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Multifaceted Image Similarity Criteria as Revealed by Sorting Tasks

Mari Laine-Hernandez and Stina Westman

ASIS&T 2008 Annual Meeting (AM08 2008)
Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008


This paper reports a study on the types of image categories constructed from magazine photographs. A novel sorting procedure was tested with the aim of providing more data on image similarity and possible category overlap. Expert and non-expert participants were compared in their categorizations. The new procedure resulted in an average of 66%-111% increase in data gathered compared to basic free sorting. Categories were constructed on various levels: image Function, main visual content (People, Objects and Scene), conceptual content (Theme) and descriptors (Story, Affective, Description, Photography and Visual). Most categories were based on the theme and people portrayed in the photograph, and in the case of the experts, image function. Also abstract and syntactic similarity criteria were employed by the participants. The categories created by each participant showed on average a 35%-53% overlap. Participants also demonstrated a strong tendency to combine several categorization criteria from different levels in a single category. These results indicate a need for a multifaceted approach in future image categorization studies and frameworks.

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