The Internet and the Web have become a major information and communication source. The technologies used on the Internet have found their ways to the Intranet of organizations as well. The organizational portal contains huge quantities of information, especially when the organization is large and complex and relies heavily on existing information, as in the case of a learning organization. It turns out that simply applying Web technologies “as is” for the enterprise is not the solution. Surprisingly, there are not many studies that tried to explore information behavior within organizations.

In this study our aim is to develop model for searching and retrieving information from the organizational portal within the intranet. As a case study we looked at the information searching patterns of users in a large and complex organization. Three focus groups were held with 13 users of the portal at the end of 2008. In addition in-depth interviews were conducted with eight knowledge workers in the organization.

The users participating in the study were shown two search result interfaces based on previous models in addition to the interface proposed by us, based on the results of the pilot study and on our “hybrid information model”. The users in the study preferred the “hybrid information” interface. Two focus groups with the expert users, the knowledge workers, dealt with finalizing the discussion regarding their interface preference. During these discussions we suggested an improvement to the suggested search result interface, which was endorsed by the expert users.

The study shows that within a complex organization it is crucial to employ an integrative solution for information search that satisfies the specific needs of the users of the organizational portal. The model developed for presenting search results has practical implications on the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of searches conducted within the portal. Even though the case study was conducted within a specific organization, we believe that the models can be applied in other organizations as well.