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A STATISTICAL INTERPRETATION OF TERM SPECIFICITY AND ITS APPLICATION IN RETRIEVAL

KAREN SPARCK JONES (University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 January 1972

Abstract

The exhaustivity of document descriptions and the specificity of index terms are usually regarded as independent. It is suggested that specificity should be interpreted statistically, as a function of term use rather than of term meaning. The effects on retrieval of variations in term specificity are examined, experiments with three test collections showing in particular that frequently‐occurring terms are required for good overall performance. It is argued that terms should be weighted according to collection frequency, so that matches on less frequent, more specific, terms are of greater value than matches on frequent terms. Results for the test collections show that considerable improvements in performance are obtained with this very simple procedure.

Citation

SPARCK JONES, K. (1972), "A STATISTICAL INTERPRETATION OF TERM SPECIFICITY AND ITS APPLICATION IN RETRIEVAL", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 11-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb026526

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1972, MCB UP Limited