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Latent entity space: a novel retrieval approach for entity-bearing queries


Analysis on Web search query logs has revealed that there is a large portion of entity-bearing queries, reflecting the increasing demand of users on retrieving relevant information about entities such as persons, organizations, products, etc. In the meantime, significant progress has been made in Web-scale information extraction, which enables efficient entity extraction from free text. Since an entity is expected to capture the semantic content of documents and queries more accurately than a term, it would be interesting to study whether leveraging the information about entities can improve the retrieval accuracy for entity-bearing queries. In this paper, we propose a novel retrieval approach, i.e., latent entity space (LES), which models the relevance by leveraging entity profiles to represent semantic content of documents and queries. In the LES, each entity corresponds to one dimension, representing one semantic relevance aspect. We propose a formal probabilistic framework to model the relevance in the high-dimensional entity space. Experimental results over TREC collections show that the proposed LES approach is effective in capturing latent semantic content and can significantly improve the search accuracy of several state-of-the-art retrieval models for entity-bearing queries.

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  1. A media group which owned Rocky Mountain News.

  2. A daily newspaper which is the rival of Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado.

  3. We also tried other linear regression methods, and they could not deliver better performance.


  5. We use the Freebase entity annotations directly as weighted key concepts in the query.


  7. Actually they do not contain results for query #95 and #100, as there are no official judgments from TREC. Therefore, it is essentially the same as 200 queries in our case.




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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number IIS-1423002. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.

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Correspondence to Xitong Liu.

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Liu, X., Fang, H. Latent entity space: a novel retrieval approach for entity-bearing queries. Inf Retrieval J 18, 473–503 (2015).

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  • Latent entity space
  • Entity profile
  • Document retrieval