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Keywords:

  • search engines;
  • domain knowledge;
  • search terms

Modern search engines have been moving away from simplistic interfaces that aimed at satisfying a user's need with a single-shot query. Interactive features are now integral parts of web search engines. However, generating good query modification suggestions remains a challenging issue. Query log analysis is one of the major strands of work in this direction. Although much research has been performed on query logs collected on the web as a whole, query log analysis to enhance search on smaller and more focused collections has attracted less attention, despite its increasing practical importance. In this article, we report on a systematic study of different query modification methods applied to a substantial query log collected on a local website that already uses an interactive search engine. We conducted experiments in which we asked users to assess the relevance of potential query modification suggestions that have been constructed using a range of log analysis methods and different baseline approaches. The experimental results demonstrate the usefulness of log analysis to extract query modification suggestions. Furthermore, our experiments demonstrate that a more fine-grained approach than grouping search requests into sessions allows for extraction of better refinement terms from query log files.