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A novel component-level dictionary learning framework which exploits image group characteristics within sparse coding is introduced in this work. Unlike previous methods, which select the dictionaries that best reconstruct the data, we present an energy minimization formulation that jointly optimizes the learning of both sparse dictionary and component level importance within one unified framework to give a discriminative representation for image groups. The importance measures how well each feature component represents the image group property with the dictionary by using histogram information. Then, dictionaries are updated iteratively to reduce the influence of unimportant components, thus refining the sparse representation for each image group. In the end, by keeping the top K important components, a compact representation is derived for the sparse coding dictionary. Experimental results on several public datasets are shown to demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed algorithm compared to the-state-of-the-art methods.