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Journal cover: Program: electronic library and information systems

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Online from: 1966

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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An algorithm for suffix stripping

Document Information:
Title:An algorithm for suffix stripping
Author(s):M.F. Porter, (Computer Laboratory, Cambridge, UK)
Citation:M.F. Porter, (2006) "An algorithm for suffix stripping", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 40 Iss: 3, pp.211 - 218
Keywords:Computer applications, Historical research, Information retrieval
Article type:Technical paper
DOI:10.1108/00330330610681286 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The automatic removal of suffixes from words in English is of particular interest in the field of information retrieval. This work was originally published in Program in 1980 and is republished as part of a series of articles commemorating the 40th anniversary of the journal.

Design/methodology/approach – An algorithm for suffix stripping is described, which has been implemented as a short, fast program in BCPL.

Findings – Although simple, it performs slightly better than a much more elaborate system with which it has been compared. It effectively works by treating complex suffixes as compounds made up of simple suffixes, and removing the simple suffixes in a number of steps. In each step the removal of the suffix is made to depend upon the form of the remaining stem, which usually involves a measure of its syllable length.

Originality/value – The piece provides a useful historical document on information retrieval.

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