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The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough. Jaime Teevan † , Christine Alvarado † , Mark S. Ackerman ‡ and David R. Karger †. † MIT, CSAIL ‡ University of Michigan. Let Me Interview You!. Email:. What’s the last email you read? What did you do with it?

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The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough

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The perfect search engine is not enough l.jpg

The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough

Jaime Teevan†, Christine Alvarado†, Mark S. Ackerman‡ and David R. Karger†

† MIT, CSAIL

‡ University of Michigan


Let me interview you l.jpg

Let Me Interview You!

  • Email:

  • What’s the last email you read? What did you do with it?

  • Have you gone back to an email you’ve read before?

  • Web:

  • What’s the last Web page you visited? How did you get there?

  • Have you looked for anything on the Web?

  • Files:

  • What’s the last file you looked at? How did you get to it?

  • Have you looked for a file?


Overview understanding l.jpg

Overview:Understanding

Search

Directed

  • Introduction

  • Related work

  • Methodology

  • What we learned

    • How?

    • Why?

    • Who?

    • So what?

  • Introduction

  • Related work

  • Methodology

  • What we learned

    • How?

    • Why?

    • Who?

    • So what?


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Haystack

Haystack:Personal Information Storage

Web pages

Email

Files

Calendar

Contacts


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Directed Search in Haystack

What was that paper I read last week about Information Retrieval?

Haystack


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Directed Search in Haystack

Ah yes!

Thank you.

Haystack

“Perfect Search Engine”


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Related Work

  • Directed search

    • Lab studies [Capra03, Maglio97]

    • Log analysis [Broder02, Spink01]

  • Observational studies [Malone83]

  • Information Seeking

    • Marchionini, O’Day and Jeffries, Bates, Belkin, …

    • Evolving information need


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Modified Diary Study

  • Subjects: 15 CS graduate students

  • Ten interviews each (2/day x 5 days)

  • Two question types

    • Last email/file/Web page looked at

    • Last email/file/Web page looked for

  • Supplemented with direct observation and an hour-long semi-structured interview


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Overview:Understanding

Directed

Search

  • Introduction

  • Related work

  • Methodology

  • What we learned

    • How?

    • Why?

    • Who?

    • So what?


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Directed Search Today

  • Target: Connie Monroe’s office number

 Type into a search engine:

“Connie Monroe, office number”


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What We Observed

Interviewer: Have you looked for anything on the Web today?

Jim: I had to look for the office number of the Harvard professor.

I: So how did you go about doing that?

J: I went to the homepage of the Math department at Harvard


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What We Observed

I:So you went to the Math department, and then what did you do over there?

J:It had a place where you can find people and I went to that page and they had a dropdown list of visiting faculty, and so I went to that link and I looked for her name and there it was.


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What We Observed

J:I knew that she had a very small Web page saying, “I’m here at Harvard. Here’s my contact information.”


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Strategies Looking for Information

Teleporting

Orienteering


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Why Do People Orienteer?

  • Easier than saying what you want

  • You know where you are

  • You know what you find

  • The tools don’t work


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Easier Than Saying What You Want

  • Describing the target is hard

    • Can’t

    • Prefer not to

  • Habit

    • “Whichever way I remember first.”

  • Search for source

    • E.g., Your last email search


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You Know Where You Are

  • Stay in known space

    • URL manipulation

    • Bookmarks

    • History

  • Backtracking

    • Following an information scent

    • Never end up at a dead end


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You Know What You Find

  • Context gives understanding of answer

    “I was looking for a specific file. But even when I saw its name, I wouldn’t have known that that was the file I wanted until I saw all of the other names in the same directory…”

  • Understanding negative results

    “I basically clicked on every single button until I was convinced… I don’t think that it exists…”


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Individual Search Behavior

  • Search behavior varied by individual

  • Categorize based on email usage

    • Filers

    • Pilers

  • People who pile information take small steps

  • People who file information take big steps


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How Individuals Search For Files

Filers

Big steps

Pilers

Small steps


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More to Learn from the Data

  • Differences in finding v. re-finding

  • How organization relates to search

  • Importance of type (email, files and Web)

  • Looked at v. looked for

     Keep in mind population


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Applying What We Learned

 Support orienteering

  • Advantages to orienteering

    • Easier than saying what you want

    • You know where you are

    • You know what you find

  • Individual differences in step size

  • Highlight source (e.g., flag sources with info)

  • Integrate tools used for steps

  • Support exhaustive search

  • Allow for different step sizes


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More to Learn from the Data

  • Differences in finding v. re-finding

  • How organization relates to search

  • Importance of type (email, files and Web)

  • Looked at v. looked for

     Keep in mind population


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Structural Consistency Important

All must be the same to re-find the information!


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Preserve What User Remembers

  • Supports orienteering for re-finding

  • Allows access to new information


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File or Pile Email

Filer

Piler


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Searching Other Collections

Ah yes!

Thank you.


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Keep Population in Mind

  • CS grad students not representative

  • Very familiar with search tools

     Would expect to see lots of tool use


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Relating How and What

  • People only keyword search 39% of the time

  • What people look for related to how they look

Orienteer to specific information

  • Surprise:


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Relating How and Corpus

  • Email and files: Almost never keyword searched

  • Easy to associate information with document

  • Web: Used keyword search much more often


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Relating What and Corpus

  • Email searches were primarily for specific information

  • File searches were primarily for documents

  • Web searches were more evenly distributed


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