Do Users Need a Search Parachute and a Search Compass? Supporting Navigation and Guided Discovery During Exploratory Search
Ryen White (Microsoft Research)
Exploratory search can be used to describe an information-seeking problem context that is open-ended, persistent, and multi-faceted; and to describe information-seeking processes that are opportunistic, iterative, and multi-tactical. In the first sense, exploratory search is commonly used in scientific discovery, learning, and decision making contexts. In the second sense, exploratory tactics are used in all manner of information seeking and reflect seeker preferences and experience as much as the goal. In exploratory search people usually submit a tentative query to parachute them into the document space somewhere near relevant documents then explore the environment to better understand how to exploit it, selectively seeking and passively obtaining cues about where their next steps lie. In this talk I will discuss the provision of additional post-query guidance to users, in the form of a search "compass". Such assistance may especially useful during exploratory searches, where the goal may be unclear or the route to the goal uncertain. I will tie in work I have done and work done by others in the Information Retrieval and Human-Computer Interaction communities. Particular attention will paid to interfaces and emerging evaluation methodologies.
Speaker BiographyRyen White has been a Researcher in the Text Mining, Search, and Navigation Group at Microsoft Research, Redmond since May 2006. Prior to that he was a post-doc in the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his Ph.D. in Interactive Information Retrieval from the Department of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, U.K. in October 2004. He has published over 60 conference papers and journal articles in Web search and user studies of search systems. He was co-recipient of Best Paper Award at the INTERACT 2003 conference, the Best Student Paper Award at the 2004 European Conference on Information Retrieval, and the Best Paper Award at the 2007 ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. He received the British Computer Society's Distinguished Dissertation Award for the best Computer Science Ph.D. dissertation in the United Kingdom in 2004/2005. He has organized workshops on exploratory search at the ACM SIGIR (x2) and ACM SIGCHI (x1) conferences, guest co-edited the April 2006 special issue of Communications of the ACM entitled "Supporting Exploratory Search", and is currently posters chair of the 2008 European Conference on Information Retrieval.