Monday, November 27, 2006



I decided to play around with H-bot a little to see how valuable it would be in answering some of my questions. While I think the concept of H-bot is useful and the project has potential to be a useful learning tool for students, it still does need work. While 'popular' topics in American and Canadian history generally received good, or any, answer to simple questions, ex: When was the American Revolution. How a question was phrased is important to getting the right answer. This is problematic in a tol for students, who might not know the 'right' terms to use. For example H-Bot correctly answers 'when did Newfoundland join Confederation' but could not anwer 'when did Newfoundland join Canada'.

When I moved into more obscure topics, such as the Boer War H-bot could not answer any of my queries, including when the war was, where it was. To my question of who Paul Kruger was, H-bot replied: Stephanus Johannes Paul Kruger (October 10, 1825 - July 14 1904), a.k.a. "Oom" (Uncle) Paul, was born in the Cape Colony into a family of Prussian descent. He was a prominent Boer resistance leader against British rule and became president of the Transvaal Republic on [[30. The brief answer does not really give credit to the role that Kruger played. However a similarly brief entry exists for George Washington. This is understandable given that the project is that of a lone professor rather than a large company. Perhaps to build data, H-bot could allow users to enter data, like Wikipedia.

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