Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A Study of Personalised Medical Literature Search

Medical search engines are used everyday by both medical practitioners and the public to find the latest medical literature and guidance regarding conditions and treatments. Importantly, the information needs that drive medical search can vary between users for the same query, as clinicians search for content specific to their own area of expertise, while the public search about topics of interest to them. However, prior research into personalised search has so far focused on the Web search domain, and it is not clear whether personalised approaches will prove similarly effective in a medical environment. Hence, in this paper, we investigate to what extent personalisation can enhance medical search effectiveness. In particular, we first adapt three classical approaches for the task of personalisation in the medical domain, which leverage the user’s clicks, clicks by similar users and explicit/implicit user profiles, respectively. Second, we perform a comparative user study with users from the TRIPDatabase.com medical article search engine to determine whether they outperform an effective baseline production system. Our results show that search result personalisation in the medical domain can be effective, with users stating a preference for personalised rankings for 68% of the queries assessed. Furthermore, we show that for the queries tested, users mainly preferred personalised rankings that promote recent content clicked by similar users, highlighting time as a key dimension of medical article search.

Richard McCreadie, Craig Macdonald and Iadh Ounis.
A Study of Personalised Medical Literature Search
In Proceedings of CLEF 2014.



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