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Alternative Models of Web Searching:
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Alternative Models of Web Searching: Broadening Our Perspectives: An Exploratory Study: Preliminary Findings SIG/CON 2002. Joseph Janes The Information School of the University of Washington jwj@u.washington.edu. “Are you doing SIG/CON this year?”. no ok, yes.

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Joseph janes the information school of the university of washington jwj u washington

Alternative Models of Web Searching: Broadening Our Perspectives: An Exploratory Study: Preliminary FindingsSIG/CON 2002

Joseph Janes

The Information School

of the University of Washington

jwj@u.washington.edu


Are you doing sig con this year

“Are you doing SIG/CON this year?”

  • no

  • ok, yes


Statement of the problem

statement of the problem

  • the Web is really big

  • lots of good (?) stuff there

  • Google rapidly becoming search mechanism of choice

  • works ok, but there are problems

  • worth examining alternative methods of Web searching, esp for complex, precise, Boolean-type searching problems


Review of the literature

review of the literature

  • as usual, examined classics of the field

  • J. Christ (ca. AD 30), Matthew 7:7 prediction of Google

  • M. de Nostradamus (14c?) prediction of Web

  • A. Spink et al (1999a, 1999b, 1999c) Web searching

  • A. Spink et al (2000 a-f)

  • A. Spink et al (2001 a-h)

  • A. Spink et al (2002 a-q)

  • A. Spink et al (in press a-x)


Methodology

methodology

  • comparison of 4 approaches to try to replicate modes and models of search behavior, broadly understood:

    • Google

    • Yahoo browsing

    • darts @ map of Web

    • dowsing rod w/ random URL generator


Methodology1

methodology

  • Ss:

    • 50 undergraduates

    • 50 public library users (chimpanzees didn’t work out)

    • 20 UK darts players, local pub champions

    • 13 water witches


Methodology2

methodology

  • queries assigned:

    • What is the meaning of life?

    • Where should I dig a well?

    • How about a pint?

    • Why do I get this sharp, stabbing pain every time I pick up a copy of JASIST?

  • analysis based on quality of responses as defined by searcher

  • considered random assignment of questions to searchers

  • seemed too dangerous


Results

results

  • differential performance by question/method/searcher

  • potential source of bias: didn’t analyze the water witches too closely (resistance, sticks, witches)

  • darts  Google; esp strong on pint Q, surprisingly strong on JASIST Q as well

  • witches  Yahoo categories

  • confirming something we’ve known intuitively for quite some time

  • dowsing  browsing (perhaps rename??)


Implications conclusions further research

implications, conclusions, further research

  • implications for metadata creation, system design, searchers, training—but nothing funny I could think of this afternoon

  • multiple methods of search can be of significant value (ditto)

  • potential challenge to global Google hegemony

  • sometimes these more mature methods of search can be worthwhile for the Web

  • i.e., you might just as well wave a stick at it


Joseph janes the information school of the university of washington jwj u washington

Alternative Models of Web Searching: Broadening Our Perspectives: An Exploratory Study: Preliminary FindingsSIG/CON 2002

Joseph Janes

The Information School

of the University of Washington

jwj@u.washington.edu


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