Assessing the scenic route: measuring the value of search trails in web logs Authors: Ryen W. White, Jeff Huang Keywords: log analysis, search trails, trail following
Search trails mined from browser or toolbar logs comprise queries and the post-query pages that users visit. Implicit endorsements from many trails can be useful for search result ranking, where the presence of a page on a trail increases its query relevance. Follow-ing a search trail requires user effort, yet little is known about the benefit that users obtain from this activity versus, say, sticking with the clicked search result or jumping directly to the destination page at the end of the trail. In this paper, we present a log-based study estimating the user value of trail following. We compare the relevance, topic coverage, topic diversity, novelty, and utility of full trails over that provided by sub-trails, trail origins (landing pages), and trail destinations (pages where trails end). Our findings demonstrate significant value to users in following trails, especially for certain query types. The findings have implications for the design of search systems, *including trail recommendation systems that display trails on search result pages.* (emphasis added)
If your topic map client has search logs for internal resources, don’t neglect those as part of your topic map construction process. For identification of important subjects and navigation links between subjects.
This was the best paper for SIGIR 2010.