Information searching tactics of web searchers

Zhang Mimi, Bernard Jansen, Amanda Spink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines patterns and features of query reformulation within a Web searching session. We pursued this study in response to the growing interest in the area of interactions during information searching. In this study, we randomly selected a stratified sample of Web sessions containing 8,030 queries from an AltaVista ( transaction log. Then, we analyzed these sessions for query reformulation tactics that the searcher employed. Our results show that changing the query topic was the primary means to modify queries; and most of the time the users were inclined to modify nouns or subtract some types of words when changes were made. The searchers appear to know how to increase and decrease the coverage (i.e., number of results retrieved) of queries. We believe our study can benefit researchers in terms of understanding people's behavior when interacting with Web search engines. It also could benefit search engine providers in terms of improving their services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences

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