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in Electronic Environments
by Gary Marchionini
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Information Seeking in Electronic Environments: 01/22/11

cover art

Information Seeking in Electronic Environments by Gary Marchionini was published the year I first started grad school. It was a time when the internet was still relatively new and Google was still a graduate student project. The book covers ways of finding information with the aid of computers and was a supplemental textbook for my Information and Society course.

Although the specific programs and screenshots used as examples in Information Seeking in Electronic Environments are out of date (and in many cases, nonexistent), the methodology behind those programs is still in use in modern day programs. I suspect the methods will continue to be useful even as future generations of programs and services are created.

The book covers topics like browsing versus searching, the reasons behind information seeking, the process of finding information, mechanisms to aid searching and the continuing evolution of information seeking. These are all topics we covered in both of my classes this semester and continue to be topics of interest in library science.

Pages 124-37 of the "Why Browse" gives the best snap shot of where internet technology was in 1995. Of especial interest to me is Figure 6-11 on page 137 is a Semantic map display of files searched on a computer. Boxes are drawn around the different topics and the larger boxes represent the topics of most interest. In other words, it's an early version of a tag cloud, something that is being used more and more in Web 2.0 applications.

So while the book was supplemental reading and has out of date screenshots, it's still a fascinating and useful reference book that I plan to hold on to.

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