The Notion of Relevance in Information Science

The Notion of Relevance in Information Science
Everybody knows what relevance is. But what is it really?

Tefko Saracevic
ISBN: 9781598297683 | PDF ISBN: 9781598297690
Copyright © 2016 | 130 Pages | Publication Date: September, 2016

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Everybody knows what relevance is. It is a "ya'know" notion, concept, idea - no need to explain whatsoever. Searching for relevant information using information technology (IT) became a ubiquitous activity in contemporary information society. Relevant information means information that pertains to the matter or problem at hand - it is directly connected with effective communication. The purpose of this book is to trace the evolution and with it the history of thinking and research on relevance in information science and related fields from the human point of view. The objective is to synthesize what we have learned about relevance in several decades of investigation about the notion in information science. This book deals with how people deal with relevance - it does not cover how systems deal with relevance; it does not deal with algorithms. Spurred by advances in information retrieval (IR) and information systems of various kinds in handling of relevance, a number of basic questions are raised: But what is relevance to start with? What are some of its properties and manifestations? How do people treat relevance? What affects relevance assessments? What are the effects of inconsistent human relevance judgments on tests of relative performance of different IR algorithms or approaches? These general questions are discussed in detail.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction
A Bit of History
Understanding, Manifestations, and Attributes
Models of Relevance
Theories of Relevance
Experimental Studies on Behavior of Relevance
Experimental Studies on Effects of Relevance
Effects of Inconsistent Relevance Judgments on Information Retrieval Test Results
Conclusions
References
Author Biography

About the Author(s)

Tefko Saracevic, Rutgers University
Tefko Saracevic is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University. He was the president of the American Society for Information Science and received the Society's Award of Merit (the highest award given by the Society). He also received the Gerard Salton Award for Excellence in Research, by the Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval, Association for Computing Machinery (also the highest award given by the Group). As of July 2016, in Scopus (the largest abstract and citation database of scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings), he has received 3,762 citations (excluding self-citations). In Google Scholar (with broader coverage of all kinds of documents in addition to journals) he received 11,778 citations. He is a member of a number of editorial boards. From 1985 to 2008 he was the Editor-in-Chief of "Information Processing & Management" an international journal. Although retired, he is still active - among others, teaching online courses, writing, and participating in conferences. He has published a number of articles on the topic of relevance in information science - an area of professional lifelong interest.

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