Information retrieval is the process of obtaining relevant information from databases or collections. It is basically concerned with facilitating the user's access to large amounts of information.
The information retrieval process involves the following stages:
1. Representing collections of information
2. User-initiated query
3. Understanding and processing of the queries
3. Retrieval of the appropriate information
The process may be repeated if the user chooses to refine the query to retrieve needed data.
C. J. van Rijsbergen
Introduction to Information Retrieval
Christopher D. Manning, Prabhakar Raghavan and Hinrich Schutze