Faculty of Information Technology

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Information Technology
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2011 (Evening)


This unit presents students with the theory and practice underlying computerised information retrieval. Topics covered include: history and context of information retrieval systems, retrieval models: Boolean, vector space and probabilistic, evaluation strategies and test collections, web search engines, very large databases, indexing, content-based multimedia retrieval, relevance feedback.


At the completion of this unit students will:

  • appreciate the context and application of information retrieval systems;
  • understand the different models of information retrieval and their comparative advantages and disadvantages;
  • understand how objective and subjective evaluation strategies are used with information retrieval systems;
  • be conversant with the issues and challenges of managing very large databases of heterogeneous data for information retrieval;
  • understand how web search engines and search algorithms are constructed, utilised and deployed;
  • appreciate the different indexing strategies that can be used for the retrieval of information across different modalities;
  • understand how information retrieval systems can be used for the retrieval of audio-visual information;
  • appreciate the utility of and understand the theoretical and practical underpinnings of relevance feedback in information retrieval systems.


Examination (2 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Campbell Wilson

Contact hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk


For MAIT students: FIT9017, FIT9018, FIT9019, FIT9020, FIT9030 and FIT4037

Recommended knowledge: Basic familiarity with file organisation theory and UNIX. Basic linear algebra and calculus skills are required, as is the ability to program in Java or C (or a comparable 3GL).

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: