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Readings on Search

Browsing v. Searching

Marcia Bates The Design of Browsing and Berrypicking Techniques for the Online Search Interface, 1999
Bates offered a new model, "berrypicking" as "closer to the real behavior of information than the traditional model of information retrieval." She called this an "evolving search" in which the user collects "individual references and bits of information at each stage of the search." This model may also describe a general information-seeking strategy.

Koyani and Bailey, Searching vs. Linking on the Web: A Summary of the Research, 2002
Good summary of research to date on how users find information from Usability.gov

Quesenbery, On Beyond Help: User Assistance and the User Interface Technical Communication, Volume 48, No.2, p.182-188 May 2001. Published version vailable on Technical Communication web site, accessible to subscribers
This article looks at the problem of finding information from a user assistance perspective, but is applicable to a general view.

Shneiderman, et al, Clarifying Search: A User Interface Framework for Text Searches
A four- phase framework for user-interface design: the framework provides common structure and terminology for searching while preserving the distinct features of individual collections and search mechanisms

Jared Spool/UIE on search and Nielsen on search
Competing views, not recent, but still cited.

Classification Strategies

Bates, Marcia, After the Dot-Bomb: Getting Web Information Retrieval Right this Time, 2002
Good overview of classification strategies. The abstract says, "In the excitement of the "dot-com" rush of the 1990's, many Web sites were developed that provided information retrieval capabilities poorly or sub-optimally. Suggestions are made for improvements in the design of Web information retrieval in seven areas. Classifications, ontologies, indexing vocabularies, statistical properties of databases (including the Bradford Distribution), and staff indexing support systems are all discussed."

Peter Merholz Innovations in Classification, 2001
Includes a case study of classification and navigation on two wine sites, demonstrating the effectiveness of the one built on user mental models and terminology.

Glassel, Aimee, Was Ranganathan a Yahoo!?, 1998
Interesting overview of the relationship between facet theory and hierarchical classifications like Yahoo from an internet cataloger. (Shiyali Ranganathan first developed the concept of facet as a general classification of all subjects.)

English, Hearst, et al Examining the Usability of Web Site Search
This paper includes a detailed case study of epicurious.com, a food and recipes web site that includes a large-scale faceted search (under Browser Recipes)

UIE, Strategies for Categorizing Categories
Short, e-commerce focused article from Jared Spool/UIE. The most compelling conclusion is that the more pages someone with a clear goal in mind has to visit, the less chance they would buy.

Hagedorn, Information Architecture Glossary
A glossary of terms

Classifications, Taxonomies and Tools

Dublin Core Meta Data Initiative
"The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is an open forum engaged in the development of interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models. DCMI's activities include consensus-driven working groups, global workshops, conferences, standards liaison, and educational efforts to promote widespread acceptance of metadata standards and practices"

American Society of Indexers Thesauri Online
A master list of various thesauri available online.

Good explanation and demo system for a facet navigator. Also includes open-source code for the product in progress.

Flamenco is a search technology that incorporates (and exposes) faceted metadata, developed at Berkeley. There is a demo of a document archive searched with the tool available online

Visual Presentation of Information

Shneiderman, Treemaps for space-constrained visualization of hierarchies, 1998,2002
The work on Treemaps started as a research project in 1989 on how to present the files on a large (20 Meg) hard disk. It is most popularly known for the SmartMoney Market Map. This page is an entry point to the collection of papers and tools at the University of Maryland HCIL (Human Computer Interaction Lab)

Shneiderman, Dynamic queries, starfield displays, and the path to Spotfire 1999
This article is a summary of another long series of explorations in information visualization. The early work was heavily based on the presentation of geographic information, but later prototypes also included structured data such as film databases. The underlying theory is that the query is constructed through direct manipulation of controls for different fields in the database.

Small view of a model for search interaction. Follow the link to a complete explanation.This bibliography accompanied several talks on search and helped me form my model of search that includes the user "thought moments" as well as on-screen interaction. It was compiled in 2002.

For further reading, one of the best resources have found is Search Tools, with links to industry reports, comparisons of search engines and some good tutorials.

The URL for this article is: http://www.wqusability.com/articles/search-references.html

Whitney Quesenbery works on user experience and usability with a passion for clear communication. She is the co-author of Storytelling for User Experience from Rosenfeld Media. Before she was seduced by a little beige computer, Whitney was a theatrical lighting designer. The lessons from the theatre stay with her in creating user experiences. She can be reached at www.WQusability.com