Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 667–685 | Cite as

Relevance feedback based on n-tuplewise comparison and the ELECTRE methodology and an application in content-based image retrieval

  • Pawel RotterEmail author


In this article we propose a method for information retrieval based on relational Multi-Criteria Decision Making. We assume that a user cannot define precise search criteria so that these criteria must be found based on the user’s assessment of several sample alternatives (‘alternatives’ here are database records, e.g. images). This situation is common in Content-based Image Retrieval, where it is easier for a user to indicate relevant images than to describe a proper query, especially in formal language. The proposed algorithm for the elicitation of criteria is based on ELECTRE III—a method originally designed for ranking a set of alternatives according to defined criteria. In our algorithm, however, the direction of reasoning is reversed: we start with several sample alternatives that have been assigned a rank by the user and then we select criteria that are compatible (in the sense of ELECTRE methodology) with the user’s preferences expressed on a sample set. Then, having determined the user’s criteria, we apply classical ELECTRE III to retrieve the relevant solutions from the database. We implemented the method in Matlab and tested it on the Microsoft Cambridge Image Database.


Multiple criteria analysis Relational MCDM ELECTRE III Preference elicitation Content-based Image Retrieval 



This work was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education under SIMPOZ project, no. 0128/R/t00/2010/12. We thank to our colleagues who participated in experiments and to anonymous reviewers for many valuable comments and suggestions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AGH University of Science and TechnologyKrakowPoland

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