Inverted Files for Text Search Engines

Justin Zobel
School of Computer Science and Information Technology, RMIT University, Victoria 3001, Australia.

Alistair Moffat
Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


ACM Computing Surveys, 38(2):6.1-6.56, 2006.


The technology underlying text search engines has advanced dramatically in the past decade. The development of a family of new index representations has led to a wide range of innovations in index storage, index construction, and query evaluation. While some of these developments have been consolidated in textbooks, many specific techniques are not widely known or the textbook descriptions are out of date. In this tutorial we introduce the key techniques in the area, describing both a core implementation and how the core can be enhanced through a range of extensions. We conclude with a comprehensive bibliography of text indexing literature.

Published paper