An analysis of free-text queries for a multi-field web form

Kien Tjin-Kam-Jet, Rudolf Berend Trieschnigg, Djoerd Hiemstra

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We report how users interact with an experimental system that transforms single-field textual input into a multi-field query for an existing travel planner system. The experimental system was made publicly available and we collected over 30,000 queries from almost 12,000 users. From the free-text query log, we examined how users formulated structured information needs into free-text queries. The query log analysis shows that there is great variety in query formulation, over 400 query templates were found that occurred at least 4 times. Furthermore, with over 100 respondents to our questionnaire, we provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence indicating that end-users significantly prefer a single field interface over a multi-field interface when performing structured search.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th Information Interaction in Context Symposium (IIIX 2012)
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1282-0
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Event4th Information Interaction in Context Symposium, IIIX 2012 - Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Duration: 21 Aug 201224 Aug 2012
Conference number: 4

Publication series



Conference4th Information Interaction in Context Symposium, IIIX 2012
Abbreviated titleIIiX 2012
Other21-24 August 2012
Internet address


  • User study
  • Query translation
  • Query log analysis
  • Query reformulation
  • METIS-293294
  • IR-83486
  • EWI-22838

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