Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Databases and information systems are often hard to use because they do not explicitly attempt to cooperate with their users. Direct answers to database and knowledge base queries may not always be the best answers. Instead, an answer with extra or alternative information may be more useful and less misleading to a user. This paper surveys foundational work that has been done toward endowing intelligent information systems with the ability to exhibit cooperative behavior. Grice's maxims of cooperative conversation, which provided a starting point for the field of cooperative answering, are presented along with relevant work in natural language dialogue systems, database query answering systems, and logic programming and deductive databases. The paper gives a detailed account of cooperative techniques that have been developed for considering users' beliefs and expectations, presuppositions, and misconceptions. Also, work in intensional answering and generalizing queries and answers is covered. Finally, the Cooperative Answering System at Maryland, which is intended to be a general, portable platform for supporting a wide spectrum of cooperative answering techniques, is described.
Type of Medium: