SchenQL -- A Domain-Specific Query Language on Bibliographic Metadata

Christin Katharina Kreutz, Michael Wolz, Ralf Schenkel

Information access needs to be uncomplicated, users rather use incorrect data which is easily received than correct information which is harder to obtain. Querying bibliographic metadata from digital libraries mainly supports simple textual queries. A user's demand for answering more sophisticated queries could be fulfilled by the usage of SQL. As such means are highly complex and challenging even for trained programmers, a domain-specific query language is needed to provide a straightforward way to access data. In this paper we present SchenQL, a simple query language focused on bibliographic metadata in the area of computer science while using the vocabulary of domain-experts. By facilitating a plain syntax and fundamental aggregate functions, we propose an easy-to-learn domain-specific query language capable of search and exploration. It is suitable for domain-experts as well as casual users while still providing the possibility to answer complicated queries. A user study with computer scientists directly compared our query language to SQL and clearly demonstrated SchenQL's suitability and usefulness for given queries as well as users' acceptance.

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