Encyclopedia of Database Systems

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

Similarity and Ranking Operations

  • Michael HuggettEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_948


Association; Correlation; Matching; Ordering; Proximity; Relevance


Similarity and ranking operations are fundamental to information searching, in which a user generates a query phrase of one or more words that reflects an information need. The query is used to find related items that satisfy that need.

Similarity operations quantify the resemblance or alikeness between two information objects. An information object is a conceptual unit, most typically described as a document, but also taking the form of a term, phrase, paragraph, page, section, chapter, article, book, or script, etc. Information objects may be printed or digital.

Similarity judgments may be subjective (performed by a user) or algorithmic (performed by a computer). Depending on the method of evaluation, alikeness judgments may be semantic (i.e., within the meaning of a document), structural (i.e., within parts of speech, position in a document, or pattern of links between documents), or statistical...

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Recommended Reading

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    Harman D. Ranking algorithms. In: Frakes WB, Baeza-Yates R, editors. Information retrieval: data structures & algorithms, chap. 14. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall; 1992. p. 363–92.Google Scholar
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    Jones WP, Furnas GW. Pictures of relevance: a geometric analysis of similarity measures. J Am Soc Inf Sci. 1987;38(6):420–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Rasmussen EM. Clustering algorithms. In: Frakes WB, Baeza-Yates R, editors. Information retrieval: data structures & algorithms, chap. 16. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall; 1992. p. 419–42.Google Scholar
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    Salton G, McGill M. An Introduction to Modern Information Retrieval. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1983.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
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    van Rijsbergen CJ. Information Retrieval. London: Butterworths; 1979.zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Edie Rasmussen
    • 1
  1. 1.Library, Archival & Inf. StudiesThe Univ. of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada