Learning to Disambiguate Search Queries from Short Sessions

author: Lilyana Mihalkova, University of Texas at Austin
published: Oct. 20, 2009,   recorded: September 2009,   views: 3393


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Web searches tend to be short and ambiguous. It is therefore not surprising that Web query disambiguation is an actively researched topic. To provide a personalized experience for a user, most existing work relies on search engine log data in which the search activities of that particular user, as well as other users, are recorded over long periods of time. Such approaches may raise privacy concerns and may be difficult to implement for pragmatic reasons. We present an approach to Web query disambiguation that bases its predictions only on a short glimpse of user search activity, captured in a brief session of 4-6 previous searches on average. Our method exploits the relations of the current search session to previous similarly short sessions of other users in order to predict the user’s intentions and is based on Markov logic, a statistical relational learning model that has been successfully applied to challenging language problems in the past. We present empirical results that demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach on data collected from a commercial general-purpose search engine.

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