Karen Jones

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Karen JonesName: Karen Spärck Jones

Born: August 26, 1935 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England

Death: April 4, 2007 (Age: 71)

Computer related contributions

  • British computer scientist and Professor of Computers and Information at Cambridge's Computer Laboratory.
  • Main research interests, since the late 1950s, were natural language processing and information retrieval.
  • One of her most important contributions was the concept of inverse document frequency (IDF) weighting in information retrieval, which she introduced in a 1972 paper. IDF is used in most search engines today, usually as part of the tf-idf weighting scheme.


  • Semantic Primitives: the tip of the iceberg (2007)

Honors and awards

  • ACM-AAAI Allen Newell Award (2007)
  • BCS Lovelace Medal (2007)
  • ACL Lifetime Achievement Award (2004)
  • ASIS&T Award of Merit (2002)
  • Gerard Salton Award (1988)


"To be a proper professional you need to think about the context and motivation and justifications of what you're doing."