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A task-oriented study on the influencing effects of query-biased summarisation in web searching

White, R.W. and Jose, J. and Ruthven, I. (2003) A task-oriented study on the influencing effects of query-biased summarisation in web searching. Information Processing and Management, 39 (5). pp. 707-733. ISSN 0306-4573

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The aim of the work described in this paper is to evaluate the influencing effects of query-biased summaries in web searching. For this purpose, a summarisation system has been developed, and a summary tailored to the user's query is generated automatically for each document retrieved. The system aims to provide both a better means of assessing document relevance than titles or abstracts typical of many web search result lists. Through visiting each result page at retrieval-time, the system provides the user with an idea of the current page content and thus deals with the dynamic nature of the web.To examine the effectiveness of this approach, a task-oriented, comparative evaluation between four different web retrieval systems was performed; two that use query-biased summarisation, and two that use the standard ranked titles/abstracts approach. The results from the evaluation indicate that query-biased summarisation techniques appear to be more useful and effective in helping users gauge document relevance than the traditional ranked titles/abstracts approach. The same methodology was used to compare the effectiveness of two of the web's major search engines; Alta Vista and Google.