Recommendation in a changingworld: Exploiting temporal dynamics in ratings and reviews

Yining Liu, Yong Liu, Yanming Shen, Keqiu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Users' preferences, and consequently their ratings and reviews to items, change over time. Likewise, characteristics of items are also time-varying. By dividing data into time periods, temporal Recommender Systems (RSs) improve recommendation accuracy by exploring the temporal dynamics in user rating data. However, temporal RSs have to cope with rating sparsity in each time period. Meanwhile, reviews generated by users contain rich information about their preferences, which can be exploited to address rating sparsity and further improve the performance of temporal RSs. In this article, we develop a temporal rating model with topics that jointly mines the temporal dynamics of both user-item ratings and reviews. Studying temporal drifts in reviews helps us understand item rating evolutions and user interest changes over time. Our model also automatically splits the review text in each time period into interim words and intrinsic words. By linking interim words and intrinsic words to short-term and long-term item features, respectively, we jointly mine the temporal changes in user and item latent features together with the associated review text in a single learning stage. Through experiments on 28 real-world datasets collected from Amazon, we show that the rating prediction accuracy of our model significantly outperforms the existing state-of-art RS models. And our model can automatically identify representative interim words in each time period as well as intrinsic words across all time periods. This can be very useful in understanding the time evolution of users' preferences and items' characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalACM Transactions on the Web
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Recommender Systems
  • Temporal dynamics
  • Topic models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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