This paper reports the results of a preliminary study of interpersonal information seeking interactions between a user and a human information source. The study showed that users specify their information needs (uncertainty) largely in terms of what they know (certainty) during the interaction. The articulated certainty and uncertainty in the interaction can be classified as utterances focusing on either the topic (what the user is talking about) or comment (how that topic fits in with the user's situation or problem). We suggest that user studies in information seeking research should conceptually realign from an emphasis on user's uncertainty- and topic-based matching to the inclusion of user's certainty and comment dimensions in order to develop a more linguistically robust, multi-dimensional approach to matching for information retrieval.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems
- Media Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Library and Information Sciences