An Analysis of the Relative Difficulty of Reuters-21578 Subsets


Franca Debole, Fabrizio Sebastiani

Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Pisa, Italy




The existence, public availability, and widespread acceptance of a standard benchmark for a given information retrieval (IR) task are beneficial to research on this task, since they allow different researchers to experimentally compare their own systems by comparing the results they have obtained on this benchmark. The Reuters-21578 test collection, together with its earlier variants, has been such a standard benchmark for the text categorization (TC) task throughout the last ten years. However, the benefits that this has brought about have somehow been limited by the fact that different researchers have ``carved'' different subsets out of this collection, and tested their systems on one of these subsets only; systems that have been tested on different Reuters-21578 subsets are thus not readily comparable. In this paper we present a systematic, comparative experimental study of the three subsets of Reuters-21578 that have been most popular among TC researchers. The results we obtain allow us to determine the relative difficulty of these subsets, thus establishing an indirect means for comparing TC systems that have, or will be, tested on these different subsets.


Reuters-21578, text categorization, comparison

Language(s) English
Full Paper