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Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology



Introduction to the Special Issue on Web Research
Amanda Spink
Published online 14 December 2001

Web-related studies are a relatively new area of research. Tremendous growth continues in Web use, Web search engines, and Web sites. The interdisciplinary scope of Web research is broadening, and is now an important topic for publication in prestigious scientific journals such as Science and Nature. We are beginning to map the nature of users' Web interactions and the dimensions of better Web systems. However, researchers' and users struggle daily with the tough problems inherent in a system used for general interaction and e-commerce on a massive scale.

This special issue of the Journal of the Association for Information Sciences and Technology includes research articles that address key Web-related issues and problems. Individually and collectively, the articles provide a significant and substantial body of Web research. The diverse range of articles includes studies in Web searching, Web pages, and Web agents. Web searching research develops models of user behavior and conducts trends analysis of large-scale user data. Web page and system research centers on the development and testing of new algorithms, agents, Web page design, interfaces, and systems. Social and organizational impacts and aspects of the Web are not well represented in this special issue. A further special issue including social and organizational Web research is much needed.














A Longitudinal Study of World Wide Web Users' Information-Searching Behavior
Vivian Cothey
Published online 28 November 2001

Viv Cothey's study reveals trends in Web user's searching behavior. Cothey's study of 206 students shows that over a 10-month period they adopted more passive browsing strategies as their querying rate reduced and they became more eclectic in Web access.






Design Criteria for Children's Web Portals: The Users Speak Out
Andrew Large, Jamshid Beheshti, and Tarjin Rahmin
Published online 7 December 2001

Large, Beheshti, and Rahman report young Web users impressions of Web portals designed for children. Findings show that children's Web portals should include entertainment and educational content, use attractive colored screens, graphics and animation, keyword and browsing facilities, and allow for personalization.







Form and Function: The Impact of Query Term and Operator Usage on Web Search Results
Wendy Lucas and Heikki Topi
Published online 28 November 2001

Lucas and Topi's article examines the differences in Web searching of expert and nonexpert searches. They suggest that the nature of the information request upon which a query is based affects the number of terms and Boolean operators in a query. Findings show, nonexpert searches used less Boolean operators and search terms, large overlap in expert and nonexpert search terms, and search terms were more important than Boolean operators in effective results.








Cognitive and Task Influences on Web Searching Behavior
Kyung-Sun Kim and Bryce Allen
Published online 27 November 2001

In their article Kim and Allen found strong task effects on search activities and outcomes, and interactions between cognitive and task variables on search activities. They suggest a clear relationship between the search techniques used, efficiency of searches, and how well the user fits the task.







Web Searching: A Progress-Oriented Experimental Study of Three Interactive Search Paradigms
Simon Dennis, Peter Bruza, and Robert McArthur
Published online 14 December 2001

Dennis, Bruza, and McArthur compare the effectiveness of query-based, directory-based, and phrase-based query reformulation assisted Web search in their article. They found that directory-base search offered new improvement in relevance over query-based search (with or without query formulation assistance). Query reformulation did improve relevance in more difficult searches with the selection of more discriminating terms versus longer queries.








Believe It or Not: Factors Influencing Credibility on the Web
C. Nadine Wathen and Jacquelyn Burkell
Published online 3 December 2001

Walthen and Burkell propose a model depicting how users judge the credibility of Web site information, and suggest multidimensional factors that influence the credibility of Web site information.






Judgment of Information Quality and Cognitive Authority in the Web
Soo Young Rieh
Published online 14 December 2001

The empirical study by Rieh shows that Web users make two distinct judgments of information quality: a predictive judgment and an evaluative judgment. Rieh identifies factors that influence each judgment, including the characteristics of information objects and sources, knowledge, situation, ranking of search output, and general assumptions.







Web Page Change and Persistence-A Four-Year Longitudinal Study
Wallace Koehler
Published online 28 November 2001

From the broad perspective, Koehler's article explores the life cycle of Web pages. Koehler's study shows that Web pages have a half-life of approximately 2 years with variation by top-level domain and page type. He also coins the term webographer to describe the researchers who conduct Web metric oriented studies.







A Comparison of the Use of Text Summaries, Plain Thumbnails, and Enhanced Thumbnails for Web Search Tasks
Allison Woodruff, Ruth Rosenholtz, Julie B. Morrison, Andrew Faulring, and Peter Pirolli
Published online 7 December 2001

In their article Woodruff, Rosenholtz, Morrison, Faulring, and Pirolli show that enhanced thumbnails (text summaries and plain thumbnails) yields the best and most consistent performance.







A Personal Agent for Chinese Financial News on the Web
Christopher C. Yang and Alan Chung
Published online 14 December 2001

Yang and Chung present a Web personal agent that utilizes user's profiles and relevance feedback to search Chinese financial news articles. They found that combining user profiles and user relevance feedback produces the best performance.





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