First Name: Paul
Surname: Cleverley
Position: Associate Lecturer

> Read Paul's PhD Research Blog

> View Paul's Presentations on SlideShare

News Article -  Making your own luck: Serendipity in the search user interface. Paul Cleverley and Simon Burnett (Dec 2014) 

Article - Emergence of the Corporate Brain


TitleExploratory Information Searching in the Enterprise: A Study of User Satisfaction and Task Performance.

Abstract: No prior research has been identified that investigates the causal factors for workplace exploratory search task performance. The impact of user, task, and environmental factors on user satisfaction and task performance was investigated through a mixed methods study with 26 experienced information professionals using enterprise search in an oil and gas enterprise. Some participants found 75% of high-value items, others found none, with an average of 27%. No association was found between self-reported search expertise and task performance, with a tendency for many participants to overestimate their search expertise. Successful searchers may have more accurate mental models of both search systems and the information space. Organizations may not have effective exploratory search task performance feedback loops, a lack of learning. This may be caused by management bias towards technology, not capability, a lack of systems thinking. Furthermore, organizations may not “know” they “don't know” their true level of search expertise, a lack of knowing. A metamodel is presented identifying the causal factors for workplace exploratory search task performance. Semistructured qualitative interviews with search staff from the defense, pharmaceutical, and aerospace sectors indicates the potential transferability of the finding that organizations may not know their search expertise levels.

Journal: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST)

Link to PDF

Title: The best of both worlds: Highlighting the synergies of combining knowledge modelling and automated techniques to improve information search and discovery in oil and gas exploration.

Conference: Accepted by the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) 2015 conference, July London.

Abstract: Research suggests organizations across all sectors waste a significant amount of time looking for information and often fail to leverage the information they have in order to generate value and reduce risk. In response, many organizations have deployed some form of enterprise search to improve the ‘findability’ of information. Debates persist as to whether thesauri and manual indexing or automated machine learning techniques should be used to enhance discovery of information. In addition, the extent to which a Knowledge Organization System (KOS) enhances discoveries or indeed blinds us to new ones remains a moot point. Drawing on prior empirical and theoretical research, an interdisciplinary theoretical model is presented which aims to overcome the shortcomings of each approach. This synergistic model could help re-conceptualize the ‘manual’ versus ‘automatic’ debate in many enterprises, accommodating a broader range of industry needs. This may enable enterprises to develop more effective information and knowledge management strategies and ease the tension between what is often perceived as mutually exclusive competing approaches. Knowledge Organization (KO) itself may have evolved to a point where it has become difficult to distinguish it as a discrete discipline, but nevertheless plays a crucial role in a new interdisciplinary field.


Title: Creating sparks: comparing search results using discriminatory search term word co-occurrence to facilitate serendipity in the enterprise.

Authors: Paul Hugh Cleverley and Simon Burnett

Conference/Journal: Accepted at the International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM) Antalya, Turkey November 2014.

Submitted to the Journal of Information and Knowledge Management (JIKM) October 2014

Abstract: Categories or tags that appear in faceted search interfaces which are representative of an information item, rarely convey unexpected or non-obvious associated concepts buried within search results. No prior research has been identified which assesses the usefulness of discriminative search term word co-occurrence to generate facets to act as catalysts to facilitate insightful and serendipitous encounters during exploratory search. In this study, fifty three scientists from two organizations interacted with semi-interactive stimuli, 74% expressing a large/moderate desire to use such techniques within their workplace. Preferences were shown for certain algorithms and colour coding. Insightful and serendipitous encounters were identified. These techniques appear to offer a significant improvement over existing approaches used within the study organizations, providing further evidence that insightful and serendipitous encounters can be facilitated in the search user interface. This research has implications for organizational learning, knowledge discovery and exploratory search interface design.


Title: Retrieving Haystacks: a data driven information needs model for faceted search

Authors: Paul Hugh Cleverley and Simon Burnett

Journal: Journal of Information Science (JIS) Published Online, November 2014


Abstract: The research aim was to develop an understanding of information need characteristics for word co-occurrence-based search result filters (facets). No prior research has been identified into what enterprise searchers may find useful for exploratory search and why. Various word co-occurrence techniques were applied to results from sample queries performed on industry membership content. The results were used in an international survey of 54 practising petroleum engineers from 32 organizations. Subject familiarity, job role, personality and query specificity are possible causes for survey response variation. An information needs model is presented: Broad, Rich, Intriguing, Descriptive, General, Expert and Situational (BRIDGES). This may help professionals to more effectively meet their information needs and stimulate new needs, improving a system’s ability to facilitate serendipity. This research has implications for faceted search in enterprise search and digital library deployments.

Thesis Title

Development of a Root Cause Model for Sub-optimal Information Seeking Experiences in the Enterprise: an Upstream Oil and Gas Industry Case Study. 


Surveys indicate business professionals spend 23% of their time searching for information and approximately half of that time may be unsatisfactory.

The proposal aim is to develop a detailed understanding of the root causes for sub-optimal information seeking experiences within an enterprise, acknowledging a gap in the literature.

The term sub-optimal is chosen to cover conscious information seeking dissatisfaction, missed opportunities (including serendipitous information discovery) and barriers which impede information seeking itself.

Enterprise Search is a terminology typically associated with a single technology system that enables professionals to search unstructured information that may be located anywhere in the Enterprise. The research proposal takes a more holistic and unified approach, introducing the concept “Information Seeking in the Enterprise”. This recognizes the need for a business professional to seek a variety of information contained in many forms through many different means, inside and outside the enterprise.

The oil and gas industry displays many characteristics of other industries. A detailed understanding of the causes for sub-optimal information seeking within an enterprise will be of value to interested parties seeking to improve current business practices in a multitude of industry sectors.

Conferences papers

Conference paper

Cleverley, P.H. and Burnett, S. , 2015. The best of both worlds: highlighting the synergies of combining knowledge modelling and automated techniques to improve information search and discovery in oil and gas exploration. Paper presented at Knowledge Organization – making a difference. The impact of knowledge organization on society, scholarship and progress. ISKO UK biennial conference, 13 – 14 July 2015, London. 

Enterprise Search Europe (London, April 29th 2014)

Principal Supervisor - Dr Simon Burnett