Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Lucchese C., Orlando S., Perego R., Silvestri F., Tolomei G. Discovering tasks from search engine query logs. In: ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS), vol. 31 (3) pp. 1 - 43. ACM, 2013.
Although Web search engines still answer user queries with lists of ten blue links to webpages, people are increasingly issuing queries to accomplish their daily tasks (e.g., finding a recipe, booking a flight, reading online news, etc.). In this work, we propose a two-step methodology for discovering tasks that users try to perform through search engines. First, we identify user tasks from individual user sessions stored in search engine query logs. In our vision, a user task is a set of possibly noncontiguous queries (within a user search session), which refer to the same need. Second, we discover collective tasks by aggregating similar user tasks, possibly performed by distinct users. To discover user tasks, we propose query similarity functions based on unsupervised and supervised learning approaches. We present a set of query clustering methods that exploit these functions in order to detect user tasks. All the proposed solutions were evaluated on a manually-built ground truth, and two of them performed better than state-of-the-art approaches. To detect collective tasks, we propose four methods that cluster previously discovered user tasks, which in turn are represented by the bag-of-words extracted from their composing queries. These solutions were also evaluated on another manually-built ground truth.
URL: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2493175.2493179
DOI: 10.1145/2493175.2493179
Subject Query log mining
H.3.3 Information Search and Retrieval

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