There are a number of vertical search engines and several specialized tools like Google Scholar that help academics search for scholarly works on the Web. While searching for some documents on an optimization problem, I was curious if there was a good way to search for Mathematical documents on the Web. Most search engines do not have any special means to search for equations or support for special mathematical symbols (like summation or exponent). Many a times one knows the exact term that they are looking for, however sometimes you might be more familiar with an equation or might try to find special terms in a document. I wonder how Mathematicians and Physicists find what they are looking for?

LaTeX is a widely used authoring tool in academia and I believe that support for LaTeX queries would be extremely beneficial for search. At the very least, it would be great if Google Scholar could support this. There are a few prototypes online, but none that I am aware of have the coverage or are free or currently functional.

I see many challenges in parsing and representing mathematical data and it seems like an interesting problem that researchers in information retrieval would have definitely looked into. I would appreciate if anyone familiar with this topic can share some good references.

(Photo Courtessey darkmatter)

Hi,

Regarding modeling mathematical data on the Web, you might be interested in the use of semantic wikis for mathematics. 3 papers on this topic have been recently presented at the SemWiki2008 workshop: http://mathweb.org/semwiki2008/Main_Page#11:00-13:00:_Session_2:_Lightning_panels

HTH

Posted by: Alex. | June 22, 2008 at 04:43 PM

Thanks for the pointer Alex! Yeah.. this also reminded me of MathML. The applications of Semantic Web for Mathematical data is pretty cool. I guess, the expressive power is quite desirable and an ontology of mathematical concepts quite useful. To me however, it seemed like LaTeX support would be sufficient for many tasks and there are enough documents already available in LaTeX. Do you think that there might be perhaps some way to map (at least some subset) of LaTeX vocabulary to an Ontology?

Posted by: Akshay Java | June 23, 2008 at 01:08 AM

Searching on Swoogle, I see some ontologies that have defined mathematical concepts.

Posted by: Akshay Java | June 23, 2008 at 08:08 PM

I don't have any specific projects to mention, but the folks at the 'Mathematical Knowledge Management' conference might (I hope!):

http://events.cs.bham.ac.uk/cicm08/mkm08/

Posted by: Nick Hamblet | June 26, 2008 at 10:23 PM

Nick, thanks for sharing this conference info with us. I would appreciate if you can let us know about any interesting papers you see there!

Posted by: Akshay Java | June 28, 2008 at 02:31 AM

I very much wish I could. Sadly, I won't be there :(

Posted by: Nick Hamblet | June 28, 2008 at 07:19 AM