#SLA2016 – EMERGING IDEAS: “Advanced Search” Is an Oxymoron

Sunday, June 12, 03:30pm-05:00pm: EMERGING IDEAS: “Advanced Search” Is an Oxymoron
Location: Convention Center, Room 201-A
Description: Observing advanced subject domain researchers is both sobering and enlightening. They often think very differently from the information professionals who curate the collections, craft the metadata, index or tag the content, and design the user interfaces for search applications. Much of what we do is invisible to end-users. But our common goal is to make content findable so that people can explore, learn and ask their questions. Library databases and information products offer a dizzying array of options and features. Often people don’t use the tools in the ways we intend, especially the ubiquitous advanced search form. Search strategies from the open web are changing the way that even experts find information. Through user research, testing, and analytics we can reveal what’s working, what’s not, and if new patterns of use are emerging. This presentation will provide some insights into the ways that subject domain experts in an academic setting approach their tasks during different phases of their research.


Very complicated to provide advanced search.
User experience is important.
Not just wire frame.
Types: academic platforms –
Gen req-er student freshman
Domain learner
Apprentice – self motivated
Seasoned scholars
Info pro – librarians

User’s expect google type experience.
Bing no advanced search

UX Methods:
Contextual inquiry —
Want smarter search tools.
Afraid of limiting too soon.
Filters work to narrow results.

Opt in survey —
Using advanced search as simple search


Heat maps

Not using advanced tools.
Users do not understand search form.

Move from limiters to filters.
Use search results as context for using filters.