Building cost-benefit models of information interactions

Azzopardi, Leif; (2017) Building cost-benefit models of information interactions. In: Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval. ACM, NOR, pp. 425-428. ISBN 9781450346771 (

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Modeling how people interact with search interfaces has been of particular interest and importance to the field of Interactive Information Retrieval. Recently, there has been a move to developing formal models of the interaction between the user and the system, whether it be to: (i) run a simulation, (ii) conduct an economic analysis, (iii) measure system performance, or (iv) simply to better understand user interactions and hypothesise about user behaviours. In such models, they consider the costs and the benefits that arise through the interaction with the interface/system and the information surfaced during the course of interaction. In this half day tutorial, we will focus on describing a series of cost-benefit models that have been proposed in the literature and how they have been applied in various scenarios. The tutorial will be structured into two parts. First, we will provide an overview of Decision Theory and Cost-Benefit Analysis techniques, and how they can and have be applied to a variety of Interactive Information Retrieval scenarios. For example, when do facets helps?, under what conditions are query suggestions useful? and is it better to bookmark or re-find? The second part of the tutorial will be dedicated to building cost-benefit models where we will discuss different techniques to build and develop such models. In the practical session, we will also discuss how costs and benefits can be estimated, and how the models can help inform and guide experimentation. During the tutorial participants will be challenged to build cost models for a number of problems (or even bring their own problems to solve).