Blair and Maron


Authors of an influential 1985 study study (David C. Blair & M.E. Maron, An Evaluation of Retrieval Effectiveness for a Full-Text Document-Retrieval System, 28 COMMC’NS ACM 289 (1985)), showing that attorneys supervising skilled paralegals believed they had found at least 75% of the Relevant Documents from a Document Collection, using Search Terms and iterative search, when they had in fact found only 20%. That is, the searchers believed they had achieved 75% Recall, but had achieved only 20% Recall. In the Blair and Maron study, the attorneys and paralegals used an iterative approach, examining the retrieved Documents and refining their search terms until they believed they were done. Many current commentators incorrectly distinguish the Blair and Maron study from current iterative approaches, failing to note that the Blair and Maron searchers did in fact refine their search terms based on their review of the Documents that were returned in response to their queries. 1


  1. Maura R. Grossman and Gordon V. Cormack, EDRM page & The Grossman-Cormack Glossary of Technology-Assisted Review, with Foreword by John M. Facciola, U.S. Magistrate Judge2013 Fed. Cts. L. Rev. 7 (January 2013).
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