Understanding Temporal Query Dynamics

Anagha Kulkarni, Jaime Teevan, Krysta M. Svore, and Susan T. Dumais


Web search is strongly influenced by time. The queries people issue change over time, with some queries occasionally spiking in popularity (e.g., earthquake) and others remaining relatively constant (e.g., youtube). Likewise, the documents indexed by a search engine change, with some documents always being about a particular query (e.g., the Wikipedia page on earthquakes is about the query earthquake) and others being about the query only at a particular point in time (e.g., the New York Times is only about earthquakes following a major seismic activity). The relationship between documents and queries can also change as people’s intent changes (e.g., people sought different content for the query earthquake before the Haitian earthquake than they did after). In this paper, we explore how queries, their associated documents, and the query intent change over the course of 10 weeks by analyzing query log data, a daily Web crawl, and periodic human relevance judgments. We identify several interesting features by which changes to query popularity can be classified, and show that presence of these features, when accompanied by changes in result content, can be a good indicator of change in query intent.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inWeb Search and Data Mining (WSDM) 2011
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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