A Knowledge-Based Approach to Organizing Retrieved Documents

Wanda Pratt, University of California, Irvine; Marti A. Hearst, University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence M. Fagan, Stanford University

When people use computer-based tools to find answers to general questions, they often are faced with a daunting list of search results or hits returned by the search engine. Many search tools address this problem by helping users to make their searches more specific. However, when dozens or hundreds of documents are relevant to their question, users need tools that help them to explore and to understand their search results, rather than ones that eliminate a portion of those results. In this paper, we present DynaCat, a tool that dynamically categorizes search results into a hierarchical organization by using knowledge of important kinds of queries and a model of the domain terminology. Results from our evaluation show that DynaCat helps users find answers to those important types of questions more quickly and easily than when they use a relevance-ranking system or a clustering system.

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