History matters by Gene Golovchinsky.
Whose history? Your history. Your search history. Visualized.
Interested? Read more:
Exploratory search is an uncertain endeavor. Quite often, people don’t know exactly how to express their information need, and that need may evolve over time as information is discovered and understood. This is not news.
When people search for information, they often run multiple queries to get at different aspects of the information need, to gain a better understanding of the collection, or to incorporate newly-found information into their searches. This too is not news.
The multiple queries that people run may well retrieve some of the same documents. In some cases, there may be little or no overlap between query results; at other times, the overlap may be considerable. Yet most search engines treat each query as an independent event, and leave it to the searcher to make sense of the results. This, to me, is an opportunity.
Design goal: Help people plan future actions by understanding the present in the context of the past.
While web search engines such as Bing make it easy for people to re-visit some recent queries, and early systems such as Dialog allowed Boolean queries to be constructed by combining results of previously-executed queries, these approaches do not help people make sense of the retrieval histories of specific documents with respect to a particular information need. There is nothing new under the sun, however: Mark Sanderson’s NRT system flagged documents as having been previously retrieved for a given search task, VOIR used retrieval histograms for each document, and of course a browser maintains a limited history of activity to indicate which links were followed.
Even more interested? Read Gene’s post in full.
If not, check your pulse.