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How are we searching the world wide web? A comparison of nine search engine transaction logs

Jansen, Bernard J. & Spink, Amanda H. (2006) How are we searching the world wide web? A comparison of nine search engine transaction logs. Information Processing and Management, 42(1), pp. 248-263.

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Abstract

The Web and especially major Web search engines are essential tools in the quest to locate online information for many people. This paper reports results from research that examines characteristics and changes in Web searching from nine studies of five Web search engines based in the U.S. and Europe. We compare interactions occurring between users and Web search engines from the perspectives of session length, query length, query complexity, and content viewed among the Web search engines. The results of our research shows (1) users are viewing fewer result pages, (2) searchers on U.S.-based Web search engines use more query operators tan searchers on European-based search engines, (3) there are statistically significant differences in the use of Boolean operators and result pages viewed, and (4) one can not necessary apply results from studies of one particular Web search engine to another Web search engine. The wide spread use of Web search engines, employment of simple queries, and decreased viewing of result pages may have resulted from algorithmic enhancements by Web search engine companies. We discuss the implications of the findings for the development of Web search engines and design of online content.

Impact and interest:

340 citations in Scopus
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180 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 4945
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: information retrieval, transaction log analysis, search engines, searching behaviour
DOI: 10.1016/j.ipm.2004.10.007
ISSN: 0306-4573
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700) > Information Retrieval and Web Search (080704)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 05 Sep 2006
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:25

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