User models as revealed in web-based research services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The user-centered approach to information retrieval emphasizes the importance of a user model in determining what information will be most useful to a particular user, given their context. Mediated search provides an opportunity to elaborate on this idea, as an intermediary's elicitations reveal what aspects of the user model they think are worth inquiring about. However, empirical evidence is divided over whether intermediaries actually work to develop a broadly conceived user model. Our research revisits the issue in a web research services setting, whose characteristics are expected to result in more thorough user modeling on the part of intermediaries. Our empirical study confirms that intermediaries engage in rich user modeling. While intermediaries behave differently across settings, our interpretation is that the underlying user model characteristics that intermediaries inquire about in our setting are applicable to other settings as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-599
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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