of The American Society for Information Science and Technology

Vol. 27, No. 2

December/January 2001

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Document Genres: What We Bring from the Past, What We Design for the Future

by Barbara Kwasnik, Guest Editor

A document's genre refers to its form, substance and contextual use. There are genre types in all aspects of life, including the arts, business, communication and science. With the growth of the Internet we have been introduced to a range of new genres including home pages and FAQs. 

In this special section of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, we explore the concept of genre and how it applies to information systems and the Internet.  Clare Beghtol of the University of Toronto first gives an overview of the history of genre and how aspects of this tradition can be applied to the design of today's information systems.  Next, Elaine Toms, also from Toronto, reports on an experiment on genre recognition. Finally Kevin Crowston, Barbara Kwasnik, Michael Nilan and Dmitri Roussinov from Syracuse University outline a four-part investigation that they plan to undertake. In this study they hope to  develop a genre classification system and study how the identification of genre, both manually and automatically, might increase the precision of Internet searches and enhance the ability of users to interact with information systems.

These papers are based on panel presentations delivered at the 2000 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology in Chicago.


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@ 2000, American Society for Information Science