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Online IR system evaluation: online databases versus Web search engines

Hong (Iris) Xie (Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin‐Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



This study evaluated two different types of online information retrieval (IR) systems: online databases and Web search engines, in terms of user generated criteria. It also compares four types of Web search engines: directories, search engines, meta‐search engines, and specialized search engines. The results show that three elements are essential to users in the evaluation of online IR systems: interface design, system performance and collection coverage. While participants preferred the ease of use and intuitive interfaces of Web search engines, they also liked the credible and useful information offered by online databases. Based on the discussion of advantages and problems of online databases and Web search engines, implications of for the design of IR systems are further suggested.



Xie, H.(I). (2004), "Online IR system evaluation: online databases versus Web search engines", Online Information Review, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 211-219.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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