Enabling Context-Aware Exploratory Search

Search tools provide access to the world’s largest repository of knowledge. However, when exploring vast new areas of information, people often struggle to articulate useful search terms: they have not yet learned domain-specific language that could help them translate their fuzzy goals into concrete queries. Current search tools are optimized to find particular information during a single session with a single user, and they lack access to the rich contextual workflows where information is used. Our project innovates novel computational and interaction techniques that attempt to more tightly integrate information foraging and sensemaking, including (1) recommending queries based on patterns and gaps in notes to help individuals get more familiar with domain specific language, (2) embedding different types of search suggestions within users’ sensemaking schemas, (3) leveraging users’ notes to highlight new information in web search results, and (4) supporting more effective collaboration on exploratory search by coordinating around shared representations. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved on this project, reach out to Srishti Palani.