does history matter?

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When pursuing complex information needs (e.g., doing genealogical searching, exploring historical archives, planning a vacation, doing a patent search, etc.), people often run multiple queries to discover effective search terms, to break the problem down into sub-tasks, to reflect an evolving understanding of the information need, etc. Such queries often retrieve many of the same documents, but most systems offer no help in understanding this redundancy. In this talk, I will describe Querium, an interactive information seeking system I have been building that helps people make sense of their past interactions, that helps them understand how the current results relate to what has been found before, and thus helps them plan for the future. These slides are from an invited talk I gave at a NWO-sponsored CATCH meeting by BRIDGE on June 22, 2012 in The Netherlands. For more information on the event, see NWO: The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research CATCH: Continuous Access To Cultural Heritage BRIDGE: Building Rich Links To Enable Television History Research


  • 1. Does history matter? Gene GolovchinskyFX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc.@HCIR_GeneGThanks to: Tony Dunnigan, Jeremy Pickens, Abdigani Diriye

2. What this talk is really about Can we use a record of peoples interactions with asearch system to aid memory and sense-making? 3. Hasnt Google solved search?I know what youre thinking Do I feel lucky? 4. Some examples of search tasks Google isnt very good atPatentability search Archives researchMedical/pharmaceutical Intelligence analysisresearch Travel planningBusiness analysisHistorical researchGenealogical researchAcademic researcheDiscovery Etc. Why is this? 5. Exploratory searchInteractiveInformation seeking Anomalous state of knowledgeEvolving information need Often recall-oriented 6. What happens in exploratory search?A personRuns a queryLooks at some documentsLearns something and the process continues but there is a lot of repetition,a lot of redundancy, anda lot of reliance on memory 7. Overlap as a function of number of queries in a session 002 4 6810 121416 8. Questions people might askof an exploratory search toolWhat queries have I run?What documents have I found?Have I seen this document before?What are the central themes?Was this query effective at finding new information? 9. How might we answer these?Keep track of queries & documents for a taskStructure search in terms of this process metadata 10. Wait!Doesnt Google already use machine learning ofprior search behavior to improve results? Bing, too! 11. Google/Bing and historyWeb search engines record clicked-on documentsSystem aggregates clicks, adjusts document rankingsFuture searchers get higher precisionAll searchers get personalization for common queries One key problem:Idiosyncratic information needs do not benefit as much as common ones 12. A brief history of search history1970s: DIALOG let people combine queries with Boolean operators1990s: Web Browsers keep track of visited documents1990s: Search engines use click-through rates to affect future rankings1997: VOIR (Golovchinsky) shows retrieval histories of documents in a session1998: ARIADNE (Twidale and Nichols) lets people review search activity2000: SearchPad (Bharat) lets people save and revisit queries and documents2005: KonwlegeSea (Ahn et al.) shows prior activity on retrieved documents2008?: annotates results with info from family tree2012: Querium (Golovchinsky et al.) reflects query/document history forexploring search results 13. DIALOG Dialog Lockheed (1970s) 14. VOIRGolovchinsky (1997) 15. AriadneAriadneTwidale and Nichols (1998) 16. SearchPadBharat (2000) 17. KnowlegeSeaAhn et al. (2005) 18. 19. QueriumGolovchinsky et al. (2012) 20. QueriumGolovchinsky et al. (2012) 21. In closing Memory is uncertain Information needs evolveQueries are approximationsUnderstanding changes Design challenge: Help people planfuture actions by understanding the present in the context of the past 22. Does this picture look familiar? 23. Questions?Gene Golovchinsky FXPAL 24. Image credits 25. ReferencesAhn, J.-W., Brusilovsky, P., and Farzan, R. (2005). Investigating users needs and behaviorfor social search. In Proc. of the Workshop on New Technologies for PersonalizedInformation Access (held in conjunction with UM05), Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; pp. 1-12.Bharat, K. (2000) SearchPad: Explicit Capture of Search Context to Support Web Search. InProc. WWW2000, pp. 493-501.Golovchinsky, G. (1997) Queries? Links? Is there a difference? In Proc. CHI 1997. ACMPress.Golovchinsky, G., Diriye, A., and Dunnigan, T. (2012) The future is in the past: Designingfor exploratory search. To appear in Proc. IIiX2012, Nijmegen, ACM Press.Twidale, M. and Nichols, D. M. (1998) Designing interfaces to support collaboration ininformation retrieval. Interacting with Computers 10(2), pp. 177-193.