US 20110099521 A1
A system and method to navigate through a media item catalog and generate recommendations using behavioral metrics such as correlation metrics (FIGS. 1,2) from a knowledge base (400) of mediasets (FIG. 4, 1-7). One implementation uses a knowledge base comprising a collection of mediasets. Various metrics (Metric 1-Metric m) among media items (m1 . . . ) are considered by analyzing how the media items are grouped to form the sets in the knowledge base (400). Such metrics preferably are stored in a matrix (100) that allows the system to dynamically build appropriate navigation lists (FIG. 3) from media items that a user selects (FIG. 5).
1. A computer-implemented method of assisting a user in selecting items from an electronic catalog of media items, the method comprising:
(a) obtaining access to metric values derived from a knowledge base of predetermined mediasets associated with the electronic catalog; wherein the metric values reflect a level of association for each of the pairs of media items within the knowledge base of mediasets and the metric values are not affected by any descriptor, characteristic, classification or other descriptive metadata of the media items' content;
(b) receiving an initial selection of at least one media item to define an initial input media set;
(c) generating an output media item navigation list responsive to at least one item of the input media set, based on the metric values, and the output media item list comprising at least one media item from the electronic catalog; and
(d) communicating the generated navigation list to a user.
2. The method of
(e) receiving from the user an instruction to edit the navigation list;
(f) editing the navigation list as instructed by the user to define a new input set;
(g) responsive to the new input media set, generating a new navigation output list based on the association metric values; and
(h) communicating the new navigation list to the user.
3. The method according to
4. The method according to
receiving from the user a selection of at least one media item on the navigation list for deletion; and
deleting the user-selected media item from the initial input media set to form the new input set.
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15. A computer-readable storage medium having computer-readable program code stored therein, said computer-readable program code including:
computer-readable program code for receiving a selection of a catalog for user browsing and for accessing a collection of metric data associated with the selected catalog;
wherein the metric data comprises metric values for pairs of media items derived from a knowledge base of mediasets;
wherein the metric values reflect a level of co-concurrency for each of the pairs of media items within the knowledge base of mediasets; and further wherein the co-concurrency metric values indicate, for each pair of media items (i,j), how many times item i and item j appear together within any of the mediasets of the knowledge base, so that the co-concurrency metric values are not affected by any descriptor, characteristic, classification or attribute of the media items' content;
computer-readable program code for receiving from the user an initial selection of at least one media item from the selected catalog to define an initial input media set;
computer-readable program code for generating a navigation list based on selected metrics for each item of the initial input media set; and
computer-readable program code for communicating the generated navigation list to the user.
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/858,229, filed on Aug. 17, 2010, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/349,370, filed on Feb. 6, 2006, which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/649,945 filed Feb. 4, 2005, all of which are incorporated herein by this reference as though fully set forth.
© 2005-2006 MusicStrands, Inc. A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever. 37 CFR §1.71(d).
This invention relates generally to systems for assisting users to navigate media item catalogs with the ultimate goal of building mediasets and/or discover media items. More specifically, the present invention pertains to computer software methods and products to enable users to interactively browse through an electronic catalog by leveraging media item association metrics.
New technologies combining digital media item players with dedicated software, together with new media distribution channels through networks are quickly changing the way people organize and play media items. As a direct consequence of such evolution in the media industry, users are faced with a huge volume of available choices that clearly overwhelm them when choosing what item to play in a certain moment.
This overwhelming effect can be easily detected in the music arena, where people are faced with the problem of selecting music from very large collections of songs. However, in the future, we might detect similar effects in other domains like music videos, movies, news, etc.
In general, our invention is applicable to any kind of media item that can be grouped by users forming mediasets. For example, in the music domain, these mediasets could be playlists. Users put music together in playlists to overcome the problem of being overwhelmed when choosing a song from a large collection, or just to enjoy a set of songs in particular situations. For example, one might be interested in having a playlist for running, another for cooking, etc.
This invention addresses the problem of helping users navigate through a media item catalog based on a small set of selected media items. This set of selected media items can be seen as an initial set to build a starting point for the navigation experience.
Different approaches can be considered when building systems to help users navigate a media item catalog. The most commonly used is the keyword based search where the user specifies a set of keywords and the system retrieves the set of media items which contain the keywords in their descriptors. Another approach is to consider a search based on metadata. For example in the music arena, a user might be asking to retrieve rock songs from the 90s.
However, many times users do not know what they are looking for. They want to explore the catalog and find interesting items. This observation is especially relevant for media item catalogs with a clear entertainment focus.
Various approaches can be adopted to personalized recommendations. One kind of approach is about using human expertise to classify the media items and then use these classifications to infer recommendations to users based on an input mediaset. For instance, if in the input mediaset the item x appears and x belongs to the same classification as y, then a system could recommend item y based on the fact that both items are classified in a similar cluster. However, this approach requires an incredibly huge amount of human work and expertise. Another approach is to analyze the data of the items (audio signal for songs, video signal for video, etc) and then try to match users preferences with the extracted analysis. This class of approaches is yet to be shown effective from a technical point of view.
Hosken (U.S. Pat. No. 6,438,579) describes a system and method for recommending media items responsive to query media items based on the explicit and implicit user characterizations of the content of the media items. Dunning, et. al. (U.S. Patent Application Pubs 2002/0082901 and 2003/0229537) disclose a system and method for discovering relationships between media items based on explicit and implicit user associations between said items. The need remains for improved methods and systems to assist users in navigating through media item catalogs with the ultimate goal of helping them build mediasets and/or discover media items that they will enjoy.
In one embodiment the invention comprises a system, preferably implemented in computer software, for guiding users along an interactive, personalized path through a media item catalog beginning from an initial selection by the user of one or more media items. As explained below, “media items” as used herein includes, by way of example and not limitation, music tracks or songs, albums, movies, music videos, other video “clips,” news articles, other media, including text, graphics, multi-media presentations, etc. Preferably, the media items themselves, i.e. the actual content, is not part of the present system. Rather, each media item is identified by meta data.
The system requires a knowledge base consisting of a collection of mediasets. Mediasets are sets of media items that are naturally grouped by users. The mediasets of the knowledge base define metrics among items. Such metrics indicate how correlated media items are in the mediasets of the knowledge base. For each media item of the initial set, the system generates one list of media items for each metric of the system. The media items of these lists are the ones with highest metrics with respect to the associated media item. The user can then select any of the media items of the proposed lists, and the selected list becomes part of the initial set of media items, resulting in newly generated lists being proposed to the user. The process is interactive. Advantages of such interactivity include easier and more effective browsing through the catalog and/or building a new appropriate mediaset.
Additional aspects and advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Reference is now made to the figures in which like reference numerals refer to like elements. For clarity, the first digit of a reference numeral indicates the figure number in which the corresponding element is first used.
In the following description, certain specific details of programming, software modules, user selections, network transactions, database queries, database structures, etc. are omitted to avoid obscuring the invention. Those of ordinary skill in computer sciences will comprehend many ways to implement the invention in various embodiments, the details of which can be determined using known technologies.
Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. In general, the methodologies of the present invention are advantageously carried out using one or more digital processors, for example the types of microprocessors that are commonly found in servers, PC's, laptops, PDA's and all manner of desktop or portable electronic appliances.
The system comprises a knowledge base which is a collection of mediasets. A mediaset is a list of media items that a user has grouped together. A media item can be of different nature, e.g. a song, a book, a newspaper, a movie, a piece of a radio program, etc. If a mediaset is composed of the same type of media items it is called a homogeneous mediaset, otherwise it is called a heterogeneous mediaset. A mediaset can be ordered or unordered. An ordered mediaset implies a certain order with respect to the sequence in which the items are used1 by the user. 1 Depending on the nature of the item, it will be played, viewed, read, etc.
In general, mediasets are based on the assumption that users group media items together following some logic or reasoning. For example, in the music domain, a user may be selecting a set of songs for driving, hence that is a homogeneous mediaset of songs. In this invention, we also consider other kinds of media items such as books, movies, newspapers, and so on. For example, if we consider books, a user may have a list of books for the summer, a list of books for work, and another list of books for the weekends. A user may be interested in expressing a heterogeneous mediaset with a mix of books and music, expressing the music that goes well with certain books.
A set of media items is not considered the same as a mediaset. The difference is mainly about the intention of the user in grouping the items together. In the case of a mediaset the user is expressing that the items in the mediaset go well, in some sense, with his personal preferences. On the other hand, a set of media items does not express necessarily the preferences of a user. We use the term set of media items to refer to the input of the system of the invention as well as to the output of the system.
A metric M between a pair of media items i and j for a given knowledge base k expresses some degree of relation between i and j with respect to k. A metric may be expressed as a distance, where smaller distance values represent stronger association values, or as a similarity, where larger similarity values represent stronger association values. The most immediate metric is the co-concurrency (i, j) that indicates how many times item i and item j appear together in any of the mediasets of k. The metric pre-concurrency (i, j) indicates how many times item i and item j appear together but i before j in any of the mediasets of k. The metric post-concurrency (i, j) indicates how many times item i and item j appear together but i after j in any of the mediasets of k. The previous defined metrics can also be considered considering immediate sequence of i and j. So, the system might be considering co/pre/post-concurrencies metrics but only if items i and j are consecutive in the mediasets (only available if the mediasets are ordered). Other metrics can be considered and also new ones can be defined by combining the previous ones.
A metric may be computed based on any of the above metrics and applying transitivity. For instance, consider co-concurrency between item i and j, co(i,j), and between j and k, co(j,k), and consider that co(i,k)=0. We could create another metric to include transitivity, for example d(i,k)=1/co(i,j)+1/co(j,k). These type of transitivity metrics may be efficiently computed using standard branch and bound search algorithms.
A matrix representation of metric M, (
A graph representation for a given knowledge base k, (
As a preliminary matter, in a presently preferred embodiment, a pre-processing step is carried out to analyze the contents of an existing knowledge base. This can be done in advance of receiving any input items. As noted above, the knowledge base comprises an existing collection of mediasets. This is illustrated in
The present invention requires a knowledge base of mediasets, or at least access to metrics derived from a knowledge base. A knowledge base can be analyzed based on any selected metric. In general, for present purposes, such metrics reflect and indeed quantify some association between pairs of media items in a given knowledge base. The analysis process is described by way of example using the co-concurrency metric mentioned earlier. A similar process can be used for other metrics. Referring still to
Next, for each pair of media items, a co-concurrency metric is incremented for each additional occurrence of the same pair of items in the same knowledge base. For example, if a pair of media items, say the song “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel and “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, appear together in 42 different mediasets in the knowledge base (not necessarily adjacent one another), then the co-concurrency metric might be 42 (or some other figure depending on the scaling selected, normalization, etc. In some embodiments, this figure or co-concurrency “weight” may be normalized to a number between zero and one.)
Referring now to
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The system displays or otherwise communicates the generated lists to the user, and from these the user can select any item. Referring now to
Continuing with reference to
In this way, the user is interactively guided through the catalog as he or she continues to add new items. The user may edit the navigation set at any moment by deleting items from, or adding items to, the generated lists. Every time the users interacts with the navigation set, its associated lists are updated as the system reacts to each edit of the navigation set. The previously described process has various advantageous uses, including assisting users to (a) navigate through a media item catalog, or (b) create new mediasets in a convenient way. A new mediaset can be saved by storing the current input set, or any navigation list, at any time during the interaction.
Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims.
For example, one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that, while the above system and methods were described as embodied in a media item catalog system, it should be understood that the inventive system could be used in any system that implements a catalog for items that can be grouped by users following some selected criteria. Although specific terms are employed herein, there are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.
It will further be apparent to those having skill in the art that many changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. The scope of the present invention should, therefore, be determined only by the following claims.