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  • The Probabilistic Relevance Framework (PRF) is a formal framework for document retrieval, grounded in work done in the 1970–1980s, which led to the development of one of the most successful text-retrieval algorithms, BM25. In recent years, research in the PRF has yielded new retrieval models capable of taking into account document meta-data (especially structure and link-graph information). Again, this has led to one of the most successful Web-search and corporate-search algorithms, BM25F. This work presents the PRF from a conceptual point of view, describing the probabilistic modelling assumptions behind the framework and the different ranking algorithms that result from its application: the binary independence model, relevance feedback models, BM25 and BM25F. It also discusses the relation between the PRF and other statistical models for IR, and covers some related topics, such as the use of non-textual features, and parameter optimisation for models with free parameters.

  • The goal of the Redundancy, Diversity, and Interdependent Document Relevance workshop was to explore how ranking, performance assessment and learning to rank can move beyond the assumption that the relevance of a document is independent of other documents. In particular, the workshop focussed on three themes: the effect of redundancy on information retrieval utility (for example, minimizing the wasted effort of users who must skip redundant information), the role of diversity (for example, for mitigating the risk of misinterpreting ambiguous queries), and algorithms for set-level optimization (where the quality of a set of retrieved documents is not simply the sum of its parts). This workshop built directly upon the Beyond Binary Relevance: Preferences, Diversity and Set-Level Judgments workshop at SIGIR 2008 [3], shifting focus to address the questions left open by the discussions and results from that workshop. As such, it was the first workshop to explicitly focus on the related research challenges of redundancy, diversity, and interdependent relevance – all of which require novel performance measures, learning methods, and evaluation techniques. The workshop program committee consisted of 15 researchers from academia and industry, with experience in IR evaluation, machine learning, and IR algorithmic design. Over 40 people attended the workshop. This report aims to summarize the workshop, and also to systematize common themes and key concepts so as to encourage research in the three workshop themes. It contains our attempt to summarize and organize the topics that came up in presentations as well as in discussions, pulling out common elements. Many audience members contributed, yet due to the free-flowing discussion, attributing all the observations to particular audience members is unfortunately impossible. Not all audience members would necessarily agree with the views presented, but we do attempt to present a consensus view as far as possible.

  • Learning to rank for Information Retrieval (IR) is a task to automatically construct a ranking model using training data, such that the model can sort new objects according to their degrees of relevance, preference, or importance. Many IR problems are by nature ranking problems, and many IR technologies can be potentially enhanced by using learning-to-rank techniques. The objective of this tutorial is to give an introduction to this research direction. Specifically, the existing learning-to-rank algorithms are reviewed and categorized into three approaches: the pointwise, pairwise, and listwise approaches. The advantages and disadvantages with each approach are analyzed, and the relationships between the loss functions used in these approaches and IR evaluation measures are discussed. Then the empirical evaluations on typical learning-to-rank methods are shown, with the LETOR collection as a benchmark dataset, which seems to suggest that the listwise approach be the most effective one among all the approaches. After that, a statistical ranking theory is introduced, which can describe different learning-to-rank algorithms, and be used to analyze their query-level generalization abilities. At the end of the tutorial, we provide a summary and discuss potential future work on learning to rank.

  • This paper provides overview and instruction regarding the evaluation of interactive information retrieval systems with users. The primary goal of this article is to catalog and compile material related to this topic into a single source. This article (1) provides historical background on the development of user-centered approaches to the evaluation of interactive information retrieval systems; (2) describes the major components of interactive information retrieval system evaluation; (3) describes different experimental designs and sampling strategies; (4) presents core instruments and data collection techniques and measures; (5) explains basic data analysis techniques; and (4) reviews and discusses previous studies. This article also discusses validity and reliability issues with respect to both measures and methods, presents background information on research ethics and discusses some ethical issues which are specific to studies of interactive information retrieval (IIR). Finally, this article concludes with a discussion of outstanding challenges and future research directions.

  • We live in an information age that requires us, more than ever, to represent, access, and use information. Over the last several decades, we have developed a modern science and technology for information retrieval, relentlessly pursuing the vision of a "memex" that Vannevar Bush proposed in his seminal article, "As We May Think." Faceted search plays a key role in this program. Faceted search addresses weaknesses of conventional search approaches and has emerged as a foundation for interactive information retrieval. User studies demonstrate that faceted search provides more effective information-seeking support to users than best-first search. Indeed, faceted search has become increasingly prevalent in online information access systems, particularly for e-commerce and site search. In this lecture, we explore the history, theory, and practice of faceted search. Although we cannot hope to be exhaustive, our aim is to provide sufficient depth and breadth to offer a useful resource to both researchers and practitioners. Because faceted search is an area of interest to computer scientists, information scientists, interface designers, and usability researchers, we do not assume that the reader is a specialist in any of these fields. Rather, we offer a self-contained treatment of the topic, with an extensive bibliography for those who would like to pursue particular aspects in more depth.

  • As information becomes more ubiquitous and the demands that searchers have on search systems grow, there is a need to support search behaviors beyond simple lookup. Information seeking is the process or activity of attempting to obtain information in both human and technological contexts. Exploratory search describes an information-seeking problem context that is open-ended, persistent, and multifaceted, and information-seeking processes that are opportunistic, iterative, and multitactical. Exploratory searchers aim to solve complex problems and develop enhanced mental capacities. Exploratory search systems support this through symbiotic human-machine relationships that provide guidance in exploring unfamiliar information landscapes. Exploratory search has gained prominence in recent years. There is an increased interest from the information retrieval, information science, and human-computer interaction communities in moving beyond the traditional turn-taking interaction model supported by major Web search engines, and toward support for human intelligence amplification and information use. In this lecture, we introduce exploratory search, relate it to relevant extant research, outline the features of exploratory search systems, discuss the evaluation of these systems, and suggest some future directions for supporting exploratory search. Exploratory search is a new frontier in the search domain and is becoming increasingly important in shaping our future world.

  • We study the problem of answering ambiguous web queries in a setting where there exists a taxonomy of information, and that both queries and documents may belong to more than one category according to this taxonomy. We present a systematic approach to diversifying results that aims to minimize the risk of dissatisfaction of the average user. We propose an algorithm that well approximates this objective in general, and is provably optimal for a natural special case. Furthermore, we generalize several classical IR metrics, including NDCG, MRR, and MAP, to explicitly account for the value of diversification. We demonstrate empirically that our algorithm scores higher in these generalized metrics compared to results produced by commercial search engines.

  • Understanding user intent is key to designing an effective ranking system in a search engine. In the absence of any explicit knowledge of user intent, search engines want to diversify results to improve user satisfaction. In such a setting, the probability ranking principle-based approach of presenting the most relevant results on top can be sub-optimal, and hence the search engine would like to trade-off relevance for diversity in the results. In analogy to prior work on ranking and clustering systems, we use the axiomatic approach to characterize and design diversification systems. We develop a set of natural axioms that a diversification system is expected to satisfy, and show that no diversification function can satisfy all the axioms simultaneously. We illustrate the use of the axiomatic framework by providing three example diversification objectives that satisfy different subsets of the axioms. We also uncover a rich link to the facility dispersion problem that results in algorithms for a number of diversification objectives. Finally, we propose an evaluation methodology to characterize the objectives and the underlying axioms. We conduct a large scale evaluation of our objectives based on two data sets: a data set derived from the Wikipedia disambiguation pages and a product database.

  • This study examined how searchers interacted with a web-based, faceted library catalog when conducting exploratory searches. It applied eye tracking, stimulated recall interviews, and direct observation to investigate important aspects of gaze behavior in a faceted search interface: what components of the interface searchers looked at, for how long, and in what order. It yielded empirical data that will be useful for both practitioners (e.g., for improving search interface designs), and researchers (e.g., to inform models of search behavior). Results of the study show that participants spent about 50 seconds per task looking at (fixating on) the results, about 25 seconds looking at the facets, and only about 6 seconds looking at the query itself. These findings suggest that facets played an important role in the exploratory search process.

  • Introduction. This paper examines the continued usefulness of Kuhlthau's Information Search Process as a model of information behaviour in new, technologically rich information environments. Method. A comprehensive review of research that has explored the model in various settings and a study employing qualitative and quantitative methods undertaken in the context of an inquiry project among school students (n=574). Students were interviewed at three stages of the information search process, during which nine feelings were identified and tracked. Results. Findings show individual patterns, but confirm the Information Search Process as a valid model in the changing information environment for describing information behaviour in tasks that require knowledge construction. The findings support the progression of feelings, thoughts and actions as suggested by the search process model. Conclusions. The information search process model remains useful for explaining students' information behaviour. The model was found to have value as a research tool as well as for practical application.

  • In this paper, we define and present a comprehensive classification of user intent for Web searching. The classification consists of three hierarchical levels of informational, navigational, and transactional intent. After deriving attributes of each, we then developed a software application that automatically classified queries using a Web search engine log of over a million and a half queries submitted by several hundred thousand users. Our findings show that more than 80% of Web queries are informational in nature, with about 10% each being navigational and transactional. In order to validate the accuracy of our algorithm, we manually coded 400 queries and compared the results from this manual classification to the results determined by the automated method. This comparison showed that the automatic classification has an accuracy of 74%. Of the remaining 25% of the queries, the user intent is vague or multi-faceted, pointing to the need for probabilistic classification. We discuss how search engines can use knowledge of user intent to provide more targeted and relevant results in Web searching.

  • Evaluation measures act as objective functions to be optimized by information retrieval systems. Such objective functions must accurately reflect user requirements, particularly when tuning IR systems and learning ranking functions. Ambiguity in queries and redundancy in retrieved documents are poorly reflected by current evaluation measures. In this paper, we present a framework for evaluation that systematically rewards novelty and diversity. We develop this framework into a specific evaluation measure, based on cumulative gain. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach using a test collection based on the TREC question answering track.

  • The article describes the nature of a faceted classification, and its application in document retrieval. The kinds of facet used are illustrated. Procedures are then discussed for identifying facets in a subject field, populating the facets with individual subject terms, arranging these in helpful sequences, using the scheme to classify documents, and searching the resultant classified index, with particular reference to Internet search.

  • All is flux. —Plato on Knowledge in the Theaetetus (about 369 BC) Relevance is a, if not even the, key notion in information science in general and information retrieval in particular. This two-part critical review traces and synthesizes the scholarship on relevance over the past 30 years or so and provides an updated framework within which the still widely dissonant ideas and works about relevance might be interpreted and related. It is a continuation and update of a similar review that appeared in 1975 under the same title, considered here as being Part I. The present review is organized in two parts: Part II addresses the questions related to nature and manifestations of relevance, and Part III addresses questions related to relevance behavior and effects. In Part II, the nature of relevance is discussed in terms of meaning ascribed to relevance, theories used or proposed, and models that have been developed. The manifestations of relevance are classified as to several kinds of relevance that form an interdependent system of relevancies. In Part III, relevance behavior and effects are synthesized using experimental and observational works that incorporated data. In both parts, each section concludes with a summary that in effect provides an interpretation and synthesis of contemporary thinking on the topic treated or suggests hypotheses for future research. Analyses of some of the major trends that shape relevance work are offered in conclusions.

  • Purpose – Development of an effective search system and interface largely depends on usability studies. The aim of this paper is to present the results of an empirical evaluation of a prototype web site search and browsing tool based on multidimensional taxonomies derived from the use of faceted classification. Design/methodology/approach – A prototype Faceted Classification System (FCS), which classifies and organizes web documents under different facets (orthogonal sets of categories), was implemented on the domain of an academic institute. Facet are created from content oriented metadata, and then assembled into multiple taxonomies that describe alternative classifications of the web site content, such as by subject and location. The search and browsing interfaces use these taxonomies to enable users to access information in multiple ways. The paper compares the FCS interfaces to the existing single‐classification system to evaluate the usability of the facets in typical navigation and searching tasks. Findings – The findings suggest that performance and usability are significantly better with the FCS in the areas of efficient access, search success, flexibility, understanding of content, relevant search result, and satisfaction. These results are especially promising since unfamiliarity often leads users to reject new search interfaces. Originality/value – The results of the study in this paper can significantly contribute to interface research in the IR community, emphasizing the advantages of multidimensional taxonomies in online information collections.

  • Purpose – This paper aims to provide an overview of principles and procedures involved in creating a faceted classification scheme for use in resource discovery in an online environment. Design/methodology/approach – Facet analysis provides an established rigorous methodology for the conceptual organization of a subject field, and the structuring of an associated classification or controlled vocabulary. This paper explains how that methodology was applied to the humanities in the FATKS project, where the objective was to explore the potential of facet analytical theory for creating a controlled vocabulary for the humanities, and to establish the requirements of a faceted classification appropriate to an online environment. A detailed faceted vocabulary was developed for two areas of the humanities within a broader facet framework for the whole of knowledge. Research issues included how to create a data model which made the faceted structure explicit and machine-readable and provided for its further development and use. Findings – In order to support easy facet combination in indexing, and facet searching and browsing on the interface, faceted classification requires a formalized data structure and an appropriate tool for its management. The conceptual framework of a faceted system proper can be applied satisfactorily to humanities, and fully integrated within a vocabulary management system. Research limitations/implications – The procedures described in this paper are concerned only with the structuring of the classification, and do not extend to indexing, retrieval and application issues. Practical implications – Many stakeholders in the domain of resource discovery consider developing their own classification system and supporting tools. The methods described in this paper may clarify the process of building a faceted classification and may provide some useful ideas with respect to the vocabulary maintenance tool. Originality/value – As far as the authors are aware there is no comparable research in this area.

  • The use of data stored in transaction logs of Web search engines, Intranets, and Web sites can provide valuable insight into understanding the information-searching process of online searchers. This understanding can enlighten information system design, interface development, and devising the information architecture for content collections. This article presents a review and foundation for conducting Web search transaction log analysis. A methodology is outlined consisting of three stages, which are collection, preparation, and analysis. The three stages of the methodology are presented in detail with discussions of goals, metrics, and processes at each stage. Critical terms in transaction log analysis for Web searching are defined. The strengths and limitations of transaction log analysis as a research method are presented. An application to log client-side interactions that supplements transaction logs is reported on, and the application is made available for use by the research community. Suggestions are provided on ways to leverage the strengths of, while addressing the limitations of, transaction log analysis for Web-searching research. Finally, a complete flat text transaction log from a commercial search engine is available as supplementary material with this manuscript.

  • This paper presents interface design recommendations for faceted navigation systems, based on 13 years of experience in experimenting with and evaluating such designs.

Last update from database: 2022-08-17, 1:42 a.m. (EST)