Expert Finding - Academia vs. Practice
Thijs Westerveld

This event took place on 9th January 2008 at 11:30am (11:30 GMT)
Knowledge Media Institute, Berrill Building, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, MK7 6AA

With the start of an enterprise search track at TREC in 2005, the search for topical expertise has recently received quite some attention in the academic world. The practical value of an expert finding system is evident. Connecting people to interact and share their knowledge is widely recognised as an important factor in the successful operation of an enterprise or organisation. In this talk I will start to outline the field of expert finding from these two perspectives. I will discuss the
set-up of expert finding task as organized by TREC's expert finding track as well as the practical usefulness of such systems. The second part of the talk will focus on previous work I did in the context of the TREC benchmarks. Typically, expert finding systems follow one of two approaches. Either they build profiles for candidate experts based on the documents associated to them and ranking the profiles, or they create a document ranking aggregate document scores into person scores based on the person-document associations. I will discuss an approach that is somehow in between these two approaches and produces two document rankings, one topic based and one person based. The correlation between topical document ranking and personal document ranking is taken as an indication of the person's expertise. Finally, I will highlight the differences between the academic evaluation of expert finding and the real life situations as we find them in practice.

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