Evaluating Generative Ad Hoc Information Retrieval

Proceedings of the 47th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval

Recent advances in large language models have enabled the development of viable generative information retrieval systems. A generative retrieval system returns a grounded generated text in response to an information need instead of the traditional document ranking. Quantifying the utility of these types of responses is essential for evaluating generative retrieval systems. As the established evaluation methodology for ranking-based ad hoc retrieval may seem unsuitable for generative retrieval, new approaches for reliable, repeatable, and reproducible experimentation are required. In this paper, we survey the relevant information retrieval and natural language processing literature, identify search tasks and system architectures in generative retrieval, develop a corresponding user model, and study its operationalization. This theoretical analysis provides a foundation and new insights for the evaluation of generative ad hoc retrieval systems.