Browse Prior Art Database

Highlighting Search Term History in Search Results

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000187009D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Sep-01
Document File: 6 page(s) / 93K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method and system which enables creation of integrated visualizations of search results and search history. One key element is the history data structure which maintains recency ranks for the entries it stores. The other key idea is to use this recency ranking is used during visualization to create highlights with intensity by ranking.

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Highlighting Search Term History in Search Results

Overview

Disclosed is a method and system which enables creation of integrated visualizations of search results and search history.

In today's software systems, searching for data and visualizing the search results is a common function. In a typical embodiment, the user specifies some search criteria or search terms and the system returns a list of items which match the given criteria. The search criteria may be a single word, a phrase, a regular expression or a set of name-value pairs. When the results are displayed, many embodiments highlight occurrences of the search criteria, to help the user understand why a certain item may have been matched and included in the result.

By using the search function repeatedly, a series of search criteria is accumulated which in the following will be referred to as search term history or simply search history. Some embodiments store this search history and allow the user to view this history in the form of lists or similar displays and even to have previous searches executed again.

This publication describes, how the latter two functions can be processed so that an integrated visualization can be generated, which contains both the search result and the search history. The general flow is summarized in the following figure:

Figure 1: General Flow

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Typically, the user specifies some search criteria and then submits the search to the software system. This step will not be discussed in any more detail; however, it is important to note that the disclosed method does put any restrictions on the type of search criteria that is used. In the following, the criteria will always be referred to as search term.

In response to the user submitting the request, the system performs the search. This step will also not be discussed in any more detail. The outcome of this step is the search result. The disclosed method does put any restrictions on the type of data in the search result.

After the system has generated the search result, the update history step is executed. This step will be described in more detail in the following. Finally, the search result gets visualized. This step will also be described in more detail below. The most distinctive feature of the visualization step of the disclosed method is that it operates on both the search result and the search term history data, which stems from the previous step.

The Search Term History Data Structure

The search term history is a data structure to store history entries. A history entry is a record-like structure made of at least two fields: (1) search term and (2) recency rank, which is usually referred to as simply recency. The recency rank is a number which can be used to impose an ordering over a set of history entr...