Indexing Information retrieval Precision of Search Results Search Engines Title Search Web Search
Institute of Information Theories and Applications FOI ITHEA
Search engines sometimes apply the search on the full text of documents or web-pages; but
sometimes they can apply the search on selected parts of the documents only, e.g. their titles. Full-text search
may consume a lot of computing resources and time. It may be possible to save resources by applying the search
on the titles of documents only, assuming that a title of a document provides a concise representation of its
content. We tested this assumption using Google search engine. We ran search queries that have been defined
by users, distinguishing between two types of queries/users: queries of users who are familiar with the area of the
search, and queries of users who are not familiar with the area of the search. We found that searches which use
titles provide similar and sometimes even (slightly) better results compared to searches which use the full-text.
These results hold for both types of queries/users. Moreover, we found an advantage in title-search when
searching in unfamiliar areas because the general terms used in queries in unfamiliar areas match better with
general terms which tend to be used in document titles.