Predicting Feature-based Similarity in the News Domain Using Human Judgments

A.D. Starke*, Sebastian Øverhaug Larsen, Christoph Trattner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


When reading an online news article, users are typically presented ‘more like this’ recommendations by news websites. In this study, we assessed different similarity functions for news item retrieval, by comparing them to human judgments of similarity. We asked 401 participants to assess the overall similarity of ten pairs of political news articles, which were compared to feature-specific similarity functions (e.g., based on body text or images). We found that users indicated to mostly use text-based features (e.g., title) for their similarity judgments, suggesting that body text similarity was the most representative for their judgment. Moreover, we modeled similarity judgments using different regression techniques. Using data from another study, we contrasted our results across retrieval domains, revealing that similarity functions in news are less representative of user judgments than those in movies and recipes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event15th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, RecSys 2021 - Virtual, Online, Netherlands
Duration: 27 Sep 20211 Oct 2021


Conference15th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, RecSys 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • news
  • similarity
  • similar-item retrieval
  • recommender systems
  • user study
  • human judgment


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