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The purpose of this article is to present an overview of the history and development of transaction log analysis (TLA) in library and information science research…
The purpose of this article is to present an overview of the history and development of transaction log analysis (TLA) in library and information science research. Organizing a literature review of the first twenty‐five years of TLA poses some challenges and requires some decisions. The primary organizing principle could be a strict chronology of the published research, the research questions addressed, the automated information retrieval (IR) systems that generated the data, the results gained, or even the researchers themselves. The group of active transaction log analyzers remains fairly small in number, and researchers who use transaction logs tend to use this method more than once, so tracing the development and refinement of individuals' uses of the methodology could provide insight into the progress of the method as a whole. For example, if we examine how researchers like W. David Penniman, John Tolle, Christine Borgman, Ray Larson, and Micheline Hancock‐Beaulieu have modified their own understandings and applications of the method over time, we may get an accurate sense of the development of all applications.
Micheline Hancock‐Beaulieu of the Centre for Interactive Systems Research, Department of Information Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1 0HB contributes a research paper “Methods for Evaluation OPACs” to Library and Information Research News, Vol. 13 No. 47, Spring 1990, pp. 20–30. She concludes, from her examination of 31 papers, that the state‐of‐the‐art in the evaluation of Online Public Access Catalogues is still at a diagnostic stage and finds it necessary to warn that, when seeking better performance, user instruction must not be regarded as a substitute for system improvement. The article is a good starting point for anyone attempting evaluation of their own OPAC system, but shows that reliable evaluation of information systems remains elusive.
The notion of user friendliness is discussed in terms of the relationship between interface design and the nature of human‐computer interaction in OPACs. Menu driven…
The notion of user friendliness is discussed in terms of the relationship between interface design and the nature of human‐computer interaction in OPACs. Menu driven interfaces, boolean searching and document representation are identified as major barriers to interaction. It is argued that user friendly interfaces cannot be developed independently without developments in the functionality of the search software and enhancements of the raw database. WIMP environments, probabilistic retrieval and knowledge base structures are suggested as a combined strategy to improve the quality of interaction in online catalogues.
OLIVE, a transaction logging facility enhanced with online questionnaires, was used to collect data from users of public and academic library catalogues. The comparative…
OLIVE, a transaction logging facility enhanced with online questionnaires, was used to collect data from users of public and academic library catalogues. The comparative analysis of subject searching behaviour focused on the role of browsing subject headings and brief references in search formulation. Opportunities for browsing are greatly constrained by indexing practices. It is suggested that a more integrated approach to pre‐coordinate and post‐coordinate searching would be more effective. The logging software has been developed for a number of commercial online catalogues including Geac, CLSI and LIBERTAS. The use of a diagnostic and monitoring tool in the evaluation of OPACs is advocated.
The paper aims to explore the concepts of interaction and interactivity presented in different theoretical models in the fields of human‐computer interaction (HCI) and…
The paper aims to explore the concepts of interaction and interactivity presented in different theoretical models in the fields of human‐computer interaction (HCI) and information‐seeking/searching behaviour, and to relate these to information retrieval (IR) research. It is suggested that interaction in HCI is primarily concerned with establishing a user/system dialogue at the user interface and does not address the interactive characteristics of IR operational tasks. A distinction is made between general informationseeking models and information‐searching models for computerised systems. The former are deemed to provide a useful framework for characterising interaction at the task level, with the structural relationship between tasks as well as the dynamic transition from one task to another being key features of the interactive process. Although the latter are all concerned with how searchers interact with IR systems, each of the models examined represents user interaction at different levels of abstraction. Taken together they provide complementary views of a highly dynamic process. Three principal aspects of interaction are identified and discussed: interaction within and across tasks; the notion of interaction as task sharing; and interaction as a discourse. In conclusion the adoption of an interaction paradigm for IR research is advocated and examples of empirical work for supporting interactive searching and retrieval are provided.
An online library catalogue served as a testbed to evaluate an interactive query expansion facility based on relevance feedback for the Okapi probabilistic term weighting…
An online library catalogue served as a testbed to evaluate an interactive query expansion facility based on relevance feedback for the Okapi probabilistic term weighting retrieval system. The facility was implemented in a graphical user interface (gui) environment using a game‐board metaphor for the search process, and allowed searchers to select candidate terms extracted from relevant retrieved items to reformulate queries. The take‐up of the interactive query expansion option was found to be lower, and its retrieval performance less effective, compared to previous tests featuring automatic query expansion. Contributory factors including the number, presentation and source of terms are discussed.
An automatic query expansion (AQE) facility in an online catalogue was evaluated in an operational library setting. The Okapi experimental system had other features…
An automatic query expansion (AQE) facility in an online catalogue was evaluated in an operational library setting. The Okapi experimental system had other features including: ranked output ‘best match’ keyword searching, automatic stemming, spelling normalisation and cross referencing as well as relevance feedback. A combination of transaction log analysis, search replays, questionnaires and interviews was used for data collection. Findings show that contrary to previous results, AQE was beneficial in a substantial number of searches. User intentions, the effectiveness of the ‘best match’ search and user interaction were identified as the main factors affecting the take‐up of the query expansion facility.
The ability to conduct unobtrusive observation of user searching is a potential strength of the method of information retrieval system analysis known as transaction log analysis (TLA). Transaction logs supply unequivocal information about what a user typed while searching. All other methods rely on self‐reporting, which, as Nielsen points out, is not always corroborated by the logs. Regardless of where in an institution information retrieval (IR) system evaluation takes place, TLA is a method that enables library staff at all levels to examine a variety of system and user‐related activities that are recorded on the log. Dominick suggested that TLA can enable the examination of three broad categories of activity: 1) system performance and resource utilization, 2) information retrieval performance, and 3) user interaction with the IR system. This article has been divided into several sections corresponding to functional areas in a library to suggest useful applications of TLA.
MARISTELLA AGOSTI, MICHELINE BEAULIEU, CYRIL CLEVERDON, HANS‐PETER FREI, NORBERT FUHR, DAVID HARPER, PETER INGWERSEN, MICHAEL KEEN, RAINER KUHLEN, STEPHEN ROBERTSON, ALAN SMEATON, KAREN SPARCK JONES, KEITH VAN RUSBERGEN and PETER WILLETT
Sir, We write to record our debt, and that of our colleagues, to one of the founding fathers of information retrieval, Gerard (Gerry) Salton, who died on 28th August 1995…
Sir, We write to record our debt, and that of our colleagues, to one of the founding fathers of information retrieval, Gerard (Gerry) Salton, who died on 28th August 1995 in Ithaca, ny at the age of 68. Information retrieval was established as a new academic discipline by a small number of pioneers, Gerry among them, who recognised the need for, and the research challenges presented by, the automated indexing, storage and retrieval of text documents. He brought academic rigour and scholarship to establishing the foundations of this discipline, and we acknowledge his influential contributions to the theory, experimental methods, and practice of information retrieval.