Improved search engines and navigation preference in personal information management

Ofer Bergman, Ruth Beyth-Marom, Rafi Nachmias, Noa Gradovitch, Steve Whittaker

פרסום מחקרי: פרסום בכתב עתמאמרביקורת עמיתים


Traditionally users access their personal files mainly by using folder navigation. We evaluate whether recent improvements in desktop search have changed this fundamental aspect of Personal Information Management (PIM). We tested this in two studies using the same questionnaire: (a) The Windows Study-a longitudinal comparison of Google Desktop and Windows XP Search Companion, and (b) The Mac Study-a large scale comparison of Mac Spotlight and Sherlock. There were few effects for improved search. First, regardless of search engine, there was a strong navigation preference: on average, users estimated that they used navigation for 56 - 68% of file retrieval events but searched for only 4 - 15% of events. Second, the effect of improving the quality of the search engine on search usage was limited and inconsistent. Third, search was used mainly as a last resort when users could not remember file location. Finally, there was no evidence that using improved desktop search engines leads people to change their filing habits to become less reliant on hierarchical file organization. We conclude by offering theoretical explanations for navigation preference, relating to differences between PIM and Internet retrieval, and suggest alternative design directions for PIM systems.

שפה מקוריתאנגלית
מספר המאמר20
כתב עתACM Transactions on Information Systems
מספר גיליון4
מזהי עצם דיגיטלי (DOIs)
סטטוס פרסוםפורסם - 1 ספט׳ 2008

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