We are all aware that computer systems log user activity. Exactly what, if anything, is done with these logs is less clear. In this paper, Agosti et al. review log analysis research over the past ten years to trace the state of the art in analyzing information management system logs.
The authors begin by introducing the basic concepts of log analysis and explain their decision to focus on logging from two themes: web search engines and digital library systems. The characteristics of these two themes are described in detail, covering aspects such as cross-lingual queries, query expansion, and suggestion and presentation of query results. The behavior of the two very different user groups involved are discussed: in both cases, the need to recognize the difference between human interaction with systems and that of automatic robot “crawlers” is explained.
The discussion covers several research endeavors seeking access to logs for analysis. Computer science researchers looking to analyze information retrieval algorithms and advertisers seeking to understand users’ navigation of their web pages are just some of the aspects covered. Future trends in log analysis research are deliberated, and the authors conclude with a summary of their paper and thorough references.
A useful summary of journal papers and major conferences that delivers a good synopsis of the state of the art in the field of information management system log analysis.