SearchPanel: Framing Complex Search Needs

Abstract

People often use more than one query when searching for information. They revisit search results to re-find information and build an understanding of their search need through iterative explorations of query formulation. These tasks are not well-supported by search interfaces and web browsers. We designed and built SearchPanel, a Chrome browser extension that helps people manage their ongoing information seeking. This extension combines document and process metadata into an interactive representation of the retrieved documents that can be used for sense-making, navigation, and re-finding documents. In a real-world deployment spanning over two months, results show that SearchPanel appears to have been primarily used for complex information needs, in search sessions with long durations and high numbers of queries. The process metadata features in SearchPanel seem to be of particular importance when working on complex information needs.