Using Contextual Information to Improve Search in Email Archives

  • Wouter Weerkamp
  • Krisztian Balog
  • Maarten de Rijke
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5478)


In this paper we address the task of finding topically relevant email messages in public discussion lists. We make two important observations. First, email messages are not isolated, but are part of a larger online environment. This context, existing on different levels, can be incorporated into the retrieval model. We explore the use of thread, mailing list, and community content levels, by expanding our original query with term from these sources. We find that query models based on contextual information improve retrieval effectiveness. Second, email is a relatively informal genre, and therefore offers scope for incorporating techniques previously shown useful in searching user-generated content. Indeed, our experiments show that using query-independent features (email length, thread size, and text quality), implemented as priors, results in further improvements.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wouter Weerkamp
    • 1
  • Krisztian Balog
    • 1
  • Maarten de Rijke
    • 1
  1. 1.ISLAUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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