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Keywords:

  • information seeking;
  • user models;
  • human computer interaction

Multisession successive information searches are common but little research has focused on quantitative analysis. This article enhances our understanding of successive information searches by employing an experimental method to observe whether and how the behavioral characteristics of searchers statistically significantly changed over sessions. It focuses on a specific type of successive search called transmuting successive searches, in which searchers learn about and gradually refine their information problems during the course of the information search. The results show that searchers' behavioral characteristics indeed exhibit different patterns in different sessions. The identification of the behavioral characteristics can help information retrieval systems to detect stages or sessions of the information search process. The findings also help validate a theoretical framework to explain successive searches and suggest system requirements for supporting the associated search behavior. The study is one of the first to not only test for statistical significance among research propositions concerning successive searches but to also apply the research principles of implicit relevance feedback to successive searches.