Social Information Retrieval

S. M. Kirsch. Social information retrieval. Diploma thesis in computer science, Rheinische Friedrich-Wihelms-Universität Bonn, Institut für Informatik III, Bonn, Germany, 22nd of November 2005.

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The goal of this thesis’ work is the combination of well established retrieval methodologies with the most recent social network analysis. The opening claim is that a modern information retrieval system should determine the exact nature of the user’s information needs. This can be achieved looking at information that comes from immediate contacts that is usually preferred to that that comes from anonymous sources.

Current search engines, according to the author, are susceptible of a form of tyranny of the majority: they can only display those sites that will be relevant to the majority of its users, but not to the actual users who submitted the query. Two viable solution are identified on the literature and studied in deept: personalization of search and the addition of collaborative elements.

This thesis therefore defines the social information retrieval task and describe its domain. A formalization on the basis of associative networks is provided, as well as search procedures for these networks. An evaluation compares the described methods to conventional information retrieval methods.

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