Evaluating hierarchical organisation structures for exploring digital libraries

Mark M. Hall, Samuel Fernando, PaulD. Clough, Aitor Soroa, Eneko Agirre, Mark Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
135 Downloads (Pure)


Search boxes providing simple keyword-based search are insufficient when users have complex information needs or are unfamiliar with a collection, for example in large digital libraries. Browsing hierarchies can support these richer interactions, but many collections do not have a suitable hierarchy available. In this paper we present a number of approaches for automatically creating hierarchies and mapping items into them, including a novel technique which automatically adapts a Wikipedia-based taxonomy to the target collection. These approaches are applied to a large collection of cultural heritage items which is formed through the aggregation of other collections and for which no unified hierarchy is available. We investigate a number of novel user-evaluated metrics to quantify the hierarchies' quality and performance, showing that the proposed technique is preferred by users. From this we draw a number of conclusions as to what makes a hierarchy useful to the user.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-379
Number of pages29
JournalInformation Retrieval
Issue number4
Early online date11 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Evaluation
  • Hierarchical structures
  • Exploratory search
  • Interactive information retrieval
  • Browsing


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