Increasing growth of information volume in the internet causes an increasing need to develop new (semi)automatic methods for retrieval of documents and ranking them according to their relevance to the user query. In this paper, after a brief review on ranking models, a new ontology based approach for ranking HTML documents is proposed and evaluated in various circumstances. Our approach is a combination of conceptual, statistical and linguistic methods. This combination reserves the precision of ranking without loosing the speed. Our approach exploits natural language processing techniques for extracting phrases and stemming words. Then an ontology based conceptual method will be used to annotate documents and expand the query. To expand a query the spread activation algorithm is improved so that the expansion can be done in various aspects. The annotated documents and the expanded query will be processed to compute the relevance degree exploiting statistical methods. The outstanding features of our approach are (1) combining conceptual, statistical and linguistic features of documents, (2) expanding the query with its related concepts before comparing to documents, (3) extracting and using both words and phrases to compute relevance degree, (4)
improving the spread activation algorithm to do the expansion based on weighted combination of different conceptual relationships and (5) allowing variable document vector dimensions. A ranking system called ORank is developed to implement and test the proposed model. The test results will be included at the end of the paper.
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