JASIST IndexJASIST Table of Contents

Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology



In This Issue
Bert R. Boyce




30,000 Hits May Be Better Than 300 Precision Anomalies in Internet Searches
Caroline M. Eastman
Published online 17 June 2002

In this issue we begin with a paper where Eastman points out that conventional narrower queries (the use of conjunctions and phrases) in a web engine search will reduce returned number of hits but not necessarily increase precision in the top ranked documents in the return. Thus by precision anomalies Eastman means that search narrowing activity results in no precision change or a decrease in precision. Multiple queries with multiple engines were run by students for a three-year period and the formulation/engine combination was recorded as was the number of hits. Relevance was also recorded for the top ten and top twenty ranked retrievals. While narrower searches reduced total hits they did not usually improve precision. Initial high precision and poor query reformulation account for some of the results, as did Alta Vista's failure to use the ranking algorithm incorporated in its regular search in its advanced search feature. However, since the top listed returns often reoccurred in all formulations, it would seem that the ranking algorithms are doing a consistent job of practical precision ranking that is not improved by reformulation.











Information Seeking and Mediated Searching. Part 5. User-Intermediary Interaction
David Ellis, T.D. Wilson, Nigel Ford, Allen Foster, H.M. Lam, R. Burton, and Amanda Spink
Published online 11 July 2002

Ellis, et alia, now provide part five of their study on mediated searching which is treated separately here because of the presence of additional authors. The data source remains cases collected from 198 individuals, 87 in Texas and 111 in Sheffield in the U.K. but the focus here is on seeker/intermediary interaction utilizing the Saracevic triadic IR model, and the method is the analysis of discourse. While the pre-search interview stressed problem definition, interaction during the search in terms of relevance and magnitude continued to develop the problem statement. The user and intermediary focused on search tactics, review and relevance, while the intermediary interaction with the system was comprised of terminology and answers. The interaction clearly affected the search process. Users and intermediaries considered the process effective and users felt the intermediary increased their overall satisfaction.











Facilitating Community Information Seeking Using the InternetFindings from Three Public Library-Community Network Systems
Karen E. Pettigrew, Joan C. Durrance, and Kenton T. Unruh
Published online 21 June 2002

Pettigrew, Durrance, and Unruh report on data collected by survey, interview, field observation and focus groups concerning three communities recognized for community information networks in which the local public library played a leading role. The survey was posted for 73 days on the website of each network and yielded 197 responses providing insights on how the public uses CI systems, barriers encountered, and resulting benefits to users and communities. Responding users were diverse demographically, and sought a wide variety of information types. The information types were broader than previous CI studies with a strong emphasis on employment, volunteerism, social services, local history and genealogy, sale, exchange and donation of goods, news, and technical information. Barriers identified were technological, economic, geographic, search skill related, cognitive, and psychological, as well as a large class of information related barriers concerning the quality of the information provided, its accessibility, and security. Users are identified who browse the CI system with particular interest in discovering material of potential value to others. The systems are valued and used by the adult population and seem to strengthen existing communities while stimulating the formation of information communities.












A Case Study of Information-Seeking Behavior in 7-Year-Old Children in a Semistructured Situation
Linda Z. Cooper
Published online 27 June 2002

Cooper identifies search strategies in 21 seven year old children (entering Piaget's concrete operational stage), and compares these to those characterized by a model of adult search strategies with a particular interest on the impact of visual information. Videotapes were made of behavior at a bookshelf of the children in their regularly scheduled media center class and in visits outside the class time. Children largely ignored the camera and commented on the videotapes in a debriefing session. Field notes were also kept. The analysis produced counts of strategy types using the Belkin model. Thirty-three books on spiders were added to the collection and filed normally in Dewey 595.4. A CD-ROM encyclopedia was also made available and both were utilized. Nine search sessions on the CD-ROM encyclopedia were recorded and a Scan/Learn/Recognize strategy was favored. At the shelf a Scan/Select/Recognize strategy was common with only a few looking beyond the cover to make a selection. Metadata use was discussed and the children agreed it should be used. It was used in the CD-ROM search but not at the shelves. There is a tendency to rely on visual information if available, and it appears the Belkin model can be used to characterize children's search behavior.












The Effects of Menu Design on Information-Seeking Performance and User's Attitude on the World Wide Web
Byeong-Min Yu and Seak-Zoon Roh
Published online 16 July 2002

Yu and Roh investigate the effects of providing a simple menu, a global and local navigation menu, and a pull-down menu on searching and browsing speed, as well as the user's perception of the appeal of each menu form and the degree of disorientation it might cause. The site was a shopping center with items and prices that could be approached by way of a simple menu with a hierarchal structure, a menu which retained global links across the top of the screen, with local links in a frame to the left, or a pull down menu design. Each of 21 student subjects was given ten searching and five browsing tasks assigned in three treatments, and responded to a post exercise questionnaire using a five point Likert scale on attitude toward the menus. Time was measured from the subjects' indication of starting until the price was provided, and the procedure repeated three times over a three-week interval with treatment switching. A repeated measure ANOVA showed a significant difference among the designs on search speed with the pull-down menu leading the other two. In browsing speed pull-down and global/local were not significantly different but both bettered the simple menu. Attitude and disorientation showed no significant differences.












On Using Genetic Algorithms for Multimodal Relevance Optimization in Information Retrieval
M. Boughanem, C. Chrisment, and L. Tamine
Published online 20 June 2002

Boughanem, Chrisment, and Tamine use 144,186 documents and 25 queries from the TREC corpus AP88 to evaluate a genetic algorithm for multiple query evaluation against single query evaluation. They demonstrate niche construction by the use of a genetic technique to reproduce queries more often if they retrieve more relevant documents (genotypic sharing), or if they have close evaluation results (phenotypic sharing).New documents generated in each iteration are ranked by a merge based on one of these two principles. Genotypic sharing yields improvements of from 6% to 15% over single query evaluation, and phenotypic sharing shows from 5% to 15% improvement. Thus the niching technique appears to offer the possibility of successful merging of different query expressions.










An Investigation of the Influence of Indexing Exhaustivity and Term Distributions on a Document Space
Dietmar Wolfram and Jin Zhang
Published online 10 July 2002

Wolfram and Zhang are interested in the effect of different indexing exhaustivity, by which they mean the number of terms chosen, and of different index term distributions and different term weighting methods on the resulting document cluster organization. The Distance Angle Retrieval Environment, DARE, which provides a two dimensional display of retrieved documents was used to represent the document clusters based upon a document's distance from the searcher's main interest, and on the angle formed by the document, a point representing a minor interest, and the point representing the main interest. If the centroid and the origin of the document space are assigned as major and minor points the average distance between documents and the centroid can be measured providing an indication of cluster organization. in the form of a size normalized similarity measure. Using 500 records from NTIS and nine models created by intersecting low, observed, and high exhaustivity levels ( based upon a negative binomial distribution) with shallow, observed, and steep term distributions (based upon a Zipf distribution) simulation runs were preformed using inverse document frequency, inter-document term frequency, and inverse document frequency based upon both inter and intra-document frequencies. Low exhaustivity and shallow distributions result in a more dense document space and less effective retrieval. High exhaustivity and steeper distributions result in a more diffuse space.













A Comparison of Foreign Authorship Distribution in JASIST and the Journal of Documentation
Shaoyi He and Amanda Spink
Published online 10 July 2002

He and Spink count the first authors in JASIST and JDoc from 1950 to 1999 whose affiliation is outside the country of origin of each publication and record the time period and the author's geographic location. Foreign authorship in JASIST increased nearly four fold from 1995 to 1999 and the number of represented locations 3.6 times while in the same time period JDoc's foreign authorship doubled and foreign locations increased four fold. The largest foreign location for JDoc is the USA and the largest foreign location for JASIST is the UK. Canada is second on both lists.









Brief Communication

Work Tasks and Socio-Cognitive RelevanceA Specific Example
Birger Hjorland and Frank Sejer Christensen
Published online 20 June 2002

Finally, in a brief communication, Hjorland and Christensen provide an analyzed example in order to clarify their views on relevance. A physician's information seeking focus in dealing with mental illness is seen as largely determined by his social cognitive state, with complexity increasing as the individual's understanding of the topic deviates from mainstream thinking. The physician's viewpoint on the disease will influence terminology utilized, and an eclectic attitude toward the disease will result in more broad criteria of relevance. Relevance is seen as a tool toward meeting an individual goal.









The Modern Invention of InformationDiscourse, History, and Power.
Frank Exner, Little Bear
Published online 23 May 2002




Identifying and Analyzing User NeedsA Complete Handbook and Ready-to-Use Assessment Workbook with Disk.
Ethelene Whitmire
Published online 13 June 2002





Designing with JavaScriptCreating Dynamic Web Pages.
Terrence A. Brooks
Published online 6 June 2002




 Principles of Web Design.
Dale A. Stirling
Published online 6 June 2002




The Laws of the WebPatterns in the Ecology of Information.
Eric G. Ackermann
Published online 20 June 2002






A Perspectives Issue on Knowledge Management in Asia
Published online 28 June 2002


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