Remove CDI constant expansion of results
PCI results respect that a user knows what they want, but help with expansion when necessary, such as by stemming when there are very few results returned by the exact query. A user has autonomy also to target their results with techniques such as quotation marks, Boolean operators, and Advanced Search.
In CDI, expansion is constant, by term inflection applied to all searches, as well as higher recall in general by design. This cannot be prevented by features such as Boolean operators, quotation marks or Advanced Search, and is illogical in conjunction with other features like 'Did you mean'.
Note: It is recognized that these may represent different underlying mechanisms, but it is the user outcome which is key.
Ex Libris states that CDI behaviour "does not affect precision" because of Verbatim Match Boost, which will rank more highly the exact search query, but they have designed this as also meaning "near verbatim", completely undermining this concept.
Use case: If a user searches for ATLA, then they expect only results for ATLA and not atlas. CDI returns 7 of 10 first page results which are clearly returned on the basis of atlas by term highlighting, even at No.1, and yet also offers a "Did you mean: atlas", which barely changes the results when clicked.
Use case: If a user searches for a DOI, then they expect only that specific resource. CDI returns dozens of results with often no indication by term highlighting or snippets to explain why. This is discovered only after a timeconsuming check on the full text to be because the DOI is in the Reference List. There is no clear pathway to the actually correct known item, and this is not consistently fixed just by ranking changes. For example, if we do not hold that article in full text, the user sees dozens of results, none of which are correct, instead of the expected pathway of the Zero results message, using the expansion checkbox, and then leveraging the metadata in the 'No full-text' citation to prefill an ILL form.
This is the opposite of precision.
The design should centre the user and the needs they directly express when entering their search query, allowing the choice to both target their search by the techniques above, as well as giving the option of expanding their search, which is even more important given the larger CDI index.
One option could be returning the expected targeted results matching the user query, and then offering a suggestion similar to a clickable Did you mean or Controlled Vocabulary features, such as: "Results also referencing [query]"
Katharina Wolkwitz commented
It would be nice to be able to answer the "Did you mean: [xxx]"-question?" with a simple "no", which results in a search for just what the user entered in the search-field.
Stemming and synonyms are all very nice and possible helpful, but this were ridiculus if it were not so demeaning and invasive. It takes the whole descision of what to search out of the users hands!
The user should always have the choice to state "I am sure that I meant exactly what I typed in that field!"
Knut A Bøckman commented
Excellent idea, and convincingly argued. Thanks for posting; there went my last votes (only 2, unfortunately)
François Renaville commented
Thanks for submitting this idea, Stacey. We have received complains from staff and patrons about the constant expansion.