Identifying Task-based Sessions in Search Engine Query Logs

author: Gabriele Tolomei, Department of Computer Science, Ca' Foscari University of Venice
published: Aug. 9, 2011,   recorded: February 2011,   views: 202
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Description

The research challenge addressed in this paper is to devise effective techniques for identifying task-based sessions, i.e. sets of possibly non contiguous queries issued by the user of a Web Search Engine for carrying out a given task. In order to evaluate and compare different approaches, we built, by means of a manual labelling process, a ground-truth where the queries of a given query log have been grouped in tasks. Our analysis of this ground-truth shows that users tend to perform more than one task at the same time, since about 75% of the submitted queries involve a multi-tasking activity. We formally define the Task-based Session Discovery Problem (TSDP) as the problem of best approximating the manually annotated tasks, and we propose several variants of well known clustering algorithms, as well as a novel efficient heuristic algorithm, specifically tuned for solving the TSDP. These algorithms also exploit the collaborative knowledge collected by Wiktionary and Wikipedia for detecting query pairs that are not similar from a lexical content point of view, but actually semantically related. The proposed algorithms have been evaluated on the above ground-truth, and are shown to perform better than state-of-the-art approaches, because they effectively take into account the multi-tasking behavior of users.

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