ASIST AM 03 2003 START ConferenceManager    

Structure of domain novice users' queries to a historical database

Cole, C., Leide, J. E., Nwakamma, E., Beheshti, J., & Large, A.

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


This paper presents an information need identification system for interactive information retrieval (IR). The purpose of the INIIReye System is to facilitate domain novice user identification of their information need. The INIIReye System uses a syndetic map containing a structural visualization of appropriate subject headings as a user-database interface, to serve as an access point for the user. The specific problem addressed by the reported study pertains to how the INIIReye System can be redesigned to deal with the disconnect between history studentsí mental models of their essay topic and the structure of their topic as it represented by the syndetic map (created from LCSH). Students may use a faulty accessing point in their queries. We first categorize the type of query terms used by users of an historical database provider, to create a taxonomy of query terms. Next, we use a case study of a history student who visually represents his essay topic in a series of steps. We conclude that our query taxonomy must include levels of topic specificity because while general topic-based queries are inappropriate as query terms, more specific topic-based queries may be closer to the domain novice userís real information need.

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