Search engines increasingly serve as the prime intermediaries between user and information. Their features have converged to a very streamlined set: a single search box and 10 ‘blue links’. However, in the context of complex tasks involving learning and knowledge construction, the search process is far from straightforward, as various information seeking models have evidenced.
In my thesis, I shed new light on the apparent contradiction of information seeking models describing drastic changes in searchers’ feelings, thoughts and actions, and the limited task support offered by current search systems. I focused on research-based tasks conducted via web archives and online search engines. Through literature reviews, user studies and information retrieval experiments, my thesis aims to rethink the currently dominating search approach, and ultimately arrive at more dynamic support approaches for complex search tasks. The thesis can be downloaded here.