Sunday, May 11, 2014

[SIGIR2014 Demo] A System-Oriented View Towards Bias in Search Process: Visualizing Perspectives in News

The notion of "bias" in search results has been investigated by the information retrieval research community. However, so far all investigations seem to take a user-oriented view of "bias" when considering the search process i.e., the user's tendency to click on results that are highly positioned within a search engine's ranked list, or the user's tendency to click on results that have more query terms in the search result title or summary. In the proposed demonstration accepted at SIGIR 2014, we take a system-oriented approach towards "bias" within the search process and offer a new interface for users to investigate the "perspective biases" in documents returned by a search engine.
To clearly illustrate what we mean by "perspective bias", we have focused on the news domain where the inherent bias lies for the most part within the news collection itself such as news web sites having a "leftist" or "rightist" agenda. Consider a case in which a user wishes to find information about a certain event (say, a bomb blast in a certain region). The search results returned may be polarized instead of focusing on factual aspects i.e., relating to a certain race, ethnicity, or political movement which caused violence. This can prompt a user to explicitly evaluate a move from objective factual reporting to subjective reporting within the top results and this is where perspective-aware search comes to the rescue as shown in the figure below. Here, the user is asked to input a normal search query and a perspective allowing the user to highlight the presence of a perspective in the search results.

For the purpose of demonstration, the system returns the top 10 news stories for the query from Bing, Yahoo and Google and then calculates a perspective score for each result while at the same time using graph visualizations to illustrate the perspective scores for each news source and each search engine.

Below is a video demonstration of the "perspective-aware search system". I will be attending SIGIR 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia and for that I owe a special thanks to SIGIR Travel Grants Committee who has funded my travel to SIGIR 2014. See you Information Retrieval folks in Australia where I will be available to explain more aspects of this novel search interface.