Abstract

Capturing and reusing design experience holds great potential for improving designer effectiveness The first step toward leveraging lessons from the past for design decision making is gaining access to them Because decisions early in the design process largely determine its ultimate success, it is important to embrace the informal, unstructured information that is prevalent during conceptual design Information retrieval is proposed as the basis for access to this informal design information By creating hierarchical thesauri of life cycle design issues, design process terms, and component and system functional decompositions, we hope to establish an intermediate language in which design context can be captured Experiments in design information retrieval exploiting design context for determining document similarity within design case studies and design notebooks demonstrate the value of this approach.

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