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Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology



In This Issue
Bert R. Boyce





Information Seeking and Mediated Searching. Part 1. Theoretical Framework and Research Design
Amanda Spink, T.D. Wilson, Nigel Ford, Allen Foster, and David Ellis
Published online 19 April 2002

In this issue we begin with the first of four parts of a five part series of papers by Spink, Wilson, Ford, Foster, and Ellis. Spink, et alia, in the first section of this report set forth the design of a project to test whether existing models of the information search process are appropriate for an environment of mediated successive searching which they believe characterizes much information seeking behavior. Their goal is to develop an integrated model of the process.

Data were collected from 198 individuals, 87 in Texas and 111 in Sheffield in the U.K., with individuals with real information needs engaged in interaction with operational information retrieval systems by use of transaction logs, recordings of interactions with intermediaries, pre, and post search interviews, questionnaire responses, relevance judgments of retrieved text, and responses to a test of cognitive styles. Questionnaires were based upon the Kuhlthau model, the Saracevic model, the Ellis model, and incorporated a visual analog scale to avoid a consistency bias.












Information Seeking and Mediated Searching. Part 2. Uncertainty and Its Correlates
T.D. Wilson, Nigel Ford, David Ellis, Allen Foster, and Amanda Spink
Published online 23 April 2002

In ``Part 2. Uncertainty and Its Correlates,'' where Wilson is the primary author, after a review of uncertainty as a concept in information seeking and decision research, it is hypothesized that if the Kuhlthau problem solving stage model is appropriate the searchers will recognize the stage in which they currently are operating. Secondly to test Wilson's contention that operationalized uncertainty would be useful in characterizing users, it is hypothesized that uncertainty will decrease as the searcher proceeds through problem stages and after the completion of the search. A review of pre and post search interviews reveals that uncertainty can be operationalized, and that academic researchers have no difficulty with a stage model of the information seeking process. Uncertainty is unrelated to sex, age, or discipline, but is related to problem stage and domain knowledge. Both concepts appear robust.











Information Seeking and Mediated Searching Study. Part 3. Successive Searching
Amanda Spink, T.D. Wilson, Nigel Ford, Allen Foster, and David Ellis
Published online 30 April 2002

In ``Part 3. Successive Searching.'' where Spink is the primary author, after a review of the work on successive searching, a portion of the Texas generated data is reviewed for insights on how frequently successive searching occurred, the motivation for its occurrence, and any distinctive characteristics of the successive search pattern. Of 18 mediated searches, half requested a second search and a quarter a third search. All but one seeker reported a need to refine and enhance the previous results. Second searches while characterized as refinements included a significantly higher number of items retrieved and more search cycles. Third searches had the most cycles but less retrieved items than the second. Number of terms utilized did not change significantly and overlap was limited to about one in five terms between first and second searches. No overlap occurred between the second and third searches. Problem solving stage shifts did occur with 2 moving to a later stage after the first search, 5 remaining in the same stage and one reverting to a previous stage. Precision did not increase over successive searches, but partial relevant judgments decreased between the second and third search.












Information Seeking and Mediated Searching. Part 4. Cognitive Styles in Information Seeking
Nigel Ford, T.D. Wilson, Allen Foster, David Ellis, and Amanda Spink
Published online 30 April 2002

In ``Part 4. Cognitive Styles in Information Seeking,'' where Ford is the primary author, the results of the application of the Riding's Cognitive Styles Analysis and the Pask's holist/serialist portion of the Ford's Study Process Questionnaire to the 111 U.K. participants. were correlated using Spearman's coefficient with reports of focused thinking, degree of change in the intermediary's perception of the problem and personal knowledge, problem stage, degree of differentiating activity, change in problem perception, engagement in exploring activity, changes in questioning, valuing of serendipitous information, and other variables. The results would indicate that field independent individuals report clearer more focused thinking, see themselves in an earlier problem stage, and report higher levels of change in perception of the problem. Holists value serendipity and report engagement in Kuhlthau's exploring stage. They are seen by intermediaries as exhibiting fewer changes in questioning behavior. A fifth section will appear in a later issue.











Data Discretization for Novel Relationship Discovery in Information Retrieval
G. Benoit
Published online 29 April 2002

A sample of 600 Dialog and Swiss-Prot full text records in genetics and molecular biology were parsed and term frequencies calculated to provide data for a test of Benoit's visualization model for retrieval. A retrieved set is displayed graphically allowing for manipulation of document and concept relationships in real time, which hopefully will reveal unanticipated relationships.







On Recommending
Jonathan Furner
Published online 3 May 2002

By ``recommending'' Furner refers to collaborative filtering where multiple user rankings of items are used to create a single new ranking for a user, or to a system itself generating rankings of items for its users. This would include document retrieval systems as a subset recommending systems in the second instance, but in the first would make document retrieval system and recommending system synonyms. Information seeking actions are classified either as evaluative (determining the worth of an item), recommending (expressing perceived worth), or informative (examining the content of an item). The task of the information retrieval system is to be to predict the particular ordering that the user would specify in a given context, given complete knowledge of the collection. Citations may be considered as the result of evaluative and recommending decisions by the author, and assigned index terms may be considered as the same sort of decisions by the indexer. The selection of relevant documents by a searcher from a list also involves evaluative and recommending decisions. This suggests that searchers should have the opportunity to bring multiple ranking techniques to bear.












Domain Visualization using VxInsight ®) [register mark] for Science and Technology Management
Kevin W. Boyack, Brian N. Wylie, and George S. Davidson
Published online 3 May 2002

Boyack, Wylie, and Davidson developed VxInsight which transforms information from documents into a landscape representation which conveys information on the implicit structure of the data as context for queries and exploration. From a list of pre-computed similarities it creates on a plane an x,y location for each item, or can compute its own similarities based on direct and co-citation linkages. Three-dimensional overlays are then generated on the plane to show the extent of clustering at particular points. Metadata associated with clustered objects provides a label for each peak from common words. Clicking on an object will provide citation information and answer sets for queries run will be displayed as markers on the landscape. A time slider allows a view of terrain changes over time.

In a test on the microsystems engineering literature a review article was used to provide seed terms to search Science Citation Index and retrieve 20,923 articles of which 13,433 were connected by citation to at least one other article in the set. The citation list was used to calculate similarity measures and x.y coordinates for each article. Four main categories made up the landscape with 90% of the articles directly related to one or more of the four. A second test used five databases: SCI, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, Engineering Index, INSPEC, and Medline to extract 17,927 unique articles by Sandia, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with text of abstracts and RetrievalWare 6.6 utilized to generate the similarity measures. The subsequent map revealed that despite some overlap the laboratories generally publish in different areas. A third test on 3000 physical science journals utilized 4.7 million articles from SCI where similarity was the un-normalized sum of cites between journals in both directions. Physics occupies a central position, with engineering, mathematics, computing, and materials science strongly linked. Chemistry is farther removed but strongly connected.



















A Nation Transformed by Information: How Information has Shaped the United States from Colonial Times to the Present, edited by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. and James W. Cortada
Julian Warner
Published online 30 April 2002





Usability for the Web: Designing Web Sites that Work, by Tom Brinck, Darren Gergle, and Scott D. Wood
Raven Wallace
Published online 2 May 2002










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