From query analysis to user information needs: a study of campus map searches

Zoe Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose – Search engines and web applications have evolved to be more tailored toward individual user’s needs, including the individual’s personal preferences and geographic location. By integrating the free Google Maps Application Program Interface with locally stored metadata, the author created an interactive map search for users to locate, and navigate to, destinations on the University of New Mexico (UNM) campus. The purpose of this paper is to identify the characteristics of UNM map search queries, the options and prioritization of the metadata augmentation, and the usefulness and possible improvement of the interface. Design/methodology/approach – Queries, search date/time, and the number of results found were logged and examined. Queries’ search frequency and characteristics were analyzed and categorized. Findings – From November 1, 2012 to September 15, 2013, the author had a total 14,097 visits to the SearchUNM Maps page ( There were total 5,868 searches (41 percent of all the page visits), and out of all the search instances, 2,297 of them (39 percent) did not retrieve any results. By analyzing the failed queries, the author was able to develop a strategy to increase successful searches. Originality/value – Many academic institutions have implemented interactive map searches for users to find locations and navigate on campus. However, to date there is no related research on how users conduct their searches in such a scope. Based on the query analysis, this paper identifies user’s search behavior and discusses the strategies of improving searches results of campus interactive maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-129
Number of pages26
JournalLibrary Hi Tech
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 21 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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