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  1. Hagen, Matthias and (Ed.)
    Readability is a core component of information retrieval (IR) tools as the complexity of a resource directly affects its relevance: a resource is only of use if the user can comprehend it. Even so, the link between readability and IR is often overlooked. As a step towards advancing knowledge on the influence of readability on IR, we focus on Web search for children. We explore how traditional formulas–which are simple, efficient, and portable–fare when applied to estimating the readability of Web resources for children written in English. We then present a formula well-suited for readability estimation of child-friendly Web resources.more »Lastly, we empirically show that readability can sway children’s information access. Outcomes from this work reveal that: (i) for Web resources targeting children, a simple formula suffices as long as it considers contemporary terminology and audience requirements, and (ii) instead of turning to Flesch-Kincaid–a popular formula–the use of the “right” formula can shape Web search tools to best serve children. The work we present herein builds on three pillars: Audience, Application, and Expertise. It serves as a blueprint to place readability estimation methods that best apply to and inform IR applications serving varied audiences.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Music is an important part of childhood development, with online music listening platforms being a significant channel by which children consume music. Children’s offline music listening behavior has been heavily researched, yet relatively few studies explore how their behavior manifests online. In this paper, we use data from LastFM 1 Billion and the Spotify API to explore online music listening behavior of children, ages 6–17, using education levels as lenses for our analysis. Understanding the music listening behavior of children can be used to inform the future design of recommender systems.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 20, 2022
  3. In this paper, we present BiGBERT, a deep learning model that simultaneously examines URLs and snippets from web resources to determine their alignment with children's educational standards. Preliminary results inferred from ablation studies and comparison with baselines and state-of-the-art counterparts, reveal that leveraging domain knowledge to learn domain-aligned contextual nuances from limited input data leads to improved identification of educational web resources.
  4. Past and current research has typically focused on ensuring that search technology for the classroom serves children. In this paper, we argue for the need to broaden the research focus to include teachers and how search technology can aid them. In particular, we share how furnishing a behind-the-scenes portal for teachers can empower them by providing a window into the spelling, writing, and concept connection skills of their students.
  5. In this paper, we take a step towards understanding how to design search engine results pages (SERP) that encourage children’s engagement as they seek for online resources. For this, we conducted a participatory design session to enable us to elicit children’s preferences and determine what children (ages 6–12) find lacking in more traditional SERP. We learned that children want more dynamic means of navigating results and additional ways to interact with results via icons. We use these findings to inform the design of a new SERP interface, which we denoted CHIRP. To gauge the type of engagement that a SERPmore »incorporating interactive elements–CHIRP–can foster among children, we conducted a user study at a public school. Analysis of children’s interactions with CHIRP, in addition to responses to a post-task survey, reveals that adding additional interaction points results in a SERP interface that children prefer, but one that does not necessarily change engagement levels through clicks or time spent on SERP.« less