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Selectively diversifying Web search results

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Search result diversification is a natural approach for tackling ambiguous queries. Nevertheless, not all queries are equally ambiguous, and hence different queries could benefit from different diversification strategies. A more lenient or more aggressive diversification strategy is typically encoded by existing approaches as a trade-off between promoting relevance or diversity in the search results. In this paper, we propose to learn such a trade-off on a per-query basis. In particular, we examine how the need for diversification can be learnt for each query - given a diversification approach and an unseen query, we predict an effective trade-off between relevance and diversity based on similar previously seen queries. Thorough experiments using the TREC ClueWeb09 collection show that our selective approach can significantly outperform a uniform diversification for both classical and state-of-the-art diversification approaches.

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