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Roadmaps to success: Conceptual Mile Markers to accelerate exploratory search sessions

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2 Author(s)
Bagley, K. ; Software Group Sales, IBM Corp., Bedford, VA, USA ; Levkowitz, H.

During exploratory search sessions, users often experience difficulty finding and re-finding high-quality results that are pertinent to their search goals. Various studies have found that search sessions are unsuccessful, end prematurely, and/or lead to user frustration. Feild and Allan found, in their research on “Modeling searcher frustration”, that 36% of queries submitted in search sessions end with users being moderately to extremely frustrated. Additionally, in “Query reuse in exploratory search tasks”, Shah and Marchionini observed a high overlap of queries for a given task between users, as well as a high percentage of query reuse by individual searchers for themselves in re-searching tasks. This paper describes a framework and prototypical system called Conceptual Mile Markers (CMM) that reduces the “time to value” for a search by matching a user query with existing search paths (which we call “roadmaps”), that were captured from previous user search/browse sessions. In addition to allowing users to profit from the "wisdom of the masses" and reuse previously successful search sessions, our roadmaps are presented in conjunction with a clustered result set from traditional search engines, thereby allowing users the flexibility to either explore on their own, or reuse previous work. Beyond the aforementioned “time to value” benefit, CMM roadmaps may be saved and retrieved later by the originator, shared amongst other searchers who have similar search goals, archived for future reference, and/or re-loaded into the system as a type of “bring your own” style of lightweight personalization which can remove or reduce the need for explicit user tracking and registration. These “fringe benefits” address user experience areas that may improve overall productivity and reduce frustration. We propose that our framework and prototype leads to users being more l- kely to acquire a successful end-state and high-quality results, while being less apt to get frustrated and/or abandon searches prematurely.

Published in:

Emerging Technologies for a Smarter World (CEWIT), 2011 8th International Conference & Expo on

Date of Conference:

2-3 Nov. 2011