Query types and search topics of German Web search engine users

Lewandowski, Dirk: Query types and search topics of German Web search engine users. Information Services & Use 26(2006)4, 261-269.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the topics of searches in German Web search engines and the query types used, as well. Based on the query types identified by Broder and the classification of search topics developed by Spink et al., 1500 queries from German search engines Fireball, Seekport and Metager (deduced from log files and live ticker data) are assigned to a topic category and to a query type, respectively. We find that all query types are used to a large extent by our user population. The same holds true for the search topics. A combination of both shows that the distribution of query types within topics areas is uneven. This has implications on the development of more user-centred search engines.