Evaluating hierarchical organisation structures for exploring digital libraries

Hall, Mark M.; Fernando, Samuel; Clough, Paul D.; Soroa, Aitor; Agirre, Eneko and Stevenson, Mark (2014). Evaluating hierarchical organisation structures for exploring digital libraries. Information Retrieval, 17(4) pp. 351–379.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10791-014-9242-y


Search boxes providing simple keyword-based search are insufficient when users have complex information needs or are unfamiliar with a collection, for example in large digital libraries. Browsing hierarchies can support these richer interactions, but many collections do not have a suitable hierarchy available. In this paper we present a number of approaches for automatically creating hierarchies and mapping items into them, including a novel technique which automatically adapts a Wikipedia-based taxonomy to the target collection. These approaches are applied to a large collection of cultural heritage items which is formed through the aggregation of other collections and for which no unified hierarchy is available. We investigate a number of novel user-evaluated metrics to quantify the hierarchies’ quality and performance, showing that the proposed technique is preferred by users. From this we draw a number of conclusions as to what makes a hierarchy useful to the user.

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