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A Dynamic Methodology for Improving the Search Experience

Marcia D. Kerchner


In the early years of modern information retrieval, the fundamental way in which we understood and evaluated search performance was by measuring precision and recall. In recent decades, however, models of evaluation have expanded to incorporate the information-seeking task and the quality of its outcome, as well as the value of the information to the user. We have developed a systems engineering-based methodology for improving the whole search experience. The approach focuses on understanding users’ information-seeking problems, understanding who has the problems, and applying solutions that address these problems. This information is gathered through ongoing analysis of site-usage reports, satisfaction surveys, Help Desk reports, and a working relationship with the business owners.

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