Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 1 — January 2001
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Feldman Wins 2000 Excellence In Writing Award

Bell & Howell Co.’s Information and Learning business unit has announced that Susan Feldman has won its annual Excellence In Writing award for her article “The Answer Machine,” which appeared in the January 2000 issue of Searcher magazine (see 

The award, which was founded in 1982 to recognize writers whose works advance the use and understanding of information technology, was given at the December Online Information conference in London. Feldman was presented with a check for $1,500 in prize money, an all-expense-paid trip to the London conference, and an etched crystal bowl. 

“The Answer Machine” imagines the information system of the future. The article explores technologies to create that system, starting with how we interact with the computer. Feldman discusses the search process itself and evaluates such techniques as natural language processing (NLP), NLP-based technologies, concept extraction and mapping, change monitoring, intelligent agents, speech recognition, and more. Appropriately applied, these tools, she suggests, “will find information, organize it, keep it up-to-date, forage for patterns, and present visual overviews for quick understanding.” 

Feldman is currently director of the Document and Content Technologies Re-search Program at IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. Prior to working for IDC, she was president of Datasearch, an independent information consulting firm specializing in the Internet and information-retrieval-related technologies, which she founded in 1981. She is a frequent speaker and writer on such topics as search engines and intelligent agents. She wrote the chapter on search engines for the 1999 volume of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences and served as the first editor of Digital Library News, an electronic newsletter published by the IEEE Computer Society. 

Feldman has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in linguistics from Cornell University. She previously won the Excellence In Writing award in 1998. 

Entries for the 2001 Excellence In Writing award will be accepted through September 2001. For a list of rules and eligibility, contact Tina Creguer at Bell & Howell Information and Learning at 734/761-4700, ext. 3805, or send e-mail inquiries to

Source: Bell & Howell Information and Learning, Ann Arbor, MI, 800/521-0600, 734/761-4700;

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