Knowledge Systems Laboratory
Stanford University

Abstract: Trusting Answers on the Web

The Web lacks support for explaining information provenance. When web applications return answers, many users do not know what information sources were used, when they were updated, how reliable the source was, or what information was looked up versus derived. The Web also lacks support for explaining reasoning paths used to derive or retrieve answers. The Inference Web (IW) aims to take opaque query answers and make the answers more transparent by providing explanations. The explanations include information concerning where answers came from and how they were derived (or retrieved). This chapter describes the IW support for explanations on question answering (QA) environments. A characterization of explanation strategies on QA environments is presented. One usage of the Inference Web infrastructure, and in particular of the browser, explainer, and portable proof specification for supporting multiple explanation strategies in the KSL Wine Agent is described in the chapter. Also, a generic architecture for a QA environment incorporating the Inference Web for explaining answers is presented.

Deborah L. McGuinness and Paulo Pinheiro da Silva. Trusting Answers on the Web. In Mark T. Maybury, editor, New Directions in Question Answering. AAAI/MIT Press. November 2004. abstract. The pdf version and postscript version is available.

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