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Abstract

Recent work in automatic question answering has called for question taxonomies as a critical component of the process of machine understanding of questions. There is a long tradition of classifying questions in library reference services, and digital reference services have a strong need for automation to support scalability. Digital reference and question answering systems have the potential to arrive at a highly fruitful symbiosis. To move towards this goal, an extensive review was conducted of bodies of literature from several fields that deal with questions, to identify question taxonomies that exist in these bodies of literature. In the course of this review, five question taxonomies were identified, at four levels of linguistic analysis.