Combining Collaborative Filtering with Personal Agents for Better Recommendations

Nathaniel Good, J. Ben Schafer, Joseph A. Konstan, Al Borchers, Badrul Sarwar, Jon Herlocker, and John Riedl, University of Minnesota

Information filtering agents and collaborative filtering both attempt to alleviate information overload by identifying which items a user will find worthwhile. Information filtering (IF) focuses on the analysis of item content and the development of a personal user interest profile. Collaborative filtering (CF) focuses on identification of other users with similar tastes and the use of their opinions to recommend items. Each technique has advantages and limitations that suggest that the two could be beneficially combined. This paper shows that a CF framework can be used to combine personal IF agents and the opinions of a community of users to produce better recommendations than either agents or users can produce alone. It also shows that using CF to create a personal combination of a set of agents produces better results than either individual agents or other combination mechanisms. One key implication of these results is that users can avoid having to select among agents; they can use them all and let the CF framework select the best ones for them.

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