Information Retrieval Evaluation

Information Retrieval Evaluation

Donna Harman
ISBN: 9781598299717 | PDF ISBN: 9781598299724
Copyright © 2011 | 119 Pages | Publication Date: 01/01/2011

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Evaluation has always played a major role in information retrieval, with the early pioneers such as Cyril Cleverdon and Gerard Salton laying the foundations for most of the evaluation methodologies in use today. The retrieval community has been extremely fortunate to have such a well-grounded evaluation paradigm during a period when most of the human language technologies were just developing. This lecture has the goal of explaining where these evaluation methodologies came from and how they have continued to adapt to the vastly changed environment in the search engine world today.

The lecture starts with a discussion of the early evaluation of information retrieval systems, starting with the Cranfield testing in the early 1960s, continuing with the Lancaster "user" study for MEDLARS, and presenting the various test collection investigations by the SMART project and by groups in Britain. The emphasis in this chapter is on the how and the why of the various methodologies developed. The second chapter covers the more recent "batch" evaluations, examining the methodologies used in the various open evaluation campaigns such as TREC, NTCIR (emphasis on Asian languages), CLEF (emphasis on European languages), INEX (emphasis on semi-structured data), etc. Here again the focus is on the how and why, and in particular on the evolving of the older evaluation methodologies to handle new information access techniques. This includes how the test collection techniques were modified and how the metrics were changed to better reflect operational environments. The final chapters look at evaluation issues in user studies -- the interactive part of information retrieval, including a look at the search log studies mainly done by the commercial search engines. Here the goal is to show, via case studies, how the high-level issues of experimental design affect the final evaluations.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Early History
"Batch" Evaluation Since 1992
Interactive Evaluation

About the Author(s)

Donna Harman, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Donna Harman graduated from Cornell University as an Electrical Engineer, and started her career working with Professor Gerard Salton in the design and building of several test collections, including the first MEDLARS one. Later work was concerned with searching large volumes of data on relatively small computers, starting with building the IRX system at the National Library of Medicine in 1987, and then the Citator/PRISE system at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1988. In 1990 she was asked by DARPA to put together a realistic test collection on the order of 2 gigabytes of text, and this test collection was used in the first Text REtrieval Conference (TREC). TREC is now in its 20th year, and along with its sister evaluations such as CLEF,NTCIR,INEX,and FIRE,serves as a major testing ground for information retrieval algorithms. She received the 1999 Strix Award from the U.K Institute of Information Scientists for this effort. Starting in 2000 she worked with Paul Over at NIST to form a new effort (DUC) to evaluate text summarization, which has now been folded into the Text Analysis Conference (TAC), providing evaluation for several areas in NLP.

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