Ontology as a Search-Tool: A Study of Real Users’ Query Formulation With and Without Conceptual Support

  • Sari Suomela
  • Jaana Kekäläinen
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3408)


This study examines 16 real users’ use of an ontology as a search tool. The users’ queries constructed with the help of a Concept-based Information Retrieval Interface (CIRI) were compared to queries created independently based on the same search task description. Also the effectiveness of the CIRI queries was compared to the users’ unaided queries. The simulated search task method was used to make the searching situations as close to real as possible. Due to CIRI’s query expansion feature the number of search terms was remarkably higher in ontology queries than in Direct interface queries. The search results were evaluated with generalised precision and generalised relative recall as well as precision based on personal assessments. The Direct interface queries performed better in all methods of comparison.


Search Task Test User Query Expansion Real User Query Formulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sari Suomela
    • 1
  • Jaana Kekäläinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesUniversity of TampereFinland

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