This paper proposes an Information Retrieval (IR) system that integrates sense discrimination to overcome the problem of word ambiguity. Word ambiguity is a key problem for systems that have access to textual information. Semantic Vectors are able to divide the usages of a word into different meanings, by discriminating among word meanings on the ground of information available in unannotated corpora. This paper has a twofold goal: the former is to evaluate the effectiveness of an IR system based on Semantic Vectors, the latter is to describe how they have been integrated in a semantic IR framework to build semantic spaces of words and documents. To achieve the first goal, we performed an in vivo evaluation in an IR scenario and we compared the method based on sense discrimination to a method based on Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD). Contrarily to sense discrimination, which aims to discriminate among different meanings not necessarily known a priori, WSD is the task of selecting a sense for a word from a set of predefined possibilities. To accomplish the second goal, we integrated Semantic Vectors in a semantic search engine called SENSE (SEmantic N-levels Search Engine).
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