Supporting user-subjective categorization with self-organizing maps and learning vector quantization

Dina Goren-Bar, Tsvi Kuflik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today, most document categorization in organizations is done manually. We save at work hundreds of files and e-mail messages in folders every day. While automatic document categorization has been widely studied, much challenging research still remains to support user-subjective categorization. This study evaluates and compares the application of self-organizing maps (SOMs) and learning vector quantization (LVQ) with automatic document classification, using a set of documents from an organization, in a specific domain, manually classified by a domain expert. After running the SOM and LVQ we requested the user to reclassify documents that were misclassified by the system. Results show that despite the subjective nature of human categorization, automatic document categorization methods correlate well with subjective, personal categorization, and the LVQ method outperforms the SOM. The reclassification process revealed an interesting pattern: About 40% of the documents were classified according to their original categorization, about 35% according to the system's categorization (the users changed the original categorization), and the remainder received a different (new) categorization. Based on these results we conclude that automatic support for subjective categorization is feasible; however, an exact match is probably impossible due to the users' changing categorization behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-355
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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