A reporting tool was needed that could indicate the accuracy of search results by tracking the number of clicks required by users to find their desired search results. The application should also capture the number of times other links and like filtering components are clicked. The report should have the ability to display a specific date range. The application is configured to allow multiple interfaces to utilize the service, and can provide statistics per interface or across all interfaces for a consolidated view of search user behavior metrics.

The gTracker tool is used to track and report the statistics associated with searches on the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Search interface and several other search interfaces throughout NASA. The application allows authorized users to view a report of the number of user clicks per search, click totals, and top search terms for a specified date range.

The application provides total number of clicks per search, top five search terms, click totals for various links on the search form, unique user count, top Semaphore terms, and top 500 search items. Selecting a top search term provides the URL, lifetime number of clicks, page ranks, and search terms used to find the URL. The application provides a date range selection by entering Start and End dates, or by date range slide bars. The Admin interface allows authorized users to add, edit, or delete admin accounts.

The application provides a reporting feature that allows the OCIO Web Services Agency Search Services team to assess the usability of the JSC Search and other features.

The long-term vision for this application is integration into a machine learning component so that not only will it allow the search team to monitor user behavior, but also to feed into future relevance of search results and help feed more complex search-based applications and data analysis. The next-step components that the gTracker data will feed are currently being built, and will be agnostic to search engine and gTracker, allowing for integration into other technologies without high migration costs.

This work was done by Kevin Thomson, David Johnson, and Allan Stilwell of Indyne for Johnson Space Center. NASA is seeking partners to further develop this technology through joint cooperative research and development. For more information about this technology and to explore opportunities, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. MSC-25405-1

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This article first appeared in the August, 2017 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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