‘Since the 1940s the problem of information storage and retrieval has attracted increasing attention’.
Keith Rijsbergen. Information Retrieval, chapter 1. 1979. http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/Keith/Chapter.1/Ch.1.html
' In principle, information storage and retrieval is simple. Suppose there is a store of documents and a person (user of the store) formulates a question (request or query) to which the answer is a set of documents satisfying the information need expressed by his question. He can obtain the set by reading all the documents in the store, retaining the relevant documents and discarding all the others. In a sense, this constitutes 'perfect' retrieval. This solution is obviously impracticable. A user either does not have the time or does not wish to spend the time reading the entire document collection, apart from the fact that it may be physically impossible for him to do so'.