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Research Papers Library

Understanding User Goals in Web Search

 

Previous work on understanding user web search behavior has focused on how people search and what they are searching for, but not why they are searching. In this paper, we describe a framework for understanding the underlying goals of user searches, and our experience in using the framework to manually classify queries from a web search engine. Our analysis suggests that so-called “navigational” searches are less prevalent than generally believed, while a previously unexplored “resourceseeking” goal may account for a large fraction of web searches. We also illustrate how this knowledge of user search goals might be used to improve future web search engines.

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