Taking Search to Task

Chirag Shah, Ryen White, Paul Thomas, Bhaskar Mitra, Shawon Sarkar, Nicholas Belkin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The importance of tasks in information retrieval (IR) has been long argued for, addressed in different ways, often ignored, and frequently revisited. For decades, scholars made a case for the role that a user's task plays in how and why that user engages in search and what a search system should do to assist. But for the most part, the IR community has been too focused on query processing and assuming a search task to be a collection of user queries, often ignoring if or how such an assumption addresses the users accomplishing their tasks. With emerging areas of conversational agents and proactive IR, understanding and addressing users' tasks has become more important than ever before. In this paper, we provide various perspectives on where the state-of-the-art is with regard to tasks in IR, what are some of the bottlenecks in deriving and using task information, and how do we go forward from here. In addition to covering relevant literature, the paper provides a synthesis of historical and current perspectives on understanding, extracting, and addressing task-focused search. To ground ongoing and future research in this area, we present a new framing device for tasks using a tree-like structure and various moves on that structure that allow different interpretations and applications. Presented as a combination of synthesis of ideas and past works, proposals for future research, and our perspectives on technical, social, and ethical considerations, this paper is meant to help revitalize the interest and future work in task-based IR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHIIR 2023 - Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages1-13
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9798400700354
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2023
Event8th ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, CHIIR 2023 - Austin, United States
Duration: Mar 19 2023Mar 23 2023

Publication series

NameCHIIR 2023 - Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval

Conference

Conference8th ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, CHIIR 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAustin
Period3/19/233/23/23

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Systems

Keywords

  • Contextual search
  • Proactive search
  • Tasks

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