Reverted Indexing for Feedback and Expansion

Abstract

Traditional interactive information retrieval systems function by creating inverted lists, or term indexes. For every term in the vocabulary, a list is created that contains the documents in which that term occurs and its relative frequency within each document. Retrieval algorithms then use these term frequencies alongside other collection statistics to identify the matching documents for a query. In this paper, we turn the process around: instead of indexing documents, we index query result sets. First, queries are run through a chosen retrieval system. For each query, the resulting document IDs are treated as terms and the score or rank of the document is used as the frequency statistic. An index of documents retrieved by basis queries is created. We call this index a reverted index. Finally, with reverted indexes, standard retrieval algorithms can retrieve the matching queries (as results) for a set of documents (used as queries). These recovered queries can then be used to identify additional documents, or to aid the user in query formulation, selection, and feedback.