When engineering content is created and applied during the product lifecycle, it is often stored and forgotten. Since search remains text-based, engineers do not have the means to harness and reuse past designs and experiences. On the other hand, current information retrieval approaches based on statistical methods and keyword matching are not directly applicable to the engineering domain. We propose a new computational framework that includes an ontological basis and algorithms to retrieve unstructured engineering documents while handling complex queries. The results from the preliminary test demonstrate that our method outperforms the traditional keyword-based search with respect to the standard information retrieval measurement.

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