Not logged in.

Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title A comparative survey of recent natural language interfaces for databases
Organization Unit
  • Katrin Affolter
  • Kurt Stockinger
  • Abraham Bernstein
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Journal Title VLDB Journal
Publisher Springer
Geographical Reach international
ISSN 1066-8888
Volume 28
Number 5
Page Range 793 - 819
Date 2019
Abstract Text Over the last few years, natural language interfaces (NLI) for databases have gained significant traction both in academia and industry. These systems use very different approaches as described in recent survey papers. However, these systems have not been systematically compared against a set of benchmark questions in order to rigorously evaluate their functionalities and expressive power. In this paper, we give an overview over 24 recently developed NLIs for databases. Each of the systems is evaluated using a curated list of ten sample questions to show their strengths and weaknesses. We categorize the NLIs into four groups based on the methodology they are using: keyword-, pattern-, parsing- and grammar-based NLI. Overall, we learned that keyword-based systems are enough to answer simple questions. To solve more complex questions involving subqueries, the system needs to apply some sort of parsing to identify structural dependencies. Grammar-based systems are overall the most powerful ones, but are highly dependent on their manually designed rules. In addition to providing a systematic analysis of the major systems, we derive lessons learned that are vital for designing NLIs that can answer a wide range of user questions.
Official URL
Digital Object Identifier 10.1007/s00778-019-00567-8
Other Identification Number merlin-id:18121
PDF File Download from ZORA
Export BibTeX