# A probability ranking principle for interactive information retrieval

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## Abstract

The classical Probability Ranking Principle (PRP) forms the theoretical basis for probabilistic Information Retrieval (IR) models, which are dominating IR theory since about 20 years. However, the assumptions underlying the PRP often do not hold, and its view is too narrow for interactive information retrieval (IIR). In this article, a new theoretical framework for interactive retrieval is proposed: The basic idea is that during IIR, a user moves between situations. In each situation, the system presents to the user a list of choices, about which s/he has to decide, and the first positive decision moves the user to a new situation. Each choice is associated with a number of cost and probability parameters. Based on these parameters, an optimum ordering of the choices can the derived—the PRP for IIR. The relationship of this rule to the classical PRP is described, and issues of further research are pointed out.

## Keywords

Probabilistic retrieval Interactive retrieval Optimum retrieval rule## Notes

### Acknowledgments

I wish to thank the Glasgow IR group, especially Keith van Rijsbergen, for their hospitality and fruitful discussions when staying with them in August 2007, while I was writing this article. The suggestions by the three anonymous reviewers were very helpful in improving the initial version of this paper.

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