Comparing Methods for Finding Search Sessions on a Specified Topic: A Double Case Study

Tessel Bogaard, Aysenur Bilgin, Jan Wielemaker, Laura Hollink, C R Ribbens, Jacco van Ossenbruggen

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeContribution to conference proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Users searching for different topics in a collection may show distinct search patterns. To analyze search behavior of users searching for a specific topic, we need to retrieve the sessions containing this topic. In this paper, we compare different topic representations and approaches to find topic-specific sessions. We conduct our research in a double case study of two topics, World War II and feminism, using search logs of a historical newspaper collection. We evaluate the results using manually created ground truths of over 600 sessions per topic. The two case studies show similar results: The query-based methods yield high precision, at the expense of recall. The document-based methods find more sessions, at the expense of precision. In both approaches, precision improves significantly by manually curating the topic representations. This study demonstrates how different methods to find sessions containing specific topics can be applied by digital humanities scholars and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLinking Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries
Subtitle of host publication25th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, TPDL 2021, Virtual Event, September 13–17, 2021, Proceedings
EditorsGerd Berget, Mark Michael Hall, Daniel Brenn, Sanna Kumpulainen
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-86324-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-86323-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


  • Digital libraries
  • User interests
  • Log analysis
  • Word embeddings
  • Historical Topics
  • Wikipedia; Popular historical culture

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