information in their own natural language (English, Finnish, French, German and Italian), even if the information was originally produced in a different language of the domain.

The cross-lingual search engine, plus its retrieval and extraction functions, is demonstrated on the MIETTA stand. A live web link illustrates how the system can be applied to the tourist databases and a collection of web documents in Rome (Italy), Turku (Finland) and the State of Saarland (Germany).

Contact Francesco BELLINI, Comune di Roma
tel +39 06 6710 3884
fax +39 06 699 1582
email Bellini@comune.roma.it
website www.mietta.net

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