07/06/10 11:13 Filed in: search
Marcia Bates' berrypicking model
In her landmark 1989 paper, www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/berrypicking.html?referer=http%3A%..., Marcia Bates outlined search as an evolutionary process. Users often begin with a general query, glean a few nuggets from the initial results, reformulate their query based on that new knowledge, and then repeat this process. Like a bear foraging for food in the forest, knowledge seekers tend to rapidly migrate from one patch of information to the next.
While this iterative behavior is true of virtually everyone using search, there are two key factors that distinguish some users from others: domain expertise and search expertise(though www.boxesandarrows.com/view/search-behavior?referer=http%3A%2F%2Ftw..., John Ferrara has identified several additional factors). Some websites, for example, may be able to assume that users are highly literate in a specific topic, while other websites may need to design for a range of expertise in a variety of subjects (the case for web search engines). In addition, users experienced at using search interfaces will be more capable of utilizing sophisticated search tools, but less experienced users will demand less complexity.
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