Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

A probabilistic model of information and retrieval:
development and status

K. Spärck Jones, S. Walker, S.E. Robertson

August 1998, 74 pages


The paper combines a comprehensive account of the probabilistic model of retrieval with new systematic experiments on TREC Programme material. It presents the model from its foundations through its logical development to cover more aspects of retrieval data and a wider range of system functions. Each step in the argument is matched by comparative retrieval tests, to provide a single coherent account of a major line of research. The experiments demonstrate, for a large test collection, that the probabilistic model is effective and robust, and that it responds appropriately, with major improvements in performance, to key features of retrieval situations.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Sp{\"a}rck Jones, K. and Walker, S. and Robertson, S.E.},
  title = 	 {{A probabilistic model of information and retrieval:
         	   development and status}},
  year = 	 1998,
  month = 	 aug,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-446}