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Empirical studies of information retrieval methods show that good retrieval performance is closely related to the use of various retrieval heuristics, such as TF-IDF weighting. One basic research question is thus what exactly are these "necessary" heuristics that seem to cause good retrieval performance. In this paper, we present a formal study of retrieval heuristics. We formally define a set of basic desirable constraints that any reasonable retrieval function should satisfy, and check thesedoi:10.1145/1008992.1009004 dblp:conf/sigir/FangTZ04 fatcat:pythkoovifh3rcpq3wr3pta6fq