CSE4500 Information Retrieval Systems , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Dr. Maria Indrawan


This unit focuses on the theory and practises of information retrieval, in particular, the retrieval of data from non-traditional databases. Examples of the non-traditional databases are XML collections and text databases. The XML technologies covered includes DTD, XML Schema, XPath and XSLT. The text retrieval issues include indexing, storing, retrieving and measuring performance. An introduction to the design and implementation of search engine is also provided.



On completion of the subject, students should be able to:

  • have an understanding of the roles of XML in providing IT solutions to organisations.
  • have the knowledge of the different XML technologies and their roles in providing XML solutions to organisational problems.
  • have the knowledge of specific issues and requirements related to the adoption of XML technologies in organisation, in particular XML document, DTD, XML Schema, XPath and XSLT.
  • be able to design and create a well-formed and valid XML document.
  • be able to retrieve and transform XML document into a number of different presentation format.
  • ¨ have an understanding of the different issues related to storing and retrieving textual data.
  • ¨ be able to identify different components of a text retrieval system.
  • ¨ be able to evaluate the different techniques used in building a text retrieval systems.
  • - have an understanding of the different design and implementation issues related to search engines.

Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed CSE9002 or equivalent

You should have knowledge of

  • HTML
  • Relational database concepts, including SQL, indexing.
  • File organisation.
  • Understanding of a programming language

Unit relationships CSE4500 is an elective unit in the MIT, MAIT and the MIT(Minor Thesis). Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed CSE9002 or equivalent.
Texts and software

Required text(s)

Dwight Peltzer, XML:Language Mechanics & Applications, Addison Wesley, 2004, 0-201-77168-3

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements:

XML Writer 2.6, Wattle Software

Software may be:

  • downloaded from www.xml.org (30 days evaluation copy)

Hardware requirements:

Recommended reading

Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
Study resources

Study resources for CSE4500 are:

The unit homepage is located at www.csse.monash.edu.au/courseware/cse4500.

Structure and organisation



Study Guide

Key Dates

1 Introduction to XML, DTD
2 XML Schema Part 1
3 XML Schema Part 2
4 XML design and Namespace
5 XPath, XSLT Part 1
6 XSLT Part 2 Assignment 1, Monday
7 Introduction to Text Retrieval
8 ANZAC Day, No lecture
9 Text Indexing
10 Storage Structure and Retrieval Models Assignment 2, Monday
11 Performance Measurement for Text Retrieval Systems
12 Distributed Text Retrieval Systems/Search Engines
13 Revision Assignment 3, Monday

The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment for the unit consists of 3 assignments with a weighting of 50% and an examination with a weighting of 50%. Read this section VERY carefully.


Component A:

· Weekly folio +attendance hurdle

· Assignment 1 – XML Design 20% (week 6)

· Assignment 2 – XML Programming 20% (week 10)

· Unit Test hurdle (week 13)

Each week you will need to submit your group work progress on the assignment to the tutor. It is also expected that the each member of the group will attend the tutorial every week, hence contribute to the development of the assignment.

The assignment 1 and 2 will be conducted as a group assignment. The group will be made up of 3-4 people. The final mark for the individual member of the group may vary. The unit test ‘s mark will be used to moderate the individual mark of assignment 1 and 2.

Component B

Assignment 3 Research Paper 10% (week 13)

Component C:

Exam 50%


Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

  • obtain 50% of the total amount of marks available in the unit and
  • at least 40% of the available marks in each component A, B and C.

In the situation whereby you fail to meet the 40% rule, the final mark that will be published is the mark of the assessment that failed to meet the 40% rule.

For example, a final mark of 38 will be awarded to a student who receives 70% on all of the assignments and 38% on the exam.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

Assessment Requirements


Due Date


XML Design Monday, 3rd April 2006 20 %
XML Programming Monday, 8th May 2006 20 %
Research Paper Monday, 29th May 2006 10 %
Examination 2 hour(s), closed book Exam period starts 5th June. 50 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on the CSE4500 unit website. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

Assignment Submission Methods

Assignments to be submitted in both printed and softcopy format for the XML Design and XML programming assignments.

All assignments need to be submitted to the Caulfield School of IT assignment box located on the H building level 6 by 12 NOON on the due date.

The Research Paper assignment need to be submitted to the plagiarism detection site: http://viper.csse.monash.edu.au/damocles/submit/.

The time stamp of the damocles system will be used as the indicator of the submission time and date.



Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 10% of the available mark per day. Submission received later than one week after the due date will not normally be accepted.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made to the unit leader (Dr. Maria Indrawan) by email at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

Feedback Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.



Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the homepage of the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Ms Maria Indrawan
Phone +61 3 990 31916
Fax +61 3 990 31077

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 27, 2006