Wilson, Max L.
Using Twitter to Assess Information Needs: Early Results.
In, HCIR'09, Washington DC,
Information needs tell us why search terms are used, helping to disambiguate, for example, what exactly people are looking for with queries such as ‘Orange’ or ‘Java’. It is hard to understand goals and motivations, however, from the keywords entered into search engines alone. This paper discusses the pilot analysis of 180,000 tweets, containing search-related terms, to try and understand how people describe their own needs and goals. The early analysis shows that some terms academically associated with searching behaviours were infrequently used by twitter users, and that the use of terminology varied depending on the subject of search. The results also show that specific topics of searching tasks can be identified directly within tweets. Future analysis of the still on-going 5-month study will constitute more formal text analytical methods and try to build a corpus of real search tasks.
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