Report on the Second Workshop on Supporting Complex Search Tasks
There is broad consensus in the field of IR that search is complex in many use cases and applications, both on the Web and in domain-specific collections, and both in our professional and in our daily life. Yet our understanding of complex search tasks, in comparison to simple look up tasks, is fragmented at best. The workshop addressed many open research questions: What are the obvious use cases and applications of complex search? What are essential features of work tasks and search tasks to
... d search tasks to take into account? And how do these evolve over time? With a multitude of information, varying from introductory to specialized, and from authoritative to speculative or opinionated, when should which sources of information be shown? How does the information seeking process evolve and what are relevant differences between different stages? With complex task and search process management, blending searching, browsing, and recommendations, and supporting exploratory search to sensemaking and analytics, UI and UX design pose an overconstrained challenge. How do we know that our approach is any good? Supporting complex search tasks requires new collaborations across the whole field of IR, and the proposed workshop brought together a diverse group of researchers to work together on one of the greatest challenges of our field. The workshop featured three main elements. First, two keynotes, one on the complexity of meaningful interactive IR evaluation by Mark Hall and one on the types of search complexity encountered in real-world applications by Jussi Karlgren. Second, a lively boaster and poster session in which seven contributed papers were presented. Third, three breakout groups discussed concrete ideas on: (1) search context and tasks, (2) search process, and (3) evaluation of complex search tasks. There was an general feeling that the discussion made progress, and built new connections between related strands of research in IR.