Overview of the NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 Task
Cathal Gurrin1, Hideo Joho2, Frank Hopfgartner3, Liting Zhou1,
Van-Tu Ninh1, Tu-Khiem Le1, Rami Albatal1, Duc-Tien Dang-Nguyen4, and
1Dublin City University, Ireland
2University of Tsukuba, Japan
3University of Sheﬃeld, UK
4University of Bergen, Norway
Abstract. Lifelog-3 was the third instance of the lifelog task at NTCIR.
At NTCIR-14, the Lifelog-3 task explored three diﬀerent lifelog data ac-
cess related challenges, the search challenge, the annotation challenge
and the insights challenge. In this paper we review the activities of par-
ticipating teams who took part in the challenges and we suggest next
steps for the community.
Keywords: Lifelog ·Information Retrieval ·Test Collection
NTCIR-14 hosted the third running of the Lifelog task. Over the three iterations
of the task, from NTCIR-12 , NTCIR-13  and this year, we note that
nearly 20 participating research groups have taken part in the various sub-tasks
and we can identify progress in the approaches being made across all tasks, but
especially so for the lifelog retrieval task.
Before we begin our review of the submissions for the lifelog task, we intro-
duce the concept of lifelogging by returning to the deﬁnition proposed by Dodge
and Kitchin , who refer to lifelogging as ‘a form of pervasive computing, con-
sisting of a uniﬁed digital record of the totality of an individual’s experiences,
captured multimodally through digital sensors and stored permanently as a per-
sonal multimedia archive’. This task was initially proposed because the organ-
isers identiﬁed that technological progress had resulted in lifelogging becoming
a potentially normative activity, thereby necessitating the development of new
forms of personal data analytics and retrieval that are designed to operate on
multimodal lifelog data. Additionally, the organisers note recent eﬀorts to em-
ploy lifelogging, summarised in , as a means of supporting human memory
 or facilitating large-scale epidemiological studies in healthcare , lifestyle
monitoring , diet/obesity monitoring , or for exploring societal issues such
as privacy-related concerns  and behaviour analysis .
At NTCIR-14 there were three lifelog sub-tasks, a semantic search sub-task
(LEST), a lifelog annotation sub-task (LADT) and an insights sub-task, of which
the LADT was the only new sub-task. In this paper we will provide an overview
NTCIR-14 Conference: Proceedings of the 14th NTCIR Conference on Evaluation of Information Access Technologies, June 10-13, 2019 Tokyo Japan
2 C. Gurrin et al.
of the lifelog task, in terms of the dataset, the sub-tasks and the submissions
submitted by participating organisations.
2 Task Overview
The Lifelog-3 task explored a number of approaches to information access and
retrieval from personal lifelog data, each of which addressed a diﬀerent challenge
for lifelog data organization and retrieval. The three sub-tasks, each of which
could have been participated in independently, are as follows:
– Lifelog Semantic Access sub-Task (LSAT) to explore search and re-
trieval from lifelogs.
– Lifelog Activity Detection sub-Task (LADT) to identify Activities of
Daily Living (ADLs) from lifelogs, which have been employed as indicators
of the health of an individual.
– Lifelog Insight sub-Task (LIT) to explore knowledge mining and visual-
isation of lifelogs.
We will now describe each task in detail.
2.1 LSAT SubTask
The LSAT subtask was a known-item search task applied over lifelog data. In
this subtask, the participants had to retrieve a number of speciﬁc moments in a
lifelogger’s life in response to a query topic. We consider moments to be semantic
events, or activities that happened at least once in the dataset. The task can best
be compared to a known-item search task with one (or more) relevant items per
topic. Participants were allowed to undertake the LAST task in an interactive
or automatic manner. For interactive submissions, a maximum of ﬁve minutes
of search time was allowed per topic. The LSAT task included 24 search tasks,
generated by the lifeloggers who gathered the data.
2.2 LADT SubTask
The aim of this subtask was to develop new approaches to the annotation of mul-
timodal lifelog data in terms of activities of daily living. An ontology of important
lifelog activities of daily living, guided by Kahneman’s lifestyle activities  were
provided as a multi-label classiﬁcation task. The task required the development
of automated approaches for multi-label classiﬁcation of multimodal lifelog data.
Both image content as well as provided metadata and external evidence sources
were available to be used to generate the activity annotations. The submission
was comprised of one or more activity labels for each image where every image
was annotated with one-or-more ground truth activity labels.
NTCIR-14 Conference: Proceedings of the 14th NTCIR Conference on Evaluation of Information Access Technologies, June 10-13, 2019 Tokyo Japan
Overview of the NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 Task 3
2.3 LIT SubTask
The LIT subtask was exploratory in nature and the aim of this subtask was to
gain insights into the lifelogger’s daily life activities. Participants were requested
to provide insights about the lifelog data that support the lifelogger in reﬂecting
upon the data and provide for eﬃcient/eﬀective means of visualisation of the
data. There was no explicit evaluation for this task, so participants were free to
analyse and describe the data in whatever manner they wished.
3 Description of the Lifelog-3 Test Collection
As with each of the previous two Lifelog NTCIR tasks, the organisers prepared
a new test collection that was speciﬁcally designed for the task and with a view
to supporting future research into dietary  consumption of individuals. We
developed this dataset following the process described in , with the following
requirements in mind:
–To balance the size of the collection between being small enough to encourage
participation and being large enough to provide challenging tasks.
–To include rich, multimodal lifelog data, gathered in free-living environments
by a number of individuals, which can support many applications from ad-
hoc retrieval to activity analytics and insight generation.
–To lower barriers-to-participation by including suﬃcient metadata, such as
the visual annotations of visual content.
–To apply the principles of privacy-by-design  when creating the test collec-
tion, because personal sensor data (especially camera or audio data) carries
privacy concerns , , .
–To include realistic topics representing real-world information needs of vary-
ing degrees of diﬃculty for various sub-tasks.
These requirements (reﬁned from previous NTCIR-lifelog tasks) guided the test
collection generation process.
3.1 Data Gathering Process
As with previous NTCIR-Lifelog tasks, the data was gathered by a number
of lifeloggers (in this case, two) who wore the lifelogging devices and gathered
biometric data for most (or all) of the waking hours in the day. One lifelogger
gathered one month of data and one lifelogger gathered two weeks of data. The
lifeloggers wore an OMG Autographer passive-capture wearable camera clipped
to clothing or worn on a lanyard around the neck which captured images (from
the wearer’s viewpoint) and operated for 12-14 hours per day (1,250 - 4,500
images per day - depending on capture frequency or length of waking day).
Additionally mobile apps gathered locations, physical movements and a record of
music listening. Finally, additional wearable sensors provided health and wellness
NTCIR-14 Conference: Proceedings of the 14th NTCIR Conference on Evaluation of Information Access Technologies, June 10-13, 2019 Tokyo Japan
4 C. Gurrin et al.
Fig. 1. Examples of Wearable Camera Images from the Test Collection
data from continual heart-rate monitors, continuous (15-minute interval) blood
glucose monitors, along with manual annotations of food and drink consumption.
Following the data gathering process, there were a number of steps (the same
as in previous editions of the lifelog task) that were taken to ensure that test
collection was both as realistic as possible, and took into account sensitivities
associated with personal data:
– Temporal Alignment. All data was temporally aligned to UTC time.
– Data Filtering. Given the personal nature of lifelog data, it was necessary
to allow the lifeloggers to remove any lifelog data that they may have been
unwilling to share.
– Privacy Protection. Privacy-by-design  was one of the requirements for
the test collection. Consequently, faces and screens were blurred and every
image was also resized down to 1024×768 resolution which had the additional
eﬀect of rendering most textual content illegible.
3.2 Details of the Dataset
The data consists of a medium-sized collection of multimodal lifelog data over
42 days by the two lifeloggers. The contribution of this dataset over previously
released datasets was the inclusion of additional biometric data, a manual diet
log and the inclusion of conventional photos. In most cases the activities of the
lifeloggers were separate and they did not meet. However on a small number of
occasions the lifeloggers appeared in data of each other. The data consists of:
– Multimedia Content. Wearable camera images captured at a rate of about
two images per minute and worn from breakfast to sleep. Accompanying this
image data was a time-stamped record of music listening activities sourced
Overview of the NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 Task 5
Table 1. Statistics of NTCIR-14 Lifelog Data
Number of Lifeloggers 2
Number of Days 43 days
Size of the Collection 14 GB
Number of Images 81,474 images
Number of Locations 61 semantic locations
Number of LSAT Topics 24 topics
Number of LADT Types 16 activities
from Last.FM5and an archive of all conventional (active-capture) digital
photos taken by the lifelogger.
– Biometrics Data. Using the FitBit ﬁtness trackers6, the lifeloggers gath-
ered 24 ×7 heart rate, calorie burn and steps. In addition, continuous blood
glucose monitoring captured readings every 15 minutes using the Freestyle
Libre wearable sensor7.
– Human Activity Data. The daily activities of the lifeloggers were captured
in terms of the semantic locations visited, physical activities (e.g. walking,
running, standing) from the Moves app8, along with a time-stamped diet-log
of all food and drink consumed.
– Enhancements to the Data. The wearable camera images were annotated
with the outputs of a visual concept detector, which provided three types of
outputs (Attributes, Categories and Concepts). Two visual concepts which
include attributes and categories of the place in the image are extracted
using PlacesCNN . The remaining one is detected object category and
its bounding box extracted by using Faster R-CNN  trained on MSCOCO
The LSAT task includes 24 topics with pooled relevance judgements. These
LSAT topics were evaluated in terms of traditional Information Retrieval eﬀec-
tiveness measurements such as Precision, RelRet and MAP. An example of an
LSAT topic is included as Figure 2. For the full list of the topics see Table 2.
These 24 topics were labelled as being one of two types, either precision-based
or recall-based. Precision-based topics had a small number of relevant items in
the dataset, whereas Recall-based topics would have had a larger number of rele-
vant topics. Each topic was further labelled as being related to User 1, User 2 or
both users. An example of a topic is shown in Figure 2, along with some example
5Last.FM Music Tracker and Recommender - https://www.last.fm/
6Fitbit Fitness Tracker (FitBit Versa) - https://www.ﬁtbit.com
7Freestyle Libre wearable glucose monitor - https://www.freestylelibre.ie/
8Moves App for Android and iOS - http://www.moves-app.com/
6 C. Gurrin et al.
TITLE: Ice Cream by the Sea
DESCRIPTION: Find the moment when U1was eating ice cream beside the sea.
NARRATIVE: To be relevant, the moment must show both the ice cream with
cone in the hand of u1 as well as the sea clearly visible. Any moments by the
sea, or eating an ice cream which do not occur together are not considered to be
Examples of relevant images found by participants”
Fig. 2. LSAT topic example, including example results.
Table 2. LSAT topics for NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 subtask.
Ice cream by the Sea Eating Fast Food A New TV
Going Home by Train Photograph of a Bridge In a Toyshop
7* Hotel Buying a Guitar Empty Shop
Card Shopping Croissant Coﬀee and Scone for Breakfast
Cooking a BBQ Flight Check-in Mirror
Meeting with a Lifelogger Seeking Food in a Fridge Car Sales Showroom
Watching Football Coﬀee with Friends Dogs
Eating at the desk Walking Home from Work Crossing a Bridge
relevant image content from the collection. A full list of topics is available from
the NTCIR-14 website9and replicated at the URL in the footnote10.
For the LADT (Activity Detection) subtask, there were sixteen types of ac-
tivities deﬁned for annotation. These were deﬁned in order to make it easier for
participants to develop event segmentation algorithms for the very subjective
human event segmentation tasks. The sixteen types of activity are:
-traveling: travelling (car, bus, boat, airplane, train, etc)
10 NTCIR-14 - Lifelog-3 Topics - http://ntcir-lifelog.computing.dcu.ie
Overview of the NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 Task 7
-face-to-face interacting: face-to-face interaction with people at home or
in the workplace (excluding social interactions)
-using a computer: using desktop computer / laptop / tablet / smartphone
-cooking: preparing meals (include making tea or coﬀee) at any location
-eating: eating meals in any location, but not including moments when drink-
-time with children: taking care of children / playing with children
-houseworking: working in the home (e.g. cleaning, gardening)
-relaxing: relaxing at home (e.g. TV, having a drink)
-reading: reading any form of paper
-socialising: socialising outside the home or oﬃce
-praying: praying / worshipping / meditating
-shopping: shopping in a physical shop (not online)
-gaming: playing computer games
-physical activities: physical activities / sports (walking, playing sports,
cycling, rowing, etc)
-creative activities: creative endeavours (writing, art, music)
-other activities: any other activity not represented by the ﬁfteen labels
Each image can be tagged as belonging to one or more activities and the
’other activities’ category was designed to take into account all activities that
were not in the other ﬁfteen.
For the LIT task, there were no topics and participants were free to analyse
the data in whatever manner they wished. One group took part in the LIT task,
which is outlined in the relevant section below.
3.4 Relevance Judgement and Scoring
Pooled binary relevance judgements were generated for all 24 LSAT topics. Scor-
ing for the LSAT sub-task was calculated using the ubiquitous trec eval toolkit
. A manually generated pooled ground-truth was generated for every topic,
which formed the input for trec eval programme. The pooling was done over
the entire submissions from all oﬃcial runs for the LSAT sub-task. Two custom
applications were developed to support both the LSAT and LADT evaluation
For the LADT topics/labels, a manual relevance judgement was performed
over 5,000 of the images and these annotations were used in assessing partici-
pant performance. These images were chosen randomly from the collection and
scores were calculated according to the following process. For each run, using
the labelled subset of the test images, the score was calculated as the number
of correctly predicted labels divided by the total number of labels in the ground
truth collection (over all of the thirteen activities). It is worth noting that for
some activities, the oﬃcial runs did not include any labelled images i.e. gaming,
praying, physical activity and time with children.
8 C. Gurrin et al.
4 Participants and Submissions
In total fourteen participants signed up to the Lifelog-3 task at NTCIR-14,
however only ﬁve participants managed to submit to any of the sub-tasks of the
Lifelog task. We will now summarise the eﬀort of the participating groups in the
sub-tasks that they submitted to.
4.1 LSAT Sub-task
Four participating groups took part in the LSAT sub-task. We will now sum-
marise the approaches taken by the teams.
NTU (Taiwan) took part in both the LSAT and LADT Tasks . For the
LSAT task, the NTU team developed an interactive lifelog retrieval system that
automatically suggested to the user, a list of candidate query words and adopted
a probabilistic relevance-based ranking function for retrieval. They enhanced the
oﬃcial concept annotations by applying the Google Cloud Vision API11 and pre-
processed the visual content to remove images with poor quality and to oﬀset
the ﬁsh-eye nature of the wearable camera data. In the provided examples, this
was shown to increase the quality of the non-oﬃcial annotations. The interactive
system facilitated a user to select from suggested query words and to restrict
the results to a particular user and date/time interval. Three oﬃcial runs were
submitted, one automatic and two interactive. The ﬁrst run (NTU-Run1) used
an automatic query enhancement process using the top 10 nearest concepts to
the query terms. The other two runs employed a user-in-the-loop (NTU-Run2
QUIK (Japan) from Kyushu University participated in the LSAT task with
a retrieval system that integrates online visual WWW content in the search
process and operated based on an underlying assumption that a lifelog image
of an activity would be similar to images returned from a WWW search engine
for similar activities . The approach operated using only the visual content
of the collection and used the WWW data to train a visual classiﬁer with a
convolutional neural network for each topic. For a given query, images from the
WWW were gathered, ﬁltered by a human and combined to create a new visual
query (average of 170 images per query). In order to solve the lexical gap between
query words and visual concept labels, a second run employed word embedding
when calculating the similarities. Two runs were submitted. QUIK-Run1 used
only visual concepts while QUIK-Run2 used the visual concepts as well as the
VNU-HCM (Vietnam) group took part in the LSAT task by developing
an interactive retrieval system . The research required a custom annotation
process for lifelog data based on the identiﬁable habits of the lifeloggers. This
operated by extracting additional metadata about each moment in the dataset,
by adding in outputs of additional object detectors, manually adding in ten habit
concepts, scene classiﬁcation, and counting the number of people in the images.
11 Google Cloud Vision API - https://cloud.google.com/vision/
Overview of the NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 Task 9
Table 3. LSAT results for NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 subtask.
Group ID Run ID Approach MAP P@10 RelRet
NTU NTU-Run1 Automatic 0.0632 0.2375 293
NTU NTU-Run2 Interactive 0.1108 0.3750 464
NTU NTU-Run3 Interactive 0.1657 0.6833 407
DCU DCURun1 Interactive 0.0724 0.1917 556
DCU DCU-Run2 Interactive 0.1274 0.2292 1094
HCMUS HCMUS-Run1 Interactive 0.3993 0.7917 1444
QUIK QUIK-Run1 Automatic 0.0454 0.1958 232
QUIK QUIK-Run2 Automatic 0.0454 0.1875 232
Associated with this new data source, the team developed a scalable and user-
friendly interface that was designed to support novice users to generate queries
and browse results. One run was submitted (HCMUS-Run1), which was the best
performing run at Lifelog-3.
DCU (Ireland) group took part in the LSAT task by developing an inter-
active retrieval engine for lifelog data . The retrieval engine was designed to
be used by novice users and relied on an extensive range of facet ﬁlters for the
lifelog data and limited search time to ﬁve minutes for each topic . The results
of a query were displayed in 5 pages of 20 images, and for any given image,
the user could browse the (temporal) context of that image in order to locate
relevant content. The user study and subsequent questionnaire illustrated that
the interface and search supports provided were generally liked by users. A list
of important diﬃculties were compiled from the user study and proposed as a
set of requirements for future interactive lifelog retrieval systems.
It can be seen from Table 3 that the results could be analysed by considering
both automatic and interactive runs. For automatic runs, NTU achieve the best
scores in all three measures: MAP, P@10 and RelRet of 6.32%, 23.75% and 293
respectively while QUIK also generates competitive results. For interactive runs,
the team from HCMUS obtains the highest scores of all three measures, which
are also the highest results in two approaches with MAP, P@10 and RelRet of
39.93%, 79.17% and 1444 respectively. Whether this performance is due to higher
quality annotations or the intuitive interface is not yet clear. While NTU focused
on increasing P@10 of their interactive system (68.33%), DCU concentrated on
increasing the recall measure by returning as many number of relevant images
as possible (RelRet: 1094 images). Both teams managed to achieve the second
highest scores of the corresponding measure system. Without additional teams,
there is little further analysis that we can do at this point.
4.2 LADT Task
The NTU group (Taiwan) took part in the LADT task  and developed a new
approach for the multi-label classiﬁcation of lifelog images. In order to train the
classiﬁer, the authors manually labelled four days, which were chosen because
10 C. Gurrin et al.
they covered most of the activities that the lifeloggers were involved in. It is
noted that there is no training data generated for some of the activities for
user 1 and user 2. Since only one group too part, no comparison is possible
between participants. Readers are referred to the NTU paper  for details of
their diﬀerent runs and the comparative performance of these.
4.3 LIT Sub-task
For the LIT task, there were no submissions to be evaluated in the traditional
manner; rather the LIT task was an exploratory task to explore a wide-range of
options for generating insights from the lifelog data. One group took part in the
LIT task. THUIR (China) developed a number of detectors for the lifelog data
to automatically identify the status/context of a user , which could be used
in many real-world applications, especially so for forms of assistive technology.
There were three detectors developed for inside/outside status, alone/not alone
status and working/not working status. These detectors were designed to oper-
ate over non-visual data as well as one for visual data. A comparison between the
two approaches showed that the visual features (integrating supervised machine
learning) were signiﬁcantly better than non-visual ones based on metadata. Fi-
nally the authors presented a number of statistics of users’ activities for all three
detectors, which clearly showed the activities of the two users in a highly visual
5 Learnings & Future Plans
Lifelog-3 was the third in a series of collaborative benchmarking exercises for
lifelog data at NTCIR. It attracted ﬁve active participants, four for the automatic
LSAT sub-task, one for the LADT sub-task and one for the LIT sub-task. We
can summarise the learnings from this task as follows:
–After the previous NTCIR lifelog tasks, we still note that there is no stan-
dardised approach to retrieval of lifelog data, however, we do notice a number
of emerging approaches that show promise. Firstly, the utilisation of addi-
tional visual concept detectors is considered a positive addition. Likewise
we note the integration of external WWW content in many approaches.
Finally, the lexical gap between user queries and concept annotations suggest
that an term expansion eﬀort is needed, and the current consideration is
that this could be achieved using word embedding.
–Three of the four groups participating in the LSAT sub-task built inter-
active retrieval systems for lifelog data, highlighting the belief of the
participants in the importance of the user in the retrieval process.
–The LSAT task is a valuable task and it continued to attract the majority
of participants. This task is superseded by two related collaborative bench-
marking activities, the Lifelog Search Challenge (LSC) , and the Image-
CLEF Lifelog task.
Overview of the NTCIR-14 Lifelog-3 Task 11
In this paper, we described the data and the activities from the Lifelog-3 core-
task at NTCIR-14. There were three sub-tasks prepared for this year. For the
LSAT sub-task, four groups took part and produced eight oﬃcial runs including
ﬁve interactive and three automatic runs. The approach taken by HCMUS, of
enhancing the provided annotations with additional object detectors, habits,
scenes and people analytics, along with an intuitive user interface, ensured that
their runs were signiﬁcantly better than the runs of any other participant. The
LADT and LIT tasks attracted one participant each, so we are not in a position
to draw any conclusions at this point.
After this, the third instance of the NTCIR-Lifelog task, we are beginning to
see some learnings from the comparative benchmarking exercises. It can be seen
that additional concept detectors, integrating external sources and addressing
the lexical gap between users and the systems are priority topics for the research
community to address. Likewise we note the interest in the community of devel-
oping interactive (user-in-the-loop) approaches to lifelog data retrieval. We hope
that participants and readers will continue the eﬀort to develop new approaches
for the organisation and retrieval of lifelog data, and take part in future NTCIR,
LSC and ImageCLEF eﬀorts within the domain.
This publication has emanated from research supported in part by research
grants from Science Foundation Ireland under grant number SFI/12/RC/2289
and Irish Research Council (IRC) under Grant Number GOIPG/2016/741. We
acknowledge the support and input of the DCU ethics committee and the risk
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