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Context in web searching: implications for information literacy

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  • 1. Context in web searching: implications for information literacy Yazdan Mansourian and Sheila Webber Department of Information Studies University of Sheffield Librarians' Information Literacy Annual Conference March 2006, Leeds University
  • 2.
    • Introduction
    • An overview of the research methods
    • Invisibility/ visibility
    • Findings: model of web search context
    • Potential value
    Outline
  • 3. Introduction
    • This study
      • focuses on users’ interactions with the web
      • explores their search behaviour in general
      • explores attitudes and actions after receiving unsatisfactory results in particular
    • “ The Web” here = what users perceive it to be… may include search engines, journal, WoS etc.
    • Yazdan Mansourian’s ongoing PhD work, supervised by Sheila Webber and Nigel Ford
  • 4. Information literacy / information behaviour
    • Information behaviour
      • Big research area
      • “ those activities a person may engage in when identifying his or her own needs for information, searching for such information in any way, and using or transferring that information.” ( Wilson, 1999; 249)
      • Should be able to make information literacy education more effective by using IB research discoveries
  • 5. Information literacy is the adoption of appropriate information behaviour to identify , through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs , leading to wise and ethical use of information in society. (Johnston & Webber 2004, 13) First: a glance at the definition
  • 6. What makes this study different
    • In-depth insight to the interaction of end users with the web in real situations
    • Focus on a specific targeted group: academic biology community (37 academics, researchers & students)
    • Qualitative approach (mostly using Grounded Theory), in contrast with mainly quantitative web research
  • 7. Data Collection Inductive Data Analysis New Findings Re-Findings Previous Literature New Findings Modifying based on the current research’s scope Research Questions Compare and Contrast Contribution to the area New Research Questions for Further Research Start Linking the research to the past and future
  • 8. Research Questions
    • How do web users conceptualize their information seeking failure on the web?
    • To what extent are web users aware of missing information while web searching?
    • What strategies do end users use to cope with information failure on the web?
    • What factors might influence different conceptualizations of failure and different coping mechanisms?
    • Started with concept of invisible web , but it emerged that this term was too simplistic
  • 9. Different types of invisibility on the Web
    • Sherman and Price (2001) categorised the invisibility on the web into four categories:
    • The Opaque Web
    • The Private Web
    • The Proprietary Web
    • The Truly Invisible Web (e.g. the Deep Web)
  • 10. From the Invisible Web to the Information Invisibility
    • A model of information visibility can address the phenomenon better than can the invisible web.
    • The main advantage of the model is considering the user aspects of the invisible web which have been overlooked in the past.
    • The diagram placed here in the presentation is part of ongoing PhD research and so please apply to Yazdan Mansourian at [email_address] to find out about the latest version.
  • 11. Findings: context is the key
    • Searching the web happens in context which is unique for any possible single search
    • Users’ feelings, thoughts and actions during the course of web searching highly dependent on search context
    • Considering the context of search is a pivotal element in understanding users’ behaviour
  • 12. Web Search Context Web User Search Tool Search Topic Search Situation Feelings Actions Thoughts Information Resources
  • 13. Findings: more on context
    • Some elements of the search context like time allocation or search importance are more significant in users’ judgment about success or failure of the search
    • Context is extremely dynamic and changes constantly even for the same user or during the same search session
    • End users are aware of the context and prioritize different components in different situations
  • 14. Each component of the model of web search context can be developed in more detail, for example….
  • 15. Feelings of failure Frustration Annoyance Blaming him/ herself Blaming System Changing Keywords Changing Database Giving up the Search Ask a Colleague Spend More Time Looking at Results Look at Printed Materials Feeling Actions Reformulating Search Query Communicate with the Resource Owner Perplexity Check the Spelling
  • 16. Information literacy is the adoption of appropriate information behaviour to identify , through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs , leading to wise and ethical use of information in society Recap
  • 17. How these elements tie to the model of web search context
    • Not merely prescriptive (how people ought to behave) but rather contextual : people information literate enough to judge what is appropriate for them in this situation with this information need
  • 18. Linking the two models
    • The model of web search context identifies the main elements that influence web search procedure during the search
    • The model of information visibility addresses the perceived situation after the search
    • Both models could be used to focus attention on possible options, appropriate strategies for the context, likely outcomes
  • 19. Potential value
    • Dorothy Williams’ talk mentioned “Strategies for making connection with the learner ...
      • “ Mediation within the learning process …
      • “ Reflection – encouraging self-awareness of information experiences and strategies; metacognition”
  • 20. Potential value
    • Reflects user perspective
    • Fit with educational strategies that are focused on developing the learner’s understanding
    • Developing tools to help user reflect on what he/she has done in past, and how might move into the light…..
    • Could encourage optimum strategies for different situations – trivial, crucial or whatever
    • Could keep “visibility” learning diary (expectations/ results)
    • Could help frame discussion with individual enquirers
  • 21. No-one is in the bright zone all the time…
  • 22.
    • Yazdan Mansourian
    • y.mansourian@shef.ac.uk
    • http://invisibleweblog.blogspot.com/
    • Sheila Webber
    • s.webber@shef.ac.uk
    • http://information-literacy.blogspot.com/
  • 23.
    • Johnston, B. and Webber, S. (2004) The role of LIS faculty in the information literate university: taking over the academy? New Library World , 105 (1196/1197), 12-20.
    • Mansourian, Y. and Ford, N. (2006). The Invisible Web: an empirical study of “cognitive invisibility”. Journal of Documentation , 62 (in press).
    • Sherman, C. and Price, G. (2001). The Invisible Web: uncovering information sources search engines can't see. CyberAge Books.
    • Wilson, T.D. (1999) Models in information behaviour research. Journal of documentation, 55 (3), 249-270.