22 April 2013
Document retrieval is one of the best established information retrieval activities since the sixties, pervading all search engines. Its aim is to obtain, from a collection of text documents, those most relevant to a pattern query. Current technology is mostly oriented to "natural language" text collections, where inverted indices are the preferred solution. As successful as this paradigm has been, it fails to properly handle some East Asian languages and other scenarios where the "natural language" assumptions do not hold. In this survey we cover the recent research in extending the document retrieval techniques to a broader class of sequence collections, which has applications bioinformatics, data and Web mining, chemoinformatics, software engineering, multimedia information retrieval, and many others. We focus on the algorithmic aspects of the techniques, uncovering a rich world of relations between document retrieval challenges and fundamental problems on trees, strings, range queries, discrete geometry, and others.