Syskill and Webert: Identifying Interesting Web Sites

Michael J. Pazzani, Jack Muramatsu, Daniel Billsus

We describe Syskill and Webert, a software agent that learns to rate pages on the World Wide Web (WWW), deciding what pages might interest a user. The user rates explored pages on a three point scale, and Syskill and Webert learns a user profile by analyzing the information on each page. The user profile can be used in two ways. First, it can be used to suggest which links a user would be interested in exploring. Second, it can be used to construct a LYCOS query to find pages that would interest a user. We compare six different algorithms from machine learning and information retrieval on this task. We find that the naive Bayesian classifier ofsers several advantages over other learning algorithms on this task. Furthermore, we find that an initial portion of a web page is sufficient for making predictions on its interestingness substantially reducing the amount of network transmission required to make predictions.

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