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Track: Panels

Paper Title:
Information "Uptrieval": Exploring Models for Content Assimilation and Aggregation for Developing Regions


  • Sheetal K. Agarwal(IBM India Research Lab)
  • Arun Kumar(IBM India Research Lab)
  • Sougata Mukherjea(IBM India Research Lab)
  • Amit Anil Nanavati(IBM India Research Lab)
  • Nitendra Rajput(IBM India Research Lab)

Information Retrieval on the WWW is important because it is hard to find what one is looking for. There is a plethora of information available, and searching relevant information is a challenge. In the case of developing regions, we have the opposite problem: (1) Information availability of global markets is scarce. Most of the consumers and producers (of information as well as goods) are relegated to local markets in geographical vicinity. In order to reach wider markets, it is important for this local information to reach wider audiences. (Local information for global consumption LIG model). (2) At the same time, locally relevant information, such as delays in bus/train timings, mobile medical van schedule changes, electricity outage timings, is not easily available either. (Local information for local consumption LIL model). We introduce the term Information Uptrieval to address the reverse problem of acquiring, assimilating, aggregating and uploading global and local information that is relevant for developing regions to a platform that improves the reach of the information. While the WWW is an obvious example of one such platform, given the low internet penetration in such regions, we need to explore effective alternatives. Several innovative, but disconnected approaches have been attempted to address the information uptrieval problem, ranging from the use of DVDs (eSagu, http://www.esagu.in/esagu) through the use of wireless stations on motorcycles (First Mile Solutions, http://www.firstmilesolutions.com). Many of these have met with reasonable success in their pilot deployments.

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