A Case Study of Collaboration and Reputation in Social Web Search

Kevin McNally, Michael P. O'Mahony, Maurice Coyle, Peter Briggs, Barry Smyth
2011 ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology  
INTRODUCTION The scale of the Web and the heterogeneous nature of its content [Signorini and Gulli 2005] introduces many significant information discovery challenges. For all of the recent developments in search engine technologies, modern search engines continue to struggle when it comes to providing users with fast and efficient access to information. For example, recent studies have highlighted how even today's leading search engines fail to satisfy 50% of user queries ]. Part of the problem
more » ... rests with the searchers themselves: with an average of only 2-3 terms [Lawrence and Giles 1998; Spink and Jansen 2004], the typical Web search query is often vague with respect to the searcher's true intentions or information needs [Song et al. 2007 ]. Moreover, searchers sometimes choose query terms that are not well represented in the page that they are seeking and so simply increasing the length of queries will not necessarily improve search performance. Two promising and powerful new ideas in web search are personalization and collaboration. Personalization questions the one-size-fits-all nature of mainstream web search -two different users with the same query will receive the same resultlist, despite their different preferences -and argues that web search needs to become more personalized so that the implicit needs and preferences of searchers can be accommodated [Chang et al. This paper focuses on the second idea, that of collaboration. In the main, web search takes the form of an isolated interaction between lone searcher and search engine. Recently, however, there has been considerable interest in the potential for web search to evolve to become a more social activity [Morris et al. 2010; Golovchinsky et al. 2009; Evans et al. 2010; Evans and Chi 2009] , whereby the search efforts of a user might be influenced by their social graph or the searches of others, potentially leading to a more collaborative model of search. In the broadest sense the idea of social search is one that tries to unify two distinctive information
doi:10.1145/2036264.2036268 fatcat:aern5efxezbw5je2m55xhpxhni