Web searcher interaction with the Dogpile.com metasearch engine
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Metasearch engines are an intuitive method for improving the performance of Web search by increasing coverage, returning large numbers of results with a focus on relevance, and presenting alternative views of information needs. However, the use of metasearch engines in an operational environment is not well understood. In this study, we investigate the usage of Dogpile.com, a major Web metasearch engine, with the aim of discovering how Web searchers interact with metasearch engines. We report
... sults examining 2,465,145 interactions from 534,507 users of Dogpile.com on May 6, 2005 and compare these results with findings from other Web searching studies. We collect data on geographical location of searchers, use of system feedback, content selection, sessions, queries, and term usage. Findings show that Dogpile.com searchers are mainly from the USA (84% of searchers), use about 3 terms per query (mean ؍ 2.85), implement system feedback moderately (8.4% of users), and generally (56% of users) spend less than one minute interacting with the Web search engine. Overall, metasearchers seem to have higher degrees of interaction than searchers on non-metasearch engines, but their sessions are for a shorter period of time. These aspects of metasearching may be what define the differences from other forms of Web searching. We discuss the implications of our findings in relation to metasearch for Web searchers, search engines, and content providers.