Archive for the ‘Guided Exploration’ Category

Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides by Jason Puckett.

From the Amazon description:

Whether you call them research guides, subject guides or pathfinders, web-based guides are a great way to create customized support tools for a specific audience: a class, a group, or anyone engaging in research. Studies show that library guides are often difficult, confusing, or overwhelming, causing users to give up and just fall back on search engines such as Google. How can librarians create more effective, less confusing, and simply better research guides?

In Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides, author Jason Puckett takes proven ideas from instructional design and user experience web design and combines them into easy-to-understand principles for making your research guides better teaching tools. It doesn’t matter what software your library uses; the advice and techniques in this book will help you create guides that are easier for your users to understand and more effective to use.

This may be a very good book.

I say “may be” because at $42.00 for 157 pages in paperback and/or Kindle, I’m very unlikely to find out.

The American Library Association (publisher of this work) is doing its members, authors and the reading public a disservice by maintaining a pinched audience for its publications.

Works by librarians and on pathfinders in particular would be help, albeit belated help, for technologists who have tried to recreate the labor of librarians. Poorly.

If and when this work appears at a more reasonable price, I hope to offer a review for your consideration.

Guided Exploration = Faceted Search, Backwards

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Guided Exploration = Faceted Search, Backwards by Daniel Tunkelang.

Daniel starts off:

Information Scent

In the early 1990s, PARC researchers Peter Pirolli and Stuart Card developed the theory of information scent (more generally, information foraging) to evaluate user interfaces in terms of how well users can predict which paths will lead them to useful information. Like many HCIR researchers and practitioners, I’ve found this model to be a useful way to think about interactive information seeking systems.

Specifically, faceted search is an exemplary application of the theory of information scent. Faceted search allows users to express an information need as a keyword search, providing them with a series of opportunities to improve the precision of the initial result set by restricting it to results associated with particular facet values.

For example, if I’m looking for folks to hire for my team, I can start my search on LinkedIn with the keywords [information retrieval], restrict my results to Location: San Francisco Bay Area, and then further restrict to School: CMU.

But quickly comes to:

Guided exploration exchanges the roles of precision and recall. Faceted search starts with high recall and helps users increase precision while preserving as much recall as possible. In contrast, guided exploration starts with high precision and helps users increase recall while preserving as much precision as possible.

That sounds great in theory, but how can we implement guided exploration in practice?

A very interesting look at how to expand a result set and maintain precision at the same time.

Of particular interest for anyone who wants to implement dynamic merging of proxies based on subject similarity.

An open field of research that offers a number of exciting possibilities.