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How users assess web pages for information-seeking

Tombros, A. and Ruthven, I. and Jose, J.M. (2005) How users assess web pages for information-seeking. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56 (4). pp. 327-344. ISSN 1532-2882

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Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the criteria used by online searchers when assessing the relevance of web pages for information-seeking tasks. Twenty four participants were given three tasks each, and indicated the features of web pages which they employed when deciding about the usefulness of the pages in relation to the tasks. These tasks were presented within the context of a simulated work-task situation. We investigated the relative utility of features identified by participants (web page content,structure and quality), and how the importance of these features is affected by the type of information-seeking task performed and the stage of the search. The results of this study provide a set of criteria used by searchers to decide about the utility of web pages for different types of tasks. Such criteria can have implications for the design of systems that use or recommend web pages.