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Christina's LIS Rant
Friday, June 15, 2007
  Systems telling the users about themselves...
(this is sort of a note to myself for if I ever get back to this subject). When my paper was still about faceted search results, I was struggling with even knowing where to look in the literature for theoretical background for faceted presentation of search results. Just now, while re-reading Bryce Allen's 1991 ARIST article on Cognitive Research in Information Science, I figured out another approach. He talks about "system knowledge" and how the user's knowledge of the particular information system is crucial to information retrieval success. He compares using stereotypes (personae? is that the same or similar?) with allowing "the system to tell the user about itself and allow the user to adapt to it"( p.7, citing Gilbert, 1987). This goes with other things I read last semester by Bates and also by Soergel talking about what should be done by the system and what should be done by the user.

So in talking about the faceted search results to end users (domain experts but not information seeking or system experts), I've tried to say something along the lines of "and you can see how the system interprets your search -- see this classification code indicates that the term has applications in this other area of research, so you might want to narrow, or look at how the system describes an article that you know is relevant..." How could the start screen explain the database better without becoming a mess? It has to function for people with all types of abilities and experiences... I don't know the answer.

Allen, B. L. (1991). Cognitive research in information science: Implications for design. In M. E. Williams (Ed.), Annual review of information science and technology (ARIST) (pp. 3-37). Medford, NJ: Learned Information.

Bates, M. J. (1990). Where should the person stop and the information search interface start. Information Processing & Management, 26(5), 575-591.

Soergel, D. (1994). Indexing and retrieval performance: The logical evidence. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 45(8), 589-599. (and other articles, too, but it's hard to recall all of the places this pops up)
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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