What? You didn't make the European Conference on Information Retrieval in London this week? Don't fret. Xan Porter did and has a rundown here, with one interesting paper from Microsoft Research on how key terms appearing in a URL can be used to predict if a page has a good answer. It's something MSN plans test more on "real" web data from MSN in the future. I suspect the method might not be so useful then. Indeed, MSN Search's quality already seems to struggle with the old school search engine method of favoring URLs with search terms in them, an easy thing to manipulate. I can't find a free link to the actual paper. If one turns up, we'll postscript.
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