Evaluating text categorization

. Proceedings of Speech and Natural Language Workshop, page 312-318. San Mateo, Morgan Kaufmann, (February 1991)


While certain standard procedures are widely used for evaluating text retrieval systems and algorithms, the same is not true for text categorization. Omission of important data from reports is common and methods of measuring effectiveness vary widely. This has made judging the relative merits of techniques for text categorization difficult and has disguised important research issues. In this paper I discuss a variety of ways of evaluating the effectiveness of text categorization systems, drawing both on reported categorization experiments and on methods used in evaluating query-driven retrieval. I also consider the extent to which the same evaluation methods may be used with systems for text extraction, a more complex task. In evaluating either kind of system, the purpose for which the output is to be used is crucial in choosing appropriate evaluation methods.

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