Using Induction to Refine Information Retrieval Strategies

Catherine Baudin, Barney Pell, Smadar Kedar

Conceptual information retrieval systems USC structured document indices, domain knowledge and a set of heuristic retrieval strategies to match user queries with a set of indices describing the document’s content. Such retrieval strategies increase the set of relevant documents retrieved (increase recall), but at the expense of returning additional irrelevant documents (decrease precision). Usually in conceptual information retrieval systems this tradeoff is managed by hand and with difficulty. This paper discusses ways of managing this tradeoff by the application of standard induction algorithms to refine the retrieval strategies in an engineering design domain. We gathered examples of query/retrieval pairs during the system’s operation using feedback from a user on the retrieved information. We then fed these examples to the induction a,lgorithm and generated decision trees that refine the existing set of rcLrieva1 strategies. We found that (1) induction improved the precision on a set of queries generated by another user, without a significant loss in recall, and (2) in an interactive mode, the decision trees pointed out flaws in the retrieval and indexing knowledge and suggested ways to refine the retrieval strategies.

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