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Reflections on TREC

Karen Sparck Jones

Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

New Museums Site, Pembroke Street

Cambridge CB2 3QG, England

[email protected]

July 1994


This paper discusses the Text REtrieval Conferences (TREC) programme as a major enterprise in information retrieval research. It reviews its structure as an evaluation exercise, characterises the methods of indexing and retrieval being tested within it in terms of the approaches to system performance factors these represent; analyses the test results for solid, overall conclusions that can be drawn from them; and, in the light of the particular features of the test data, assesses TREC both for generally-applicable findings that emerge from it and for directions it offers for future research.

This paper will appear in Information Processing and Management.