JITIR Agent to support Text Creation, based on the Mix Initiative User Interface Design

Teachers: 
Denis Lalanne
Student: 
Lorena Recalde
Project status: 
Finished
Year: 
2014

Information is seen as a valuable resource, but the quality and quantity of information retrieved at the moment of web information searching depend on both: the user’s query and the search engine’s features. This master thesis presents a just in time information retrieval (JITIR) agent that is based on the Google Search API to implement a web application. The thesis consists of the implementation and evaluation of the Pandora Editor1 which has as part of its main functionality an information search and retrieval agent. The motivation is to provide a new interaction paradigm to support documents writing. The interaction is oriented to enhance the text creation activity by having automated query formulation and reducing the user’s memory overload. The writer can use those queries to get relevant web results from Google search and improve his document content and quality.

For the project, three search scopes were defined: document level, thematic segments level and noun phrases level. For every scope, there is one methodology to extract words and phrases from the user’s current text. After being evaluated, those words will become into search queries. Once having the queries, the agent interacts with the Google Search API to retrieve web information that may be useful for the writer. These search levels will allow the user to choose the best web and images results provided by Google.

The application was tested following a controlled evaluation. The goal was to show if the new interaction paradigm implemented in the present project and the queries extracted thanks to the JITIR agent let the writers be more efficient than by formulating their own explicit queries and using a common text editor plus Google running in a browser. The quantitative results did not present a significant difference in terms of users efficiency while they were working with the Pandora Editor or a common editor plus a search engine. The tests applied showed that they were able to handle more information from the web by using the Pandora Editor though. The qualitative measures presented good results showing that the users found the Pandora Editor easier and more useful at the moment of creating documents or retrieving images compared with a common text editor.