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Mediating Differences in Children's Interaction with Digital Libraries Through Modeling Their Tasks

Dania Bilal and Sonia Sarangthem

(Submission #94)


This paper presents four task-based models that were developed based on Arabic-speaking children’s information seeking behavior in using the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL). Three general models of user information seeking behavior in digital environments were used as frameworks for generating the task-based models: Ellis & Haugan (1997), Choo, Detlor, & Turnball (2000), and Marchionini (1995). The models show that children’s information seeking was characterized by these seven modes of behavior: Start, Recognize, Browse, Examine, Differentiate, Read, Explore, and Finish. Each of the modes has a number of moves associated with it. Underlying the task-based models is the information need and affective reactions that were driven by each of the four tasks. Children’s behavior consisted of iterative transitions between the modes, with the exception of the behavior on the closed, fact-based task that showed minimal iterative transitions. Task characteristics, context, interface design of the ICDL, and language influenced children’s information seeking behavior and the amount of iterations they made between the modes. The models show new patterns of children’s information seeking behavior that are Web-specific and that are absent from the three models used as frameworks. Implications are made for research, practice, and system design improvements.


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