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MODELLING INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR OF AEC PROFESSIONALS ON ONLINE TECHNICAL INFORMATION RESOURCES

Facilitated by the SciX project

Sameh Shaaban; John McKechnie; Stephen Lockley

MODELLING INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR OF AEC PROFESSIONALS ON ONLINE TECHNICAL INFORMATION RESOURCES

Abstract: With the increasing popularity of architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) online information resources, studies have emphasized the need for domain specific systems that acknowledge both the user’s information tasks and skills. This study concentrates on analysing the users’ information behaviour when involved in an online information seeking session. This analysis aims to find out whether there are patterns of information seeking behaviour among the AEC professionals. The study is based on a live web-based information access system, which contains a large collection of technical AEC documents. Web transaction logs, of around 200,000 user sessions, were gathered and statistically examined. Cluster analysis methods have been performed in order to find the optimal natural groupings of information seeking behaviours among the system users. Results shows the popularity of the ‘exploring results’ and ‘simple searching’ activities among all users. Common usages of short queries have also been noted. Four clusters of user seeking behaviour have been found. The statistical characteristics of each cluster as well as the authors’ interpretations of their common usage patterns have been discussed.

Keywords: Usability, usage patterns, user analysis, information seeking behaviour

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/data/papers/att/2003_20.fullText.03818.pdf (available to registered users only)

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