Team Users Guide




TEAM (Transportable English Data Access Medium) is a transportable natural-language (NL) interface to a database. It is a tool of considerable power that enables the user to retrieve data and elicit answers to queries by asking questions and giving commands in English instead of a formal query language. Moreover, TEAM is not limited to any particular database, but can be adapted to demonstrate natural-language retrieval in a broad variety of application domains. The prototype TEAM software described herein was developed by the Artificial Intelligence Center of SRI International to demonstrate the system’s capabilities and adaptive potential.

This user’s guide is designed to assist new TEAM users to learn about the concepts and tasks involved in retrieving data and in preparing a demonstration for a new application area. An effort has been made to illustrate some of the problems TEAM must solve in translating an English question into a database query. However, the necessarily limited scope of this guide cannot include a discussion of all the natural-language-processing issues addressed by the system; our emphasis is on a practical, rather than theoretical, understanding of the concepts. Similarly, while this guide cannot cover every detail of creating a new demonstration for TEAM, it does provide a thorough introduction to the procedure to be followed and explains how to use the on-line “help” provided by the system.

This introductory manual is designed to be read in conjunction with actual use of the system. While a casual perusal of this document may acquaint the reader with some of TEAM’s features, using the examples and suggestions as a practical guide to actually experimenting with the system will prove a much more effective method of learning how to use TEAM and becoming familiar with both its capabilities and its limitations. Much of this guide consists of comments, descriptions, and other background information, but the user is frequently instructed to perform some action as a learning experience. In the examples shown in the text, the portions printed in boldface are typed as selected by the user; these portions may or may not appear in boldface on the screen when TEAM is used. In the examples illustrated by figures, however, the type faces do correspond exactly to the screen display.

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