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An empirical analysis of user behaviour on multilingual information retrieval

Li Si (Center for the Studies of Information Resources, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Qiuyu Pan (Department of Library Science, School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Xiaozhe Zhuang (Department of Library Science, School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand user information behaviours when they perform multilingual information retrieval. It also offers reference for the development of multilingual information retrieval systems and relevant service platforms.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors designed an experiment on multilingual information retrieval with WorldWideScience, utilized Camtasia studio7 (a screen capturing and recording tool) to record overall operational processes of subjects and collected participants’ thought processes with think-aloud protocols. Meanwhile, a questionnaire survey and interviews were used to examine the subjects’ background information, their feelings for the experiment and their ideas about the experimental platform, respectively. Thirty-two valid data points were obtained by 41 subjects.

Findings

The users preferred their own language for retrieval. Most users from social science chose general search or advanced search freely according to the tasks. The majority of the participants selected key words directly from the tasks as search terms. Doctoral candidates were more likely to construct a search query with logic symbols. Translation tools were utilized for assisting retrieval and solving doubts of translation. When facing obstacles, users stayed on the original web page to explore continually, followed by back to homepage.

Originality/value

This paper provides a study of user behaviour through investigating how users behave on the whole process of retrieving multilingual information. The findings offer advice for optimizing the function of multilingual information retrieval systems and service platforms.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is one of the research outcomes of a Humanities and Social Sciences Project supported by the Ministry of Education of P.R. China (Project Name: Research on content-based multilingual information organization and retrieval, Project No. 14JJD870001).

Citation

Si, L., Pan, Q. and Zhuang, X. (2017), "An empirical analysis of user behaviour on multilingual information retrieval", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 410-426. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-01-2016-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited