Faceted Search: The Book



We live in an information age that requires us, more than ever, to represent, access, and use information. Over the last several decades, we have developed a modern science and technology for information retrieval, relentlessly pursuing the vision of a “memex” that Vannevar Bush proposed in his seminal article, “As We May Think”.

Faceted search plays a key role in this program. Faceted search addresses weaknesses of conventional search approaches and has emerged as a foundation for interactive information retrieval. User studies demonstrate that faceted search provides more effective information seeking support to users than best-first search. Indeed, faceted search has become increasingly prevalent in online information access systems, particularly for ecommerce and site search.

In this lecture, we explore the history, theory, and practice of faceted search. While we cannot hope to be exhaustive, our hope is to provide sufficient depth and breadth to offer a useful resource to both researchers and practitioners. Because faceted search is an area of interest to computer scientists, information scientists, interface designers, and usability researchers, we do not assume that the reader is a specialist in any of these fields. Rather, we offer a self-contained treatment of the topic, with an extensive bibliography for those who would like to pursue particular aspects in more depth.


  • Nadav Har’El, Researcher at IBM’s Haifa Research Laboratory
    “a fantastic start of a book about faceted search”

  • Gregor Erbach, IT Expert at the Library of the European Parliament
    “great as a first introduction to the field”

  • Sol Lederman, Federated Search Blog
    “provides a good education to readers”

  • Peter Morville, Author of Ambient Findability and Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
    “the definitive book on faceted search, suitable for researchers and practitioners alike

Order at Amazon or Barnes & Noble today! Read a free chapter at Jared Spool’s UIE site.

10 replies on “Faceted Search: The Book”

Out of curiousity, how’d you choose the publisher? I’m particularly curious about whether you considered self publishing with Lulu or CreateSpace, and if so, why you rejected that option.

FWIW, captcha wasn’t working or I’m going blind. Does it time out?


I served as a reviewer for the Ryen White and Resa Roth’s book on Exploratory Search, and then asked Gary Marchionini what was involved in contributing to the series. Next thing I knew, I was starting at a contract! I didn’t consider self-publishing, so I didn’t look into the options for doing so. I don’t rule that out in the future–after all, I do blog and post all of my presentations online! But in this case the credibility and respectability of the series were major factors. I felt that was worth the cost of not being able to distribute copies for free.