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LIS 385T: Information Architecture and Design Search Results By Roger C. Wei 10/22/2002 History of e-Info Searching 1960s Electronically searched info on computer. 1971 End-user search system was introduced. 1985 First commercial CD-ROM appeared.

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history of e info searching
History of e-Info Searching
  • 1960s Electronically searched info on computer.
  • 1971 End-user search system was introduced.
  • 1985 First commercial CD-ROM appeared.
  • 1991 Emergence of the World Wide Web.
  • 1992 Gopher was fully functional.
  • 1994 Emergence of first Web search engine (WebCrawler).
what is search results
What is Search Results
  • Search results refer to presentation of content that matches the user’s search query (Rosenfeld & Morville, 2002).
  • Consist of individual hits.
search tools on the web
Search Tools on the Web
  • About 85% of web users surveyed use search engines to find specific information.
  • Results of a web search depend on the selected search engine.
searching and ranking process
Searching and Ranking Process

(1) match the search words

(2) process the search syntax

(3) construct a set of documents

(4) assign a weight

(5) use the assigned weights to rank

(6) display the search results

  • An abstract measure of how well a document satisfy the user’s info need.
  • A subjective notion and difficult to quantify.
factors of ranking 1 2
Factors of Ranking (1/2)
  • Popularity of the page
  • Frequency of terms
  • Number of query terms matched
  • Rarity of terms
  • Weighting by field
  • Proximity of terms
  • Word variants
factors of ranking 2 2
Factors of Ranking (2/2)
  • Weighting according to the order where the searcher entered terms
  • Case-sensitivity
  • Analysis of documents in the database
  • Relevance feedback applied to retrieved records
  • Date
what re ranking search results are
What re-ranking search results are


User Interface

Database Selector

Doc Selector

Result Merger

Query Dispatcher







measure of ir tool effectiveness
Measure of IR tool Effectiveness
  • Recall=

the number of retrieved relevant documents

the number of relevant documents

  • Precision=

the number of retrieved relevant documents

the number of retrieved documents

recall vs precision
Recall vs. Precision



search evaluation
Search Evaluation
  • Must be examined in pairs.
  • Two Issues:
    • Not easy to define relevancy
    • Difficult to know the # of relevant doc that have not been retrieved.
survey of existing engines 1 2
Survey of Existing Engines (1/2)
  • Major Search Engines: Google, Teoma, (FAST), Yahoo, MSN Search, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, AOL Search, WiseNut, Inktomi, LookSmart, Open Directory, Overture, AltaVista, HotBot, Netscape Search.
  • News Search Engines: AltaVista News
  • Specialty Search Engines: Ask Jeeves
  • Kids Search Engines: AOL Kids Only
survey of existing engines 2 2
Survey of Existing Engines (2/2)
  • Metacrawlers: Dogpile, Metacrawler, Cnet Search,, ProFusion, Mamma, Ixquick.
  • Multimedia Search Engines:
  • Regional Search Engines: Mosaique.
  • Paid Listings Search Engines: Overture.
  • Search Utilities: Copernic.
search results info architecture
Search Results & Info Architecture

-IA, organization info to reach info needs.

  • IA provides more considerations for the way engines display results.
  • IA indirectly increase user’s satisfaction in info needs, when IR don’t have a major breakthrough.
interface design at the search results page farkas 2002
Interface Design at the Search results page: Farkas (2002)
  • Display a number indicating the total number of results.
  • Provide a query form on the results page.
  • Offer some tips on searching if no results.
  • Hits must provide sufficient information.
interface design at the search results page van duyne 2002
Interface Design at the Search results page: Van Duyne (2002)
  • Provide relevant summaries
  • Offer clear organization
  • Provide good hyperlinked titles for each hit
  • Use log files to tailor results for the most common search terms
  • Compensate for common misspellings
  • Provide support for common search tasks
interface design at the search results page rosenfeld 2002
Interface Design at the Search results page: Rosenfeld (2002)

-variables to consider:

  • The level of searching expertise users have.
  • The type of results users want.
  • The type of information being searched.
  • The amount of information being searched.
search results interface
Search Results Interface
  • Google vs. Hotbot.
  • Baeza-Yates, R. & Ribeiro-Neto, B. (1999) Modern Information Retrieval. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, USA.
  • Chowdhury, A. & Soboroff, I. (2002) Automatic Evaluation of World Wide Web Search Services, Proceeding of the twenty-fifth annual international conference on research and development in information retrieval, August 11-15, 2002, 421-422, Tampere, Finland.
  • Chowdhury G. G. & Chowdhury S. (2001) information sources and searching on the world wide web. Library Association Publishing. London, UK.
  • Farkas, D. K., & Farkas J. B. (2002) Principles of Web Design. Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Glossbrenner, A. & Glossbrenner, E. (1999) Search engines for the world wide web, 2nd edn, Peachpit Press.
  • Google: How to Interpret your Search Results (2002). Retrieved October 18, 2002, from:
  • Hagedorn, K. (2000) Information Architecture Glossary. Retrieved October 18, 2002, from:
  • Henninger, M. (1999) Don’t Just Surf: effective reserch strategies for the Net, 2nd Edition, Univeristy of New South Wales Press, Australia.
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Jansen, B. J. 2000. An investigation into the use of simple queries on Web IR systems. Information Research: An Electronic Journal. 6(1).
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  • Morville, P., Rosenfeld, L. B. & Janes, J. (1999) The Internet searcher’s handbook : locating information, people, and software. 2nd Edition. Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc. NY, USA.
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  • Weiss, S. (1997) Glossary for Information Retrieval. Retrieved October 10, 2002, from:
  • Yang, R. (1998) Relationship between Precision and Recall ratios and other evaluation methods. Retrieved July 10, 1999, from: