Augmenting Dynamic Query Expansion in Microblog Texts

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Virginia Tech


Dynamic query expansion is a method of automatically identifying terms relevant to a target domain based on an incomplete query input. With the explosive growth of online media, such tools are essential for efficient search result refining to track emerging themes in noisy, unstructured text streams. It's crucial for large-scale predictive analytics and decision-making, systems which use open source indicators to find meaningful information rapidly and accurately. The problems of information overload and semantic mismatch are systemic during the Information Retrieval (IR) tasks undertaken by such systems.

In this dissertation, we develop approaches to dynamic query expansion algorithms that can help improve the efficacy of such systems using only a small set of seed queries and requires no training or labeled samples. We primarily investigate four significant problems related to the retrieval and assessment of event-related information, viz. (1) How can we adapt the query expansion process to support rank-based analysis when tracking a fixed set of entities? A scalable framework is essential to allow relative assessment of emerging themes such as airport threats. (2) What visual knowledge discovery framework to adopt that can incorporate users' feedback back into the search result refinement process? A crucial step to efficiently integrate real-time `situational awareness' when monitoring specific themes using open source indicators. (3) How can we contextualize query expansions? We focus on capturing semantic relatedness between a query and reference text so that it can quickly adapt to different target domains. (4) How can we synchronously perform knowledge discovery and characterization (unstructured to structured) during the retrieval process? We mainly aim to model high-order, relational aspects of event-related information from microblog texts.



Dynamic Query Expansion, Microblog Event Retrieval, Social Media Analytics, Visual Knowledge Discovery