Search sample wordcloud using Voyant toolsSearch radio buttons
I’ve been looking at search logs again to see what impact placing Keyword, Author and Title radio buttons beneath our One stop search box on the home page of the library website has on user search behaviour.  (One stop search is the name we’ve given to EBSCO Discovery Search). one stop search with radio buttons screenshot

The search terms listed in the log file allow us to see the search terms entered in the box and identify whether the Title or Author radio button options were chosen.  For the sample file 12% of the searches were title (TI+) and 10% were author (AU+).  This leaves a large majority of 78% that just left the default setting of Keyword for their search.

There is at least one example where a keyword search for what is likely to be an author’s name is followed up by an author search for that name.  Even though it isn’t a particularly common name you get very different search results from One stop search so that implies to me that there is some real value in having the radio buttons present.

Amongst the search terms are a couple of examples of things where we need to think about how we could best help the user.  There are a couple of examples of university course codes, one of which is looking for a specific unit in the course.  It’s difficult to know what would be of most help here.   It probably isn’t useful for them to see that we might have a copy of the course book in the library here.  Are they on that course?  Might they want a link to that course?  or are they looking for resources relevant to that course/unit?, so show them a list of relevant resources from a reading/resource list.

The other area is where the user looks to be trying to find a database or journal rather than an article.  Using the title radio button seems to be a definite advantage in getting the title shown fairly prominently in the results but it can still be a bit hit and miss, particularly for titles that aren’t particularly unique.

Voyant tools
Voyant tools screenshot
This time I’ve tried a different tool to look at analysing the text for the search terms.  There have been changes to the TAPoRware text analysis tool that I blogged about a while ago and there are some new beta tools such as Voyant tools and particularly Cirrus.  This text analysis tool includes a word cloud tool, used for the picture at the top of this blog post.  It includes an optional (and editable) stop words list to remove them from the word cloud.  There are also a range of tools such as analysing the frequency of words in the text.  To access the tools you click through the words in the word cloud which is a neat approach.  It looks like a nice and useful set of tools.  Information about the tools can be found at http://hermeneuti.ca/

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