Modern Information Retrieval
Chapter 10: User Interfaces and Visualization - by Marti Hearst


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1. Introduction

This chapter discusses user interfaces for communication between human
information seekers and information retrieval systems. Information seeking is an imprecise process. When users approach an information access system they often have only a fuzzy understanding of how they can achieve their goals. Thus the user interface should aid in the understanding and expression of information needs. It should also help users formulate their queries, select among available information sources, understand search results, and keep track of the progress of their search.

The human-computer interface is less well understood than other aspects of information retrieval, in part because humans are more complex than computer systems, and their motivations and behaviors are more difficult to measure and characterize. The area is also undergoing rapid change, and so the discussion in this chapter will emphasize recent developments rather than established wisdom.

The chapter will first outline the human side of the information seeking process and then focus on the aspects of this process that can best be supported by the user interface. Discussion will encompass current practice and technology, recently proposed innovative ideas, and suggestions for future areas of development.

Section [*] outlines design principles for human-computer interaction and introduces notions related to information visualization. section [*] describes information seeking models, past and present. The next four sections describe user interface support for starting the search process, for query specification, for viewing retrieval results in context, and for interactive relevance feedback. The last major section, section [*], describes user interface techniques to support the information access process as a whole. Section 10.9 speculates on future developments and Section [*] provides suggestions for further reading. Figure [*] presents the flow of the chapter contents.

Figure: The flow of this chapter's contents

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Next: 2. Human-Computer Interaction Up: 1. User Interfaces and Previous: 1. User Interfaces and

Modern Information Retrieval © Addison-Wesley-Longman Publishing co.
1999 Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Berthier Ribeiro-Neto