Brajnik, Giorgio, Mizzaro, Stefano, Tasso, Carlo and Venuti, Fabio
Strategic help in user interfaces for information retrieval
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53, (5), .
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Although no unified definition of the concept of search strategy in Information Retrieval (IR) exists so far, its importance is manifest: nonexpert users, directly interacting with an IR system, apply a limited portfolio of simple actions; they do not know how to react in critical
situations; and they often do not even realize that their difficulties are due to strategic problems. A user interface to an IR system should therefore provide some strategic help, focusing user’s attention on strategic issues and providing tools to generate better strategies.
Because neither the user nor the system can autonomously solve the information problem, but they complement each other, we propose a collaborative coaching approach, in which the two partners cooperate: the user retains the control of the session and the system provides
suggestions. The effectiveness of the approach is demonstrated by a conceptual analysis, a prototype knowledge-based system named FIRE, and its evaluation through informal laboratory experiments.
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