The conference season is indeed in full swing: two weeks ago we had HCIR in California and last week we had Enterprise Search Europe in London closely followed by the Industry Day at CIKM in Glasgow. So much to report back on! I wasn’t able to attend HCIR in person this year (it’s a long way to go for one day), but ex-Endeca colleagues Joe Lamantia, Mark Burrell and I had a poster accepted, which is included as part of the proceedings. The paper describes a revised version of the study we presented at EuroHCIR 2011, updated following very useful feedback from the reviewers (there’s actually a longer story to that which I’ll cover in a future post).
Classic IR (information retrieval) is predicated on the notion of users searching for information in order to satisfy a particular “information need”. However, it is now accepted that much of what we recognize as search behaviour is often not informational per se. Broder (2002) has shown that the need underlying a given web search could in fact be navigational (e.g. to find a particular site) or transactional (e.g. through online shopping, social media, etc.). Similarly, Rose & Levinson (2004) have identified the consumption of online resources as a further common category of search behaviour.
In this paper, we extend this work to the enterprise context, examining the needs and behaviours of individuals across a range of search and discovery scenarios within various types of enterprise. We present an initial taxonomy of “discovery modes”, and discuss some initial implications for the design of more effective search and discovery platforms and tools.