Information Searching and Search Models

Authored by: Iris Xie

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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It is a critical issue to design information retrieval (IR) systems to effectively support users in their information searching. Users are naturally drawn to systems whose features make their searching easy, intuitive, efficient, and successful. However, there is a gap between user studies and the application of study results to actual system design. This entry serves as a summary of information searching and search models, and calls for the need to incorporate these user studies into system design and testing. Key terms related to information searching and search models are defined. A historic context is provided to illustrate the evolution of the four main digital environments that users interact with in their search process to offer readers background information regarding the transition from manual information systems to computer-based IR systems, as well as the transition from intermediary searching to end user searching. New emerging research areas in information searching are also discussed. Emphasis is placed on the review of different levels of information searching, including search tactics/moves, search strategies, usage patterns, factors affecting searching in relation to tasks, user knowledge structure, IR system design, social-organization context, and search models. Search models are further classified into two types, with one type illustrating information search process and the other type emphasizing the factors that influence the process. In addition, unsolved problems and future research are discussed and suggested.

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