Effective ranking with arbitrary passages

Marcin Kaszkiel, Justin Zobel
2001 Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology  
Text retrieval systems store a great variety of documents, from abstracts, newspaper articles, and Web pages to journal articles, books, court transcripts, and legislation. Collections of diverse types of documents expose shortcomings in current approaches to ranking. Use of short fragments of documents, called passages, instead of whole documents can overcome these shortcomings: passage ranking provides convenient units of text to return to the user, can avoid the difficulties of comparing
more » ... ments of different length, and enables identification of short blocks of relevant material among otherwise irrelevant text. In this article, we compare several kinds of passage in an extensive series of experiments. We introduce a new type of passage, overlapping fragments of either fixed or variable length. We show that ranking with these arbitrary passages gives substantial improvements in retrieval effectiveness over traditional document ranking schemes, particularly for queries on collections of long documents. Ranking with arbitrary passages shows consistent improvements compared to ranking with whole documents, and to ranking with previous passage types that depend on document structure or topic shifts in documents.
doi:10.1002/1532-2890(2000)9999:9999<::aid-asi1075>3.0.co;2-# fatcat:o6qu5isg5fbyfhosefngb7uwxy