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Tip of the Tongue Known Item Retrieval Dataset for Movie Identification

This repository contains the dataset from the paper Tip of the Tongue Known-Item Retrieval: A Case Study in Movie Identification.

If you use this dataset for your research, please cite the paper as follows:

  title={Tip of the tongue known-item retrieval: A case study in movie identification},
  author={Arguello, Jaime and Ferguson, Adam and Fine, Emery and Mitra, Bhaskar and Zamani, Hamed and Diaz, Fernando},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval},


The Tip of the Tongue (ToT) dataset is comprised of 1000 question/answer pairs scraped from the website between 2013 and 2018.

These question/answer pairs consist of REQUESTS, in which a user of the website describes a movie they have seen but whose title they have forgotten, and ANSWERS, which consist of different solutions to the request from other users of the website. We also attach Wikipedia/IMDB links for the films.

We annotate the text of the REQUESTS on the sentence level using a handcrafted set of codes. This set of codes is used to identify trends in the data such as mentions of release/viewing dates, characters or locations remembered from the film, circumstances surrounding the viewing of the film, and others. A complete list of these codes (also available in table 1, 2 and 3 in section 4.3 of our paper) is presented below:

  • Movie: Codes touching on the content of the movie
    • Character: Describes a character
    • Scene: Describes a scene
    • Object: Describes a tangible object in a scene
    • Location type: Describes a scene’s location type
    • Plot summary: Describes the overall plot or premise
    • Release date: Describes timeframe of movie release
    • Visual style: Describes visual style (e.g., black and white, colour, CGI animation, etc.)
    • Language: Describes the language spoken
    • Regional Origin: Describes movie’s region of origin
    • Specific location: Describes a scene’s specific location
    • Quote/dialogue: Describes a quote from the movie
    • Real person: Describes real person associated with movie
    • Camera angle: Describes camera action
    • Singular timeframe: Describes timeframe
    • Multiple timeframe: Describes the passage of time in the movie
    • Fictional person: Describes fictional person associated with movie (directly or indirectly)
    • Actor nationality: Describes nationality or ethnicity associated with actor/actress
    • Target audience: Describes movie’s target audience
    • Compares music: Describes movie’s soundtrack
    • Specific music: Describes specific song in the movie.
  • Context: Codes touching on the context in which the movie was seen
    • Temporal context: Describes when the movie was seen, either in absolute terms (e.g., around 2008) or relative terms (e.g., when I was a kid)
    • Physical medium: References the physical medium associated with watching the movie (e.g., TV, theatre, VHS, etc.)
    • Cross media: Describes exposure to movie through different media (e.g., trailer, DVD cover, poster, etc.)
    • Contextual witness: Describes other people involved in the movie watching experience
    • Physical location: Describes physical location where movie was watched
    • Concurrent events: Describes events relevant to time period when movie was watched
  • The following categories do not contain sub-codes
    • Previous Search: Indicates that a previous attempt had been made to find the movie title
    • Social: Indicates that the sentence is primarily a social nicety without content relating to the film
    • Uncertainty: Indicates that the sentence contains language revealing uncertainty on the author’s part
    • Opinion: Indicates that the sentence contains language conveying an opinion or judgement of the movie
    • Emotion: Indicates that the sentence contains language conveying an emotion the movie made the author feel
    • Relative Comparison: Indicates that the sentence contains language describing the movie using relative terms (such as comparisons to other movies, actors, locations, etc.)


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This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact with any additional questions or comments.


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Dataset from Tip of the Tongue Known-Item Retrieval (2021) paper.



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