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Information search by applying VDL-based iconic tags: an experimental study

Xiaoyue Ma (Department of Information Management, School of Economics and Management, Xidian University, Xian, China)
Pengzhen Xue (Department of Information Management, School of Economics and Management, Xidian University, Xian, China)
Siya Zhang (Department of Information Management, School of Economics and Management, Xidian University, Xian, China)
Nada Matta (ICD/Tech-CICO Lab, Universite de Technologie de Troyes, Troyes, France)
Chunxiu Qin (Department of Information Management, School of Economics and Management, Xidian University, Xian, China)
Jean-Pierre Cahier (Lab TechCICO/ICD, Universite de Technologie de Troyes, Troyes, France)
Keqin Wang (School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 8 May 2019

Issue publication date: 21 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Visual Distinctive Language (VDL)-based iconic tags are structured visual information annotation. They explicate the content and organization of tagged information by graphical and symbolic features in order to improve the vocabulary problems of textual tags. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how these special icons help in tagged-based user information searching.

Design/methodology/approach

A two-stage experiment was designed and conducted so as to follow and quantify the searching process in specific searching target case and no specific searching target case when using VDL-based iconic tags.

Findings

The experimental results manifested that VDL-based iconic tags enhanced the role of tag in information searching. They could make user better understand tag clusters, which, in turn, provide global structure of involved topics. Also, VDL-based iconic tags helped user to find out searching target more quickly with higher accuracy by taking advantages of visual representation of tag categories and symbolic signification of tag content.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to verify how structured icons work in information searching and how user’s graphical cognition impacts on tag-based information searching process. The research findings are dedicated to the theory of VDL-based iconic tags, as well as to a new visualization method for search user interface design.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71403201), The Ministry of Education in China of Humanities and Social Sciences project (19YJA870009), Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China (2017JM7003) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (RW180171).

Citation

Ma, X., Xue, P., Zhang, S., Matta, N., Qin, C., Cahier, J.-P. and Wang, K. (2019), "Information search by applying VDL-based iconic tags: an experimental study", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 4, pp. 807-822. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-08-2018-0127

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited