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How the Overlap Between the Search Results of Different Retrieval Systems Correlates with Document Relevance

Anselm Spoerri

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


This paper provides an analysis of the overlap between the search results of retrieval systems that partici¬pated in TREC 3, 6, 7 and 8 to provide empirical support for some of the key assump¬tions guiding the design of data fusion methods. It shows that the potential relevance of a document increases exponentially as the number of search methods retrieving it increases – called the Authority Effect. It also shows that documents higher up in ranked lists and found by more sys¬tems are more likely to be relevant – called the Ranking Effect. Both effects can help ex¬plain why major data fusion methods perform well.

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