Relevance Assessment Tool (RAT)

The goal of the Relevance Assessment Tool (RAT) is to support extensive research using data from commercial search engines. The software is a modular web-based software with which data from search engines can be recorded automatically, studies with questions and scales can be flexibly designed and the information objects can be evaluated by jurors on the basis of the questions. Due to the modularity the individual components can be used for a multitude of studies relating to web content. Thus, the software can also be used for qualitative content analyses or, through automated scraping, can provide a large database of web documents that can be analysed quantitatively in empirical studies.


Lewandowski, D., & Sünkler, S. (2019). Das Relevance Assessment Tool. Eine modulare Software zur Unterstützung bei der Durchführung vielfältiger Studien mit Suchmaschinen. In: Information – Wissenschaft & Praxis 70 (1), 46-56. https://doi.org/10.1515/iwp-2019-0007

Lewandowski, Dirk; Sünkler, Sebastian: Relevance Assessment Tool: Ein Werkzeug zum Design von Retrievaltests sowie zur weitgehend automatisierten Erfassung, Aufbereitung und Auswertung der Daten. In: Proceedings der 2. DGI-Konferenz: Social Media und Web Science – Das Web als Lebensraum. Frankfurt am Main: DGI, 2012, S. 237-249.

Lewandowski, D.; Sünkler, S.: Designing search engine retrieval effectiveness tests with RAT. Information Services & Use 33(1), 53-59, 2013. https://doi.org/10.3233/ISU-130691

Research that used RAT to collect and analyse data (selected)

Sünkler, S.; Lewandowski, D.: Does it matter which search engine is used? A user study using post-task relevance judgments. In: Proceedings of the 80th Annual Meeting of the Association of Information Science and Technology, Crystal City, VA, USA. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.2017.14505401044

Schaer, P.; Mayr, P.; Sünkler, S.; Lewandowski, D.: How Relevant is the Long Tail? A Relevance Assessment Study on Million Short. In: N. Fuhr et al. (eds.): Experimental IR Meets Multilinguality, Multimodality, and Interaction (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 9822), pp. 227-233. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44564-9_20

Behnert, C.: LibRank: New Approaches for Relevance Ranking in Library Information Systems. In: Pehar, F.; Schlögl, C.; Wolff, C. (eds.): Re:inventing Information Science in the Networked Society. Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Information Science (ISI 2015). Glückstadt: Verlag Werner Hülsbusch, 2015. S. 570-572

Lewandowski, D.: Evaluating the retrieval effectiveness of web search engines using a representative query sample. In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) Vol. 66 (2015) Nr. 9, p. 1763 – 1775. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23304

Lewandowski, D.: Verwendung von Skalenbewertungen in der Evaluierung von Web-Suchmaschinen. In: Hobohm, H.-C. (Hrsg.): Informationswissenschaft zwischen virtueller Infrastruktur und materiellen Lebenswelten. Proceedings des 13. Internationalen Symposiums für Informationswissenschaft (ISI 2013). Boizenburg: Verlag Werner Hülsbusch, 2013. S. 339-348.