Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu


  • Jovan Pehcevski
  • Birger LarsenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_309


Exhaustivity; Specificity; Topical-hierarchical relevance


Relevance is the extent to which some information is pertinent, connected, or applicable to the matter at hand. It represents a key concept in the fields of documentation, information science, and information retrieval.

In information retrieval, the notion of relevance is used in three main contexts. Firstly, an algorithmic relevance score is assigned to a search result (usually a whole document) representing an estimated likelihood of relevance of the search result to a topic of request. This relevance score often determines the order in which search results are presented to the user. Secondly, when the performance of information retrieval systems is tested experimentally, the retrieved documents are assessed for their actual relevance to the topic of request by human assessors (topic experts). A binary relevance scale is typically used to assess the relevance of the search result, where the relevance is...

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Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Borlund P. The concept of relevance in IR. J Am Soc Inf Sci Technol. 2003;54(10):913–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Malik S, Tombros A, Larsen B. The interactive track at INEX 2006. In: Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop of the Initiative for the Evaluation of XML Retrieval; 2006. p. 387–399.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pehcevski J. Relevance in XML retrieval: the user perspective. In: Proceedings of the SIGIR 2006 Workshop on XML Element Retrieval Methodology; 2006. p. 35–42.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INRIA Paris-RocquencourtLe Chesnay CedexFrance
  2. 2.Royal School of Library and Information ScienceCopenhagenDenmark

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jaap Kamps
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands