Information Foraging Theory as a Form of Collective Intelligence for Social Search

  • Longo Luca
  • Barrett Stephen
  • Dondio Pierpaolo
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5796)


The World Wide Web is growing in size and with the proliferation of large-scale collaborative computing environments Social search has become increasingly important. The focal point of this recent field is to assign relevance and trustworthiness to web-pages by taking into account the reader’s perspective rather than web-masters’ point of view. Current web-searching technologies tend to rely on explicit human recommendations, in part because it is hard to obtain user’ feedback however these methods are hard to scale. Implicit feedback techniques are a potentially useful alternative. The challenge is in producing implicit web-rankings by reasoning over users’ activity during a web-search but without recourse to explicit human intervention. This paper focuses on a novel Social Search formal model based on Information Foraging Theory, showing a different way to implicitly judge web entities by considering effort expended by users in viewing them. 100 university students were recruited to explicitly evaluate the usefulness of 12 thematic web-sites and an experiment was performed implicitly gathering their web-browsing activity. Correlation indexes were adopted and encouraging results where obtained suggesting the existence of a considerable relationship between explicit feedback and implicit derived judgements. Furthermore, a comparison of the results obtained and the results provided by Google was performed. The proposed nature-inspired approach shows that, by considering the same searching query, Social search to be more effective than the Google Page-Rank Algorithm. This evidence supports the presentation of a novel general schema for a Social search engine generating implicit web-rankings by taking into account the Collective Intelligence emerged from users by reasoning on their behaviour.


Collective Intelligence Implicit Feedback Explicit Feedback Forage Theory Explicit Judgement 
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 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Longo Luca
    • 1
  • Barrett Stephen
    • 1
  • Dondio Pierpaolo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and StatisticsTrinity College DublinIreland

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