A cross-domain analysis of task and genre effects on perceptions of usefulness
by Luanne Freund, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Information Processing & Management, In Press, Available online 30 October 2012
Search systems are limited by their inability to distinguish between information that is on topic and information that is useful, i.e. suitable and applicable to the tasks at hand. This paper presents the results of two studies that examine a possible approach to identifying more useful documents through the relationships between searchers’ tasks and the document genres in the collection. A questionnaire and an experimental user study conducted in two domains, provide evidence that perceptions of usefulness are dependent upon information task type, document genre, and the relationship between these two factors. Expertise is also found to have an effect on usefulness. These results further our understanding of the role of task and genre interactive information retrieval.
► Two studies are presented that test for an effect of task and genre on usefulness. ► Assessments of usefulness vary by task, by genre, and by task and genre. ► Expertise negatively affects perceptions of usefulness, but does not interact with task or genre. ► Similar effects are observed across software engineering and e-government domains. In press: Information Processing & Management.