Archive for June 2011

Presenting "A Taxonomy of Enterprise Search" at EUROHCIR

June 6th, 2011 — 8:13am

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.




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