The SIRE project aims at developing a ''sonification" of an Information Retrieval environment. The main objective is to enable a user to interact via spoken requests and responses with a Probabilistic Information Retrieval Systems (PIRS) over a low bandwidth communication system, like for example a telephone line.
The user will be able to submit queries, give commands and relevance assessments to a PIRS, and receive spoken responses from the PIRS to his commands. The human-computer interaction will be handled by an ''intelligent" vocal interface, the Vocal Dialog manager (VMD) that will stand between the user and the PIRS. The VDM will provide the basic functions of speech-to-text and text-to-speech translation. More importantly, it will also handle the uncertainty inherent in both the translation and in the cognitive processes associated with IR. A model of the user-VMD-PIRS interaction will be developed to handle this uncertainty.