City Research Online

Modelling the IR task: supporting the user

Ennis, M. (1998). Modelling the IR task: supporting the user. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The need for improved interface designs and targeted task support were highlighted based on performance data gathered in an empirical evaluation of a typical commercial database: MEDLINE1. The thesis outlines theoretical work addressing the cognitive activity underlying searchers behaviour in the information retrieval task and unifies this into a cognitive task model of their information seeking behaviour. The motivation for this work is to understand; explain and minimise the mismatch between information retrieval interfaces, and their associated functionality, and users’ mental models of the search process. The cognitive model consists of IR processes, cognitive activities, correspondence rules, knowledge sources necessary to support the task, strategies, tactics and IR systems representations. The cognitive model is related to specific systems through taxonomies of possible functionality. The model is evaluated by comparing empirical observations of users’ information retrieval against the models predictions of behaviour for a specific situation. Design implications attempt to link the model of human action to what users need to know and the task support provided by an IR system to indicate and justify design requirements. In this way the research attempts to define the facilities which support user process. A concept demonstrator is presented with associated usability studies. The effectiveness and limitations of this approach to the systematic design and evaluation of IR systems are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction Design
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Volume 1]
Text (Volume 1) - Accepted Version
Download (14MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Volume 2]
Text (Volume 2) - Accepted Version
Download (11MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login