Words, concepts, or both: optimal indexing units for automated information retrieval.

William (Bill) Hersh, D. H. Hickam, T. J. Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


What is the best way to represent the content of documents in an information retrieval system? This study compares the retrieval effectiveness of five different methods for automated (machine-assigned) indexing using three test collections. The consistently best methods are those that use indexing based on the words that occur in the available text of each document. Methods used to map text into concepts from a controlled vocabulary showed no advantage over the word-based methods. This study also looked at an approach to relevance feedback which showed benefit for both word-based and concept-based methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-648
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings / the . Annual Symposium on Computer Application [sic] in Medical Care. Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care
Publication statusPublished - 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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