Untangling the concept of task in information seeking and retrieval

Soufan, Ayah and Ruthven, Ian and Azzopardi, Leif; (2021) Untangling the concept of task in information seeking and retrieval. In: ICTIR 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGIR International Conference on Theory of Information Retrieval. ACM, New York, NY., 73–81. ISBN 9781450386111 (https://doi.org/10.1145/3471158.3472259)

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Many researchers have pointed to tasks as being the driving force for Information Seeking and Retrieval (ISR). Unfortunately, researchers do not agree on what is meant by tasks and related concepts such as activities and search tasks. Researchers often use different terminologies to describe the same concepts or use the same terms to refer to different concepts. Moreover, previous researchers ignored work roles and their effect on tasks. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to present some of the main competing task hierarchies by conducting a literature analysis in the field of ISR, management, work structure, and human resources. A specific contribution is to use key existing (explicit or implicit) hierarchies and frameworks of tasks into an integrated taxonomy of tasks and related concepts for use by researchers in ISR.