Exploratory search is a sensemaking activity that involves information seeking and iterative development of mental model of the domain under exploration. It often begins with a vague and evolving information need that is multidimensional. We designed and developed a web-browser extension to facilitate exploratory web search aiming at transforming the search activity into a meaningful learning activity. The design is based on the proposed multi-threaded model of exploratory search. According to this model, exploratory search is a multi-threaded process as the user has multiple concurrent sub-goals addressing different aspects of her information need. A case study is conducted to evaluate the design and investigate how the proposed model can provide support for sensemaking activities involved in the exploratory web search.
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Thesis advisor: Fisher, Brian
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