What could search engine designers learn from the reference interview?

Webcasts

Query specifications by typical users are notoriously imprecise. And for many searches it is impossible to expect the user to fully and accurately specify what they are interested in. Because they do not know what is available for the asking, users cannot be expected to specify exactly what they want. Reference librarians have been developing a craft that, among other things, deals with this incomplete specification of desired results. What can search engine designers learn from prior art to improve query results?

Query specifications by typical users are notoriously imprecise. And for many searches it is impossible to expect the user to fully and accurately specify what they are interested in. Because they do not know what is available for the asking, users cannot be expected to specify exactly what they want. Reference librarians have been developing a craft that, among other things, deals with this incomplete specification of desired results. What can search engine designers learn from prior art to improve query results? John Dove, CEO of Credo Reference, will contrast Google’s vision of the future with one where reference librarians may be called upon to expertly modify online query systems in order to significantly improve query results for their users.