Contextualised Stratagem Browsing in Digital Libraries

Exploratory browsing is an essential part of the information-seeking process, which is often performed with the intent to better define an information need.
Especially, Digital Libraries facilitate exploratory browsing by exploiting the inherent structure contained in the descriptive metadata of academic literature.
Based on shared characteristics, such as keywords, classifications, or the journal in which an academic publication was published, users are enabled to explore and discover new and potentially relevant content. This type of exploration is referred to as stratagem browsing.

Although many modern Digital Libraries allow for stratagem browsing, these types of searches are under-investigated. To this day, it remains unclear in which situations stratagem browsing can support the fulfilment of users’ information needs.
Furthermore, many existing stratagem browsing implementations are rather out-of-the-box and do not include more advanced methods, such as contextualisation.

In order to better support users engaged in these types of searches, this thesis proposes a re-design towards contextualised stratagem browsing in Digital Libraries.
By employing the users' interaction context, a re-ranking of stratagem browsing results can be performed which is tailored towards the users' information needs.
The applicability of this contextualisation is investigated in a series of three studies: (i) an online survey, (ii) a user study, (iii) a transaction log study.

Following the principles of Interactive Information Retrieval, the online survey and the user study are designed to gain a thorough understanding of stratagem browsing.
The online survey aims to assess the usefulness of stratagem browsing during academic searches. The user study is designed to observe the participants information-seeking behaviour with respect to the operationalisation of stratagem browsing.
Subsequently, the large-scale transaction log study investigates the effectiveness of contextualisation for stratagem browsing.
To this end, two contextualised stratagem browsing variants are developed that employ the users' interaction context for a re-ranking of search results:
(1) one variant bases on document similarity, and
(2) one variant bases on query expansion.
The effectiveness of these two methods is evaluated using the real-life Digital Library Sowiport. An A/B/C-testing is designed to compare the contextual approaches against Sowiport's non-contextual baseline.
Amongst others, the rank of the first clicked document in a result list, denoted as the mean first relevant (MFR), and the click-through rate are employed to determine the effectiveness of contextualised stratagem browsing.

The results of this experiment show that both contextualised browsing variants significantly outperform the non-contextualised baseline in terms of MFR and acquire a considerably higher click-through rate.


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