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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 [email protected] “Are you doing SIG/CON this year?”. no ok, yes.

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slide1

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

[email protected]

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
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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

[email protected]

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