Search log analysis: What it is, what's been done, how to do it

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

171 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of data stored in transaction logs of Web search engines, Intranets, and Web sites can provide valuable insight into understanding the information-searching process of online searchers. This understanding can enlighten information system design, interface development, and devising the information architecture for content collections. This article presents a review and foundation for conducting Web search transaction log analysis. A methodology is outlined consisting of three stages, which are collection, preparation, and analysis. The three stages of the methodology are presented in detail with discussions of goals, metrics, and processes at each stage. Critical terms in transaction log analysis for Web searching are defined. The strengths and limitations of transaction log analysis as a research method are presented. An application to log client-side interactions that supplements transaction logs is reported on, and the application is made available for use by the research community. Suggestions are provided on ways to leverage the strengths of, while addressing the limitations of, transaction log analysis for Web-searching research. Finally, a complete flat text transaction log from a commercial search engine is available as supplementary material with this manuscript.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-432
Number of pages26
JournalLibrary and Information Science Research
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2006

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences

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