Journal article

Understanding collaborative search for places of interest


Finding a place of interest (e.g., a restaurant, hotel, or attraction) is often related to a group information need, however, the actual multiparty collaboration in such searches has not been explored, and little is known about its significance and related practices. We surveyed 100 computer science students and found that 94% (of respondents) searched for places online; 87% had done so as part of a group. Search for place by multiple active participants was experienced by 78%, with group sizes typically being 2 or 3. Search occurred in a range of settings with both desktop PCs and mobile devices. Difficulties were reported with coordinating tasks, sharing results, and making decisions. The results show that finding a place of interest is a quite different group-based search than other multiparty information-seeking activities. The results suggest that local search systems, their interfaces and the devices that access them can be made more usable for collaborative search if they include support for coordination, sharing of results, and decision making.

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