Recommender Systems

Resnick, Paul; Varian, Hal R.
Communications of the ACM

Recommender systems assist and augment this natural social process. In a typical recommender system people provide recommendations as inputs, which the system then aggregates and directs to appropriate recipients. In some cases the primary transformation is in the aggregation; in others the system’s value lies in its ability to make good matches between the recommenders and those seeking recommendations. The developers of the first recommender system, Tapestry [1], coined the phrase “collaborative filtering” and several others have adopted it. We prefer the more general term “recommender system” for two reasons. First, recommenders may not explictly collaborate with recipients, who may be unknown to each other. Second, recommendations may suggest particularly interesting items, in addition to indicating those that should be filtered out. This special section includes descriptions of five recommender systems. A sixth article analyzes incentives for provision of recommendations.