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Impact of device on search pattern transitions: A comparative study based on large-scale library OPAC log data

Dan Wu (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Renmin Bi (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper discusses the differences in search pattern transitions for mobile phone, tablet and desktop devices by mining the transaction log data of a library online public access catalogue (OPAC). We aimed to analyze the impacts of different devices on user search behavior and provide constructive suggestions for the development of library OPACs on different devices.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on transaction logs which are 9 GB in size and contain 16,140,509 records of a university library OPAC, statistics and clustering were used to analyze the differences in search pattern transitions on different devices in terms of two aspects: search field transition patterns and query reformulation patterns.

Findings

Search field transition patterns are influenced by the input function and user interfaces of different devices. As reformulation times increase, the differences between query reformulation patterns among different devices decrease.

Practical implications

Mobile-side libraries need to optimize user interfaces, for example by setting web page labels and improving input capabilities. Desk-side libraries can add more suggestive content on the interface.

Originality/value

Unlike previous studies, which have analyzed web search, this paper focuses on library OPAC search. The search function of mobile phones, tablets and desktops were found to be asymptotic, which was a good illustration of how devices have a large impact on user search behavior.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This article is supported by the Project “Big Data Analysis of Library Users’ Behavior and Service Innovation for Mobile Internet” supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Fund of the Ministry of Education in China (Grant No. 16YJA870009).

Citation

Wu, D. and Bi, R. (2017), "Impact of device on search pattern transitions: A comparative study based on large-scale library OPAC log data", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 650-666. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-10-2016-0239

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited