I’m pleased to be presenting ‘A Taxonomy of Enterprise Search’ at the upcoming EuroHCIR workshop, part of the 2011 HCI conference in the UK. Co-authored with Tony Russell-Rose of UXLabs, and Mark Burrell here at Endeca, this is our first publication of some of the very exciting work we’re doing to understand and describe discovery activities in enterprise settings, and do so within a changed and broader framing than traditional information retrieval. The paper builds on work I’ve done previously on understanding and defining information needs and patterns of information retrieval activity, while working on search and discovery problems as part of larger user experience architecture efforts.
Here’s the abstract of the paper:
Classic IR (information retrieval) is predicated on the notion of users searching for information in order to satisfy a particular “information need”. However, it is now accepted that much of what we recognize as search behaviour is often not informational per se. For example, Broder (2002) has shown that the need underlying a given web search could in fact be navigational (e.g. to find a particular site or known item) or transactional (e.g. to find a sites through which the user can transact, e.g. through online shopping, social media, etc.). Similarly, Rose & Levinson (2004) have identified consumption of online resources as a further category of search behaviour and query intent.
In this paper, we extend this work to the enterprise context, examining the needs and behaviours of individuals across a range of search and discovery scenarios within various types of enterprise. We present an initial taxonomy of “discovery modes”, and discuss some initial implications for the design of more effective search and discovery platforms and tools.
There’s a considerable amount of research available on information retrieval — even within a comparatively new discipline like HCIR, focused on the human to system interaction aspects of IR — but I think it’s the attempt to define an activity centered grammar for interacting with information that makes our approach worth examining. The HCIR events in the U.S. (and now Europe) blend academic and practitioner perspectives, so are an appropriate audience for our proposed vocabulary of discovery activity ‘modes’ that’s based on a substantial body of data collected and analyzed during solution design and deployment engagements.
I’ll post the paper itself once the proceedings are available.