Identifying key elements of search results for document selection in the digital age: An observational study

Yasuko Hagiwara, Emi Ishita, Emiko Mizutani, Kana Fukushima, Yukiko Watanabe, Yoichi Tomiura

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Academic database systems are vitally important tools for enabling researchers to find relevant, useful articles. Identifying how researchers select documents from search results is an extremely useful measure for improving the functions or interfaces of academic retrieval systems. This study aims to reveal which elements are checked, and in what order, when researchers select from among search results. It consists of two steps: an observational study of search sessions performed by researchers who volunteered, and a questionnaire to confirm whether extracted elements and patterns are used. This article reports findings from the observational study and introduces questions we developed based on the study. In the observational study we obtained data on nine participants who were asked to search for documents using information retrieval systems. The search sessions were recorded using a voice recorder and by capturing screen images. The participants were also asked to state which elements they checked in selecting documents, along with the reasons for their selections. Three patterns of order of checking were found. In pattern 1, seven researchers used titles and abstracts as the primary elements. In pattern 2, the others used titles and then accessed the full text before making a decision on their selection. In pattern 3, one participant searched for images and accessed the full text from the link in those pictures. We also found participants used novel elements for selecting. We subsequently developed items for a questionnaire reflecting the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Libraries
Subtitle of host publicationData, Information, and Knowledge for Digital Lives - 19th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries, ICADL 2017, Proceedings
EditorsSally Jo Cunningham, Songphan Choemprayong, Fabio Crestani
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9783319702315
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event19th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries, ICADL 2017 - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: Nov 13 2017Nov 15 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10647 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other19th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries, ICADL 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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