Effectiveness of Title-Search vs. Full-Text Search in the Web

Peretz Shoval, Tsvi Kuflik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)151-157
JournalInformation Theories and Applications
StatePublished - 2004


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