Measuring Query Complexity in Web-Scale Discovery: A Comparison between Two Academic Libraries

Rachael A. Cohen, Angie Thorpe Pusnik


This study reports on the examination of search transaction logs from web-scale discovery tools at two Indiana University campuses. The authors discuss how they gathered search queries from transaction logs, categorized queries according to the Library of Congress Classification schedule, and then examined queries using text analysis tools in order to identify which subjects were being searched and whether users were using advanced search options. The results of this investigation demonstrate how transaction logs may be used to communicate user interactions within discovery services. The findings offer detailed insight into the subjects and skills that teaching faculty and librarians should communicate to improve information literacy instruction. The search queries also uncover information needs that provide direction for collection managers.

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