UC Merced Talk: Oct 12, 2009 KL 202, 2:30PM

Title:  Finding what you seek: How Google users think about search (and how they actually search)

Abstract:  Is search a solved problem? Certainly not from the user's perspective. Some Google users are incredibly effective at finding stuff with search engines, while others seem to have trouble getting their questions framed, let alone answered. Why are some searchers so good, and what do they do differently than others? I’ll talk about some of the differences between searchers at different proficiency levels and what it means to learn how to search and research… and what the difference is. It’s not the same as what you might have learned in a library skills class because the underlying mental models are very different.

Bio: Daniel M Russell is a research scientist at Google where he works in the area of search quality, with a focus on understanding what makes Google users happy in their use of web search. He studies how people do their searches, trying to understand the most common traps and pathways to successful Google use. Dan has been a researcher at IBM's Almaden Research Center, Apple's Advanced Technology Group and Xerox PARC. He received his BS in Information & Computer Science from UC Irvine. His PhD is from the time before the world-wide web at the University of Rochester. Dan remembers when email addresses didn't end in .com or .edu (let alone .org). His mental models have evolved considerably since those pre-web days. He enjoys long distance running, making music and word play, becoming disgruntled when he can't do all three in one day.

Notes:  This talk is part of the Mind, Science & Society Lecture series run through the Cognitive Science Department at UC Merced.

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