Information Systems Frontiers

An Embedding Based IR Model for Disaster Situations

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Twitter ( is one of the most popular social networking platforms. Twitter users can easily broadcast disaster-specific information, which, if effectively mined, can assist in relief operations. However, the brevity and informal nature of tweets pose a challenge to Information Retrieval (IR) researchers. In this paper, we successfully use word embedding techniques to improve ranking for ad-hoc queries on microblog data. Our experiments with the ‘Social Media for Emergency Relief and Preparedness’ (SMERP) dataset provided at an ECIR 2017 workshop show that these techniques outperform conventional term-matching based IR models. In addition, we show that, for the SMERP task, our word embedding based method is more effective if the embeddings are generated from the disaster specific SMERP data, than when they are trained on the large social media collection provided for the TREC ( 2011 Microblog track dataset.