Modern Information Retrieval
Chapter 10: User Interfaces and Visualization
starting points!lists of collections
Typical online systems such as LEXIS-NEXIS require users to begin any inquiry with a scan through a long list of source names and guess which ones will be of interest. Usually little information beyond the name of the collection is provided online for these sources (see Figure ). If the user is not satisfied with the results on one collection, they must reissue the query on another collection.
Frequent searchers eventually learn a set of sources that are useful for their domains of interest, either through experience, formal training, or recommendations from friends and colleagues. Often-used sources can be stored on a `favorites' list, also known as a bookmark list or a hotlist on the Web. Recent research explores the maintenance of a personalized information profile for users or work groups, based on the kinds of information they've used in the past [#!freeman95!#].
However, when users want to search outside their domains of
expertise, a list of familiar sources is not sufficient. Professional
searchers such as librarians learn through experience and years of
training which sources are appropriate for various information needs.
The restricted nature of traditional interfaces to information
collections discourages exploration and discovery of new useful
sources. However, recently researchers have devised a number of
mechanisms to help users understand the contents of collections as a
way of getting started in their search.