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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Amanda Spink, Bernard J. Jansen, Vinish Kathuria and Sherry Koshman

This paper reports the findings of a major study examining the overlap among results retrieved by three major web search engines. The goal of the research was to: measure…

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2272

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reports the findings of a major study examining the overlap among results retrieved by three major web search engines. The goal of the research was to: measure the overlap across three major web search engines on the first results page overlap (i.e. share the same results) and the differences across a wide range of user defined search terms; determine the differences in the first page of search results and their rankings (each web search engine's view of the most relevant content) across single‐source web search engines, including both sponsored and non‐sponsored results; and measure the degree to which a meta‐search web engine, such as Dogpile.com, provides searchers with the most highly ranked search results from three major single source web search engines.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected 10,316 random Dogpile.com queries and ran an overlap algorithm using the URL for each result by query. The overlap of first result page search for each query was then summarized across all 10,316 to determine the overall overlap metrics. For a given query, the URL of each result for each engine was retrieved from the database.

Findings

The percent of total results unique retrieved by only one of the three major web search engines was 85 percent, retrieved by two web search engines was 12 percent, and retrieved by all three web search engines was 3 percent. This small level of overlap reflects major differences in web search engines retrieval and ranking results.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides an important contribution to the web research literature. The findings point to the value of meta‐search engines in web retrieval to overcome the biases of single search engines.

Practical implications

The results of this research can inform people and organizations that seek to use the web as part of their information seeking efforts, and the design of web search engines.

Originality/value

This research is a large investigation into web search engine overlap using real data from a major web meta‐search engine and single web search engines that sheds light on the uniqueness of top results retrieved by web search engines.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Amanda Spink and Bernard J. Jansen

The purpose of this research is to show that federated content collections are important for providing access to multiple content repositories, including image, video…

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1802

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to show that federated content collections are important for providing access to multiple content repositories, including image, video, audio and Web sites.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents findings from an analysis of differences in users' Web searching patterns as they access various federated content collections. A dataset of 4,056,374 records submitted to the Dogpile.com Web meta‐search engine were analysed. An analysis was conducted of search session length, query length, number of results pages viewed, use of systems' assistance and the frequency of repeat queries.

Findings

Overall, users entered two to three terms per query and examined only the first pages of results. However, findings include differences in users' access patterns to various content collections. Web, news and audio queries were longer sessions but shorter queries. More users seeking images and videos sought systems assistance.

Originality/value

This is a large‐scale original study using data from a commercial Web search engine. The paper provides a valuable comparison of different types of search – text v. audio, image, etc.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Seda Ozmutlu, Huseyin C. Ozmutlu and Amanda Spink

Recent studies show that many Web users only submit short queries and conduct short search sessions. This paper examines aspects of users’ attempting longer more complex…

Abstract

Recent studies show that many Web users only submit short queries and conduct short search sessions. This paper examines aspects of users’ attempting longer more complex queries. Web search services such as Ask Jeeves – publicly accessible question and answer (Q&A) search engines – encourage queries in question or request format. In light of this trend, this study examines whether general Web queries are shifting towards a more question/request format. Previous studies show that some users were submitting question or request format queries to general non‐Q&A Web search engines. This paper re‐examines this issue by analysing large‐scale Web query data from two different (US and European) Web query data sets, including 1.2 million Excite queries (www.excite.com) and 1.2 million AlltheWeb.com (http://AlltheWeb.com) queries from 2001.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1997

Howard Falk

The World Wide Web is like a huge country, dotted with hundreds of thousands of sites, and each site contains some information. Despite the size of this country…

Abstract

The World Wide Web is like a huge country, dotted with hundreds of thousands of sites, and each site contains some information. Despite the size of this country, transportation from any site to another requires only a mouse click and under the right conditions takes just a few moments.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2001

Jennifer Rowley

Reviews the approaches to the organisation of knowledge in Web‐based environments. The control and structure helps searchers to locate information and services, but only…

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1630

Abstract

Reviews the approaches to the organisation of knowledge in Web‐based environments. The control and structure helps searchers to locate information and services, but only provided that searchers understand and relate to the terms and information structure designed into the system. The other alternative is for the searcher to specify the topic of their search through the use of keywords. These keywords are in the natural language of the searcher, which may or not be coincident with the natural language of the Web sites being searched by the search engine. In order to negotiate the variability of natural language the searcher needs to learn to use more advanced search features such as Boolean searching, nesting and truncation. The knowledge organisation issues associated with access to and retrieval from large databases, such as those that are searched across the Web, are significant and need careful and specialist attention.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Book part
Publication date: 10 February 2012

Dirk Ahlers

Purpose — To provide a theoretical background to understand current local search engines as an aspect of specialized search, and understand the data sources and used…

Abstract

Purpose — To provide a theoretical background to understand current local search engines as an aspect of specialized search, and understand the data sources and used technologies.

Design/methodology/approach — Selected local search engines are examined and compared toward their use of geographic information retrieval (GIR) technologies, data sources, available entity information, processing, and interfaces. An introduction to the field of GIR is given and its use in the selected systems is discussed.

Findings — All selected commercial local search engines utilize GIR technology in varying degrees for information preparation and presentation. It is also starting to be used in regular Web search. However, major differences can be found between the different search engines.

Research limitations/implications — This study is not exhaustive and only uses informal comparisons without definitive ranking. Due to the unavailability of hard data, informed guesses were made based on available public interfaces and literature.

Practical implications — A source of background information for understanding the results of local search engines, their provenance, and their potential.

Originality/value — An overview of GIR technology in the context of commercial search engines integrates research efforts and commercial systems and helps to understand both sides better.

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Book part
Publication date: 14 December 2004

Mike Thelwall

Abstract

Details

Link Analysis: An Information Science Approach
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-012088-553-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2006

Reijo Savolainen and Jarkko Kari

The purpose of this paper is to specify user‐defined relevance criteria by which people select hyperlinks and pages in web searching.

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2515

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to specify user‐defined relevance criteria by which people select hyperlinks and pages in web searching.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative and qualitative analysis was undertaken of talking aloud data from nine web searches conducted about self‐generated topics.

Findings

Altogether 18 different criteria for selecting hyperlinks and web pages were found. The selection is constituted, by two, intertwined processes: the relevance judgment of hyperlinks, and web pages by user‐defined criteria, and decision‐making concerning the acceptance or rejection of hyperlinks and web pages. The study focuses on the former process. Of the individual criteria, specificity, topicality, familiarity, and variety were used most frequently in relevance judgments. The study shows that despite the high number of individual criteria used in the judgments, a few criteria such as specificity and topicality tend to dominate. Searchers were less critical in the judgment of hyperlinks than deciding whether the activated web pages should be consulted in more detail.

Research limitations/implications

The study is exploratory, drawing on a relatively low number of case searches.

Originality/value

The paper gives a detailed picture of the criteria used in the relevance judgments of hyperlinks and web pages. The study also discusses the specific nature of criteria used in web searching, as compared to those used in traditional online searching environments.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 62 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2000

David Green

The interrelation between Web publishing and information retrieval technologies is explored. The different elements of the Web have implications for indexing and searching

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2535

Abstract

The interrelation between Web publishing and information retrieval technologies is explored. The different elements of the Web have implications for indexing and searching Web pages. There are two main platforms used for searching the Web – directories and search engines – which later became combined to create one‐stop search sites, resulting in the Web business model known as portals. Portalisation gave rise to a second‐generation of firms delivering innovative search technology. Various new approaches to Web indexing and information retrieval are listed. PC‐based search tools incorporate intelligent agents to allow greater manipulation of search strategies and results. Current trends are discussed, in particular the rise of XML, and their implications for the future. It is concluded that the Web is emerging from a nascent stage and is evolving into a more complex, diverse and structured environment.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 30 May 2013

Ren Ding and Feicheng Ma

The purpose of this paper is to assess student web searching competency. The paper aims to determine varying levels of university student competency in web searches and to…

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1263

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess student web searching competency. The paper aims to determine varying levels of university student competency in web searches and to investigate and compare their competency levels of searching academic and daily‐life tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a quantitative research method of giving study participants a controllable experiment, a task‐based online test (TBOT), to evaluate web searching competency based on student searching performance. Participants included 141 undergraduate and graduate students from Wuhan University, China. Their searching competency level was assessed by testing their searching effectiveness and searching efficiency.

Findings

Student average web searching competency level was found to be comparatively low overall, within preliminary stages of development. A lot of students are unable to search the web with efficiency. Competency levels for searching academic tasks were higher than those of daily‐life tasks, especially when the degree of difficulty increased. These two levels, however, have a significant positive correlationship. In information literacy education it is therefore vital to teach students comprehensive web searching competency that includes knowledge and techniques for both academic and daily‐life search tasks.

Originality/value

Using the TBOT to assess student web searching competency is novel in the field of library and information science. By conducting this pilot experiment, librarians and teachers will be able to design and promote an improved information literacy education according to students' specific web searching competency status, instead of assumed goal levels.

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