The HILT Phase II project aimed to develop a pilot terminologies server with a view to improving cross‐sectoral information retrieval. In order to inform this process, it was first necessary to examine how a representative group of users approached a range of information‐related tasks. This paper focuses on exploratory interviews conducted to investigate the proposed ideal and actual strategies of a group of 30 users in relation to eight separate information tasks. In addition, users were asked to give examples of search terms they may employ and to describe how they would formulate search queries in each scenario. The interview process undertaken and the results compiled are outlined, and associated implications for the development of a pilot terminologies server are discussed.
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