the perfect search engine is not enough
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 30

The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough. Jaime Teevan, MIT. with Christine Alvarado, Mark Ackerman and David Karger. Let Me Interview You!. Web:. What’s the last Web page you visited? How did you get there? Have you looked for anything on the Web?. Email:.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough' - Anita

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
the perfect search engine is not enough

The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough

Jaime Teevan, MIT

with Christine Alvarado, Mark Ackerman and David Karger

let me interview you
Let Me Interview You!
  • Web:
  • What’s the last Web page you visited? How did you get there?
  • Have you looked for anything on the Web?
  • 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?
  • Files:
  • What’s the last file you looked at? How did you get to it?
  • Have you looked for a file?
overview understanding



  • Introduction
  • Related work
  • Methodology
  • What we learned
    • How?
    • Why?
    • Who?
    • So what?

Prefer to search in steps

Because it’s easier

Step size varies by person

haystack personal information storage
HaystackHaystack:Personal Information Storage

Web pages





directed search in haystack
Directed Search in Haystack

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


directed search in haystack6
Directed Search in Haystack

Ah yes!

Thank you.


or elsewhere
…Or Elsewhere

Ah yes!

Thank you.

“Perfect Search Engine”

related work
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
modified diary study
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
overview understanding10



  • Introduction
  • Related work
  • Methodology
  • What we learned
    • How?
    • Why?
    • Who?
    • So what?
directed search today
Directed Search Today
  • Target: Connie Monroe’s office number

 Type into a search engine:

“Connie Monroe, office number”

what we observed
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

what we observed13
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.

what we observed14
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.”

strategies looking for information
Strategies Looking for Information



why do people orienteer
Why Do People Orienteer?
  • The tools don’t work
  • Easier than saying what you want
  • You know where you are
  • You know what you find
easier than saying what you want
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
you know where you are
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
you know what you find
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…”

individual strategies
Individual Strategies
  • Search strategies varied by individual
  • People who pile information take small steps
  • People who file information take big steps
  • Where was the last email you found?
  • Inbox?
  • Elsewhere?
how individuals search for files
How Individuals Search For Files


Big steps


Small steps

applying what we learned
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
  • Meta-info, source, flag sources with info
  • URL manipulation, paths apparent, all steps
  • Answer context, trusted sources, exhaustive
  • Allow for different step sizes
structural consistency important
Structural Consistency Important

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

preserve what user remembers
Preserve What User Remembers
  • Supports orienteering for re-finding
  • Allows access to new information
more to learn from the data
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


Teevan, J., Alvarado, C., Ackerman, M. S. and Karger, D. R. (2004). The Perfect Search Engine is Not Enough: A Study of Orienteering Behavior in Directed Search. To appear in Proceedings of CHI 2004.

(Linked from

relating how and what
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:
relating how and corpus
Relating How and Corpus
  • Email and files: Almost never keyword searched
  • Easy to associate information with document
  • Web: Used keyword search much more often
relating what and corpus
Relating What and Corpus
  • Email searches were primarily for specific information
  • File searches were primarily for documents
  • Web searches were more evenly distributed