The purpose of this study is to investigate image search query reformulation patterns in relation to image attribute categories. A total of 592 sessions and 2,445 queries from the Excite Web search engine log data were analyzed by utilizing Batley’s visual information types and two facets and seven sub-facets of query reformulation patterns. The results of this study are organized with two folds: query reformulation and categorical transition. As the most dominant categories of queries are specific and general/nameable, this tendency stays over various search stages. From the perspective of reformulation patterns, while the Parallel movement is the most dominant, there are slight differences depending on initial or preceding query categories. In examining categorical transitions, it was found that 60-80% of search queries were reformulated within the same categories of image attributes. These findings may be applied to practice and implementation of image retrieval systems in terms of assisting users’ query term selection and effective thesauri development.
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