Dynamic User-Defined Similarity Searching in Semi-Structured Text Retrieval
Proceedings of the Third International ICST Conference on Scalable Information Systems
Modern text retrieval systems often provide a similarity search utility, that allows the user to find efficiently a fixed number k of documents in the data set that are most similar to a given query (here a query is either a simple sequence of keywords or the identifier of a full document found in previous searches that is considered of interest). We consider the case of a textual database made of semi-structured documents. For example, in a corpus of bibliographic records any record may be
... ctured into three fields: title, authors and abstract, where each field is an unstructured free text. Each field, in turns, is modelled with a specific vector space. The problem is more complex when we also allow each such vector space to have an associated user-defined dynamic weight that influences its contribution to the overall dynamic aggregated and weighted similarity. This dynamic problem has been tackled in a recent paper by Singitham et al. in  in VLDB 2004. Their proposed solution, which we take as baseline, is a variant of the cluster-pruning technique that has the potential for scaling to very large corpora of documents, and is far more efficient than the naive exhaustive search. We devise an alternative way of embedding weights in the data structure, coupled with a non-trivial application of a clustering algorithm based on the furthest point first heuristic for the metric k-center problem. The validity of our approach is demonstrated experimentally by showing significant performance improvements over the scheme proposed in  . We improve significantly tradeoffs between query time and output quality with respect to the baseline method in  , and also with respect to a novel method by Chierichetti et al. to appear in ACM PODS 2007 . We also speed up the pre-processing time by a factor at least thirty.