Evaluation of information retrieval for E-discovery

Artificial Intelligence and Law 18 (4):347-386 (2010)
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The effectiveness of information retrieval technology in electronic discovery (E-discovery) has become the subject of judicial rulings and practitioner controversy. The scale and nature of E-discovery tasks, however, has pushed traditional information retrieval evaluation approaches to their limits. This paper reviews the legal and operational context of E-discovery and the approaches to evaluating search technology that have evolved in the research community. It then describes a multi-year effort carried out as part of the Text Retrieval Conference to develop evaluation methods for responsive review tasks in E-discovery. This work has led to new approaches to measuring effectiveness in both batch and interactive frameworks, large data sets, and some surprising results for the recall and precision of Boolean and statistical information retrieval methods. The paper concludes by offering some thoughts about future research in both the legal and technical communities toward the goal of reliable, effective use of information retrieval in E-discovery



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Stephen Tomlinson
University of Alabama

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