Cranfield experiments

The Cranfield experiments were computer information retrieval experiments conducted by Cyril W. Cleverdon at the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in the 1960s, to evaluate the efficiency of indexing systems.[1][2][3]

They represent the prototypical evaluation model of information retrieval systems, and this model has been used in large-scale information retrieval evaluation efforts such as the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC). The evaluation model relies on three components: 1. a document collection (or corpus), 2. a set of queries, 3. a set of relevance judgements, i.e. a file which for each query lists the documents regarded as relevant to answer the given query. The format of the files can be found on the TREC website:

See also


  • Richmond, Phyllis A. (1963). "Review of the cranfield project". American Documentation. 14 (4): 307–311. doi:10.1002/asi.5090140408. ISSN 0096-946X.
  1. Cleverdon, C. W. (1960). ASLIB Cranfield research project on the comparative efficiency of indexing systems. ASLIB Proceedings, XII, 421-431.
  2. Cleverdon, C. W. (1967). The Cranfield tests on index language devices. Aslib Proceedings, 19(6), 173-194.
  3. Cleverdon, C. W., & Keen, E. M. (1966). Factors determining the performance of indexing systems. Vol. 1: Design, Vol. 2: Results. Cranfield, UK: Aslib Cranfield Research Project.
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