The Stratified Model of Information Retrieval Interaction: Extension and Application


Tefko Saracevic

School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University




User-system interaction is a critical aspect for IR and digital libraries as well. Thus, a better understanding and modeling of these processes is of great importance to efforts aimed at making these systems more user responsive. The traditional IR model, with all its strengths, had a serious weakness: it did not depict the rich and varied interaction processes. Thus, several IR interaction models have been proposed. In 1996 I proposed a stratified model that views the interaction as a dialogue between participants, user and computer (system) through interface at a surface level; furthermore, each of the participants are depicted as having different levels or strata. On the user side elements involve at least these levels: cognitive, affective, and situational. On the ‘computer’ there are at least engineering, processing, and content levels. Interaction is the interplay between various levels. This general model is now extended to encompass specific processes or phenomena that play a crucial role in IR interaction: the notion of relevance, user modeling, selection of search terms, and feedback types. Examples from a large study of interaction are used to illustrate these extensions. Suggestions for further research are made.