Exploring vs. finding

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There is a great line in a paper by Reddy and Jansen about search:

information seeking is just as much about producing new knowledge–a creative and inventive activity–as it is about finding extant information.

This breaks out beautifully in terms of the dichotomy about finding and exploring: finding is the canonical “known item search” so well executed by Google and Yahoo!, whereas exploring is about creating new knowledge. Exploring is a much more complex activity, that cannot be boiled down to a short input text box for input and a ranked list of documents for output. It’s probably too late to change terminology, but this distinction is important to keep in mind when designing information seeking interfaces.

1 Comment

  1. jeremy says:

    I totally agree. Or, put another way; it is (also) about discovering the connections and relationships between extant information, rather than just the information itself.

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