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Article

Sherry Koshman

This investigation tested the designer assumption that VIBE is a tool for an expert user and asked: what are the effects of user expertise on usability when VIBE's…

Abstract

This investigation tested the designer assumption that VIBE is a tool for an expert user and asked: what are the effects of user expertise on usability when VIBE's non‐traditional interface is compared with a more traditional text‐based interface? Three user groups – novices, online searching experts, and VIBE system experts – totaling 31 participants, were asked to use and compare VIBE to a more traditional text‐based system, askSam. No significant differences were found; however, significant performance differences were found for some tasks on the two systems. Participants understood the basic principles underlying VIBE although they generally favored the askSam system. The findings suggest that VIBE is a learnable system and its components have pragmatic application to the development of visualized information retrieval systems. Further research is recommended to maximize the retrieval potential of IR visualization systems.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 60 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Amanda Spink, Bernard J. Jansen, Vinish Kathuria and Sherry Koshman

This paper reports the findings of a major study examining the overlap among results retrieved by three major web search engines. The goal of the research was to: measure…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reports the findings of a major study examining the overlap among results retrieved by three major web search engines. The goal of the research was to: measure the overlap across three major web search engines on the first results page overlap (i.e. share the same results) and the differences across a wide range of user defined search terms; determine the differences in the first page of search results and their rankings (each web search engine's view of the most relevant content) across single‐source web search engines, including both sponsored and non‐sponsored results; and measure the degree to which a meta‐search web engine, such as Dogpile.com, provides searchers with the most highly ranked search results from three major single source web search engines.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected 10,316 random Dogpile.com queries and ran an overlap algorithm using the URL for each result by query. The overlap of first result page search for each query was then summarized across all 10,316 to determine the overall overlap metrics. For a given query, the URL of each result for each engine was retrieved from the database.

Findings

The percent of total results unique retrieved by only one of the three major web search engines was 85 percent, retrieved by two web search engines was 12 percent, and retrieved by all three web search engines was 3 percent. This small level of overlap reflects major differences in web search engines retrieval and ranking results.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides an important contribution to the web research literature. The findings point to the value of meta‐search engines in web retrieval to overcome the biases of single search engines.

Practical implications

The results of this research can inform people and organizations that seek to use the web as part of their information seeking efforts, and the design of web search engines.

Originality/value

This research is a large investigation into web search engine overlap using real data from a major web meta‐search engine and single web search engines that sheds light on the uniqueness of top results retrieved by web search engines.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article

Natalie Clewley, Sherry Y. Chen and Xiaohui Liu

Cognitive style has been identified to be significantly influential in deciding users' preferences of search engines. In particular, Witkin's field dependence/independence…

Abstract

Purpose

Cognitive style has been identified to be significantly influential in deciding users' preferences of search engines. In particular, Witkin's field dependence/independence has been widely studied in the area of web searching. It has been suggested that this cognitive style has conceptual links with the holism/serialism. This study aims to investigate the differences between the field dependence/independence and holism/serialism.

Design/methodology/approach

An empirical study was conducted with 120 students from a UK university. Riding's cognitive style analysis (CSA) and Ford's study preference questionnaire (SPQ) were used to identify the students' cognitive styles. A questionnaire was designed to identify users' preferences for the design of search engines. Data mining techniques were applied to analyse the data obtained from the empirical study.

Findings

The results highlight three findings. First, a fundamental link is confirmed between the two cognitive styles. Second, the relationship between field dependent users and holists is suggested to be more prominent than that of field independent users and serialists. Third, the interface design preferences of field dependent and field independent users can be split more clearly than those of holists and serialists.

Originality/value

The contributions of this study include a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between field dependence/independence and holists/serialists as well as proposing a novel methodology for data analyses.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 66 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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