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In this paper we describe the results from a case study of the online search behavior of high school students, and the effect of virtual librarian intervention on the quality of the search results. Search log data of students' actions were analyzed, librarians recommended revised search terms, new searches were conducted with these terms, and the difference in results was analyzed. Results showed that the librarians' recommended queries were more focused and produced results of a higher reading level, which was used as a proxy for source quality. The work presented here is a preliminary investigation of how librarian search expertise can improve online search results, and raises questions about how to support online student search that are of interest to both librarians and information science researchers. Possible directions for future research are discussed.
Journal: The Journal of Academic Librarianship - Volume 42, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 2–7