Conference Proceedings

Improvements that don't add up: Ad-hoc retrieval results since 1998

TG Armstrong, A Moffat, W Webber, J Zobel

International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Proceedings | Published : 2009


The existence and use of standard test collections in information retrieval experimentation allows results to be compared between research groups and over time. Such comparisons, however, are rarely made. Most researchers only report results from their own experiments, a practice that allows lack of overall improvement to go unnoticed. In this paper, we analyze results achieved on the TREC Ad-Hoc, Web, Terabyte, and Robust collections as reported in SIGIR (1998 - 2008) and CIKM (2004 - 2008). Dozens of individual published experiments report effectiveness improvements, and often claim statistical significance. However, there is little evidence of improvement in ad-hoc retrieval technology ov..

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