Patterns and transitions of query reformulation during web searching

Bernard Jansen, Mimi Zhang, Amanda Spink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - To investigate and identify the patterns of interaction between searchers and search engine during web searching. Design/methodology/approach - The authors examined 2,465,145 interactions from 534,507 users of submitted on May 6, 2005, and compared query reformulation patterns. They investigated the type of query modifications and query modification transitions within sessions. Findings - The paper identifies three strong query reformulation transition patterns: between specialization and generalization; between video and audio, and between content change and system assistance. In addition, the findings show that web and images content were the most popular media collections. Originality/value - This research sheds light on the more complex aspects of web searching involving query modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1641924
Pages (from-to)328-340
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Web Information Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Information searches
  • Internet
  • Pattern recognition equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems

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