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Contextualized Recommendations for the Socio-Semantic Web

Rafael Schirru
PhD-Thesis, DFKI GmbH, 2013.


In recent years, recommender systems have been widely used for a variety of different kinds of items such as books, movies, and music. However, current recommendation approaches have often been criticized to suffer from overspecialization thus not enough considering a user’s diverse topics of interest. In this thesis we present a novel approach to extracting contextualized user profiles which enable recommendations taking into account a user’s full range of interests. The method applies algorithms from the domain of topic detection and tracking to automatically identify diverse user interests and to represent them with descriptive labels. That way manual annotations of interest topics by the users, e. g., from a predefined domain taxonomy, are no longer required. The approach has been tested in two scenarios: First, we implemented a content-based recommender system for an Enterprise 2.0 resource sharing platform where the contextualized user interest profiles have been used to generate recommendations with a high degree of inter-topic diversity. In an effort to harness the collective intelligence of the users, the resources in the system were described by making use of user-generated metadata. The evaluation experiments show that our approach is likely to capture a multitude of diverse interest topics per user. The labels extracted are specific for these topics and can be used to retrieve relevant on-topic resources. Second, a slightly adapted variation of the algorithm has been used to target music recommendations based on the user’s current mood. In this scenario music artists are described by using freely available Semantic Web data from the Linked Open Data cloud thus not requiring expensive metadata annotations by experts. The evaluation experiments conducted show that many users have a multitude of different preferred music styles. However a correlation between these music styles and music mood categories could not be observed. An integration of our proposed user profiles with existing user model ontologies seems promising for enabling context-sensitive recommendations.


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