Task Intelligence for Search and Recommendation

Chirag Shah, Ryen W. White

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


While great strides have been made in the field of search and recommendation, there are still challenges and opportunities to address information access issues that involve solving tasks and accomplishing goals for a wide variety of users. Specifically, we lack intelligent systems that can detect not only the request an individual is making (what), but also understand and utilize the intention (why) and strategies (how) while providing information and enabling task completion. Many scholars in the fields of information retrieval, recommender systems, productivity (especially in task management and time management), and artificial intelligence have recognized the importance of extracting and understanding people's tasks and the intentions behind performing those tasks in order to serve them better. However, we are still struggling to support them in task completion, e.g., in search and assistance, and it has been challenging to move beyond single-query or single-turn interactions. The proliferation of intelligent agents has unlocked new modalities for interacting with information, but these agents will need to be able to work understanding current and future contexts and assist users at task level. This book will focus on task intelligence in the context of search and recommendation. Chapter 1 introduces readers to the issues of detecting, understanding, and using task and task-related information in an information episode (with or without active searching). This is followed by presenting several prominent ideas and frameworks about how tasks are conceptualized and represented in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3, the narrative moves to showing how task type relates to user behaviors and search intentions. A task can be explicitly expressed in some cases, such as in a to-do application, but often it is unexpressed. Chapter 4 covers these two scenarios with several related works and case studies. Chapter 5 shows how task knowledge and task models can contribute to addressing emerging retrieval and recommendation problems. Chapter 6 covers evaluation methodologies and metrics for task-based systems, with relevant case studies to demonstrate their uses. Finally, the book concludes in Chapter 7, with ideas for future directions in this important research area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSynthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services
Subtitle of host publicationLecture #73
PublisherMorgan and Claypool Publishers
Number of pages160
StatePublished - Jun 9 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSynthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services
ISSN (Print)1947-945X
ISSN (Electronic)1947-9468

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • evaluation
  • information seeking and retrieval
  • recommendation
  • search
  • task intelligence
  • tasks


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