Extraction and Exploitation of User Goals and Intentions for Querying and Recommendation

Papadimitriou, Dimitra (2017) Extraction and Exploitation of User Goals and Intentions for Querying and Recommendation. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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Abstract

Users are often found in situations where they need to make selections from very large collections of items. These items may be digital artifacts e.g., web pages or forum posts, or digital representations of real world objects, e.g., products or people. There is a great deal of techniques for assisting users in making such selections. However, the plethora of systems and the size of the item collections makes the ability to provide the users with the items that really meet their standards in terms of interestingness and usefulness, a challenging task. We are dealing with the problem of providing items of interest to the users as response to explicit user requests or in the form of recommendations by exploiting a factor that has been poorly investigated so far in information systems: the goals for which items are intended, i.e., the goals for which items have been generated or produced; and the goals that may lead the user to “consume” them, i.e., the goals that s/he is willing to fulfill. The items may not be just items but interactions with items or actions that the user may be interested in performing. In this dissertation, we provide the required background and framework for exploiting goals in building better data managements systems. Within this context, we study three different problems. First, we are dealing with the problem of finding posts of interest (related posts) given a post-query in forums within user communities. Forum posts consist of segments each one serving a different goal that the author had in mind to communicate to the reader through the text. Therefore, plain content comparisons often fail to retrieve posts of interest, or they retrieve posts that despite the similar content are not related to the post-query. Instead, we have developed a goal-aware matching approach that uses content similarity over intention-based segmentations, i.e., over segments that are intended for different communication goals to perform more effective comparisons. Second, we are dealing with the goal-aware recommendation problem. This problem, opposed to the post matching mechanism to which we have referred earlier does not consider domain specific characteristics; thus it can be applied to any domain. The goal-aware mechanisms we have developed handle the diverse goals that the user can fulfill by first recognizing the intended user goals, deciding the priorities among them, and by quantifying the benefit of each item. Last but not least, we are dealing with the problem of building a goal implementation set from texts where users describe how they managed to fulfill certain goals in their real life. We have applied our technique on textual descriptions from a goal-setting site. For each solution we have designed, implemented and extensively evaluated models, algorithms and techniques that deal with all the individual tasks that are required for a goal-aware approach: the identification and extraction of goal-related information in the examined data sources, the modeling of the derived information, the matching of the user's request or previous activity to the goal model elements, and finally the exploitation of this matching into the forming of the system's response. The goal-aware techniques have been found to retrieve items that would not have been considered by the traditional techniques giving to the user a different and more complete view of the item collection. Moreover, the scalability of the techniques and the efficient structures and indexes that we use to store and retrieve the items alongside the goal-related data allows us to meet the requirements of modern online systems.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Information and Communication Technology
PhD Cycle:27
Subjects:Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > INF/01 INFORMATICA
Repository Staff approval on:11 Apr 2017 10:35

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