Sub-word indexing and blind relevance feedback for English, Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi IR
Leveling, Johannes and Jones, Gareth J.F. (2010) Sub-word indexing and blind relevance feedback for English, Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi IR. In: ACM Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing (TALIP) 9.
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The Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation (FIRE) provides document collections, topics, and relevance assessments for information retrieval (IR) experiments on Indian languages. Several research questions are explored in this paper: 1. how to create create a simple, languageindependent corpus-based stemmer, 2. how to identify sub-words and which types of sub-words are suitable as indexing units, and 3. how to apply blind relevance feedback on sub-words and how feedback term selection is affected by the type of the indexing unit. More than 140 IR experiments are conducted using the BM25 retrieval model on the topic titles and descriptions (TD) for the FIRE 2008 English, Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi document collections. The major findings are: The corpus-based stemming approach is effective as a knowledge-light
term conation step and useful in case of few language-specific resources. For English, the corpusbased
stemmer performs nearly as well as the Porter stemmer and significantly better than the baseline of indexing words when combined with query expansion. In combination with blind relevance feedback, it also performs significantly better than the baseline for Bengali and Marathi IR.
Sub-words such as consonant-vowel sequences and word prefixes can yield similar or better performance in comparison to word indexing. There is no best performing method for all languages. For English, indexing using the Porter stemmer performs best, for Bengali and Marathi, overlapping 3-grams obtain the best result, and for Hindi, 4-prefixes yield the highest MAP. However, in combination with blind relevance feedback using 10 documents and 20 terms, 6-prefixes for English and 4-prefixes for Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi IR yield the highest MAP. Sub-word identification is a general case of decompounding. It results in one or more index terms for a single word form and increases the number of index terms but decreases their average length. The corresponding retrieval experiments show that relevance feedback on sub-words benefits from
selecting a larger number of index terms in comparison with retrieval on word forms. Similarly, selecting the number of relevance feedback terms depending on the ratio of word vocabulary size to sub-word vocabulary size almost always slightly increases information retrieval effectiveness
compared to using a fixed number of terms for different languages.
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