Relevance for browsing, relevance for searching

Abstract

We distinguish between definitions of browsing as a kind of behavior and definitions of browsing as a kind of task or information need. Bates (2002a) clearly defines browsing as a behavior that can be defined on its own mechanical terms: “[Browsing] involves successive acts of glimpsing, fixing on a target to examine visually or manually more closely, examining, then moving on to start the cycle over again.” Chang and Rice (1993, p. 237) similarly identify strictly behavioral—even biological—definitions in the works of Morse and O’Connor. A study such as that by Qiu (1993), which measures whether users choose to employ browsing or analytical searching for a given task, clearly defines browsing as a behavior, independently of the task. In that study, browsing includes the behaviors of paging through nodes and looking through tables of contents, and analytical search relates to the behavior of submitting string searches. In contrast, numerous definitions of browsing refer to characteristics of the user’s goals or task or his or her information need. We will refer to this as the cognitive definition of browsing. For an example of this approach, we refer to another article by Bates (Bates, 2002b), in which browsing is defined as whatever one does in the course of an undirected, active search. Active is behavioral; undirected is a characteristic of the need, not of the method or behavior: “Here we have no special information need or interest,2 but actively

DOI: 10.1002/asi.20254

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Cite this paper

@article{Bodoff2006RelevanceFB, title={Relevance for browsing, relevance for searching}, author={David Bodoff}, journal={JASIST}, year={2006}, volume={57}, pages={69-86} }