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A Study on User-Controllable Social Exploratory Search

di Sciascio, Cecilia and Brusilovsky, Peter and Veas, Eduardo (2018) A Study on User-Controllable Social Exploratory Search. In: 23rd International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, March 07 - 11, 2018, Tokyo, Japan.

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Information-seeking tasks with learning or investigative purposes are usually referred to as exploratory search. Exploratory search unfolds as a dynamic process where the user, amidst navigation, trial-and-error and on-the-fly selections, gathers and organizes information (resources). A range of innovative interfaces with increased user control have been developed to support exploratory search process. In this work we present our attempt to increase the power of exploratory search interfaces by using ideas of social search, i.e., leveraging information left by past users of information systems. Social search technologies are highly popular nowadays, especially for improving ranking. However, current approaches to social ranking do not allow users to decide to what extent social information should be taken into account for result ranking. This paper presents an interface that integrates social search functionality into an exploratory search system in a user-controlled way that is consistent with the nature of exploratory search. The interface incorporates control features that allow the user to (i) express information needs by selecting keywords and (ii) to express preferences for incorporating social wisdom based on tag matching and user similarity. The interface promotes search transparency through color-coded stacked bars and rich tooltips. In an online study investigating system accuracy and subjective aspects with a structural model we found that, when users actively interacted with all its control features, the hybrid system outperformed a baseline content-based-only tool and users were more satisfied.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
di Sciascio, Ceciliapeterb0000-0002-1902-1464
Brusilovsky, Peter
Veas, Eduardo
Date: 7 March 2018
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 353-364
Event Title: 23rd International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces
Event Dates: March 07 - 11, 2018
Event Type: Conference
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1145/3172944.3172986
Schools and Programs: School of Computing and Information > Information Science
Refereed: Yes
Title of Book: Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Human Information Interaction&Retrieval - IUI '18
Official URL:
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 19:02
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2018 19:02


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