Information task switching and multitasking Web search

Amanda Spink, Minsoo Park, Bernard J. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A user's single session with a Web search engine may consist of seeking information on single or multiple topics. Some Web search sessions consist of three queries of one word or more. We present findings from a study of three or more-query search sessions on the Alta Vista Web search engines. We examine the degree of multitasking search and information task switching by these Web searchers. A sample of three or more query sessions were filtered from Alta Vista transaction logs from 2002 and qualitatively analyzed. Findings include: (1) 91.3% of three or more query sessions contained multiple topics, (2) multitasking sessions contained frequent topic changes, and (3) there are a broad variety of search topics in multitasking search sessions. Multitasking is a key element within Web search. The implications of our findings for Web design and further research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting
StatePublished - Nov 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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