Session Search

Information Retrieval (IR) research has traditionally focused on serving the best results for a single query— so-called ad hoc retrieval. However, users typically search iteratively, refining and reformulating their queries during a session. A key challenge in the study of this interaction is the creation of suitable evaluation resources to assess the effectiveness of IR systems over sessions. This paper describes the TREC Session Track, which ran from 2010 through to 2014, which focussed on forming test collections that included various forms of implicit feedback. We describe the test collections; a brief analysis of the differences between datasets over the years; and the evaluation results that demonstrate that the use of user session data significantly improved effectiveness.

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Lexical query modeling has been the leading paradigm for session search. In this paper, we analyze TREC session query logs and compare the performance of different lexical matching approaches for session search. Naive methods based on term frequency weighting perform on par with specialized session models. In addition, we investigate the viability of lexical query models in the setting of session search. We give important insights into the potential and limitations of lexical query modeling for session search and propose future directions for the field of session search.

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