ERIC Number: ED338262
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Comparison of Advanced Retrieval Approaches for Online Catalog Access. Final Report.
Fox, Edward A.; Wilson, Linda
This report presents the results of an experimental study which compared four different advanced retrieval methods for an online catalog to determine which are more efficient, effective, and usable. Conducted with 216 student volunteers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), the study required access to data for a large number of catalog records, a software system that could be used to search through that data, a computer system that could support a number of simultaneous users searching against the catalog database, participants who would try out the system on the records, and questions asked by students in the library. Eighteen of the questions collected using a specially designed form were selected to be searched by the participants and later by expert librarians. The students' responses to an online questionnaire and indications of timing and effectiveness from the log of the search session were used to compare the four methods. Analyses of these variables indicated that the study results provide support for the research hypothesis, i.e., that the vector with feedback method would be the most effective retrieval method, followed by the vector method, and then by the extended Boolean and Boolean methods. This report includes detailed information on the funding received; descriptions of the research design, preparing for and conducting the experiment, an overview of the results, detailed results from the questionnaire analysis, and a brief statement on further and future work. Six appendixes contain a related article, "Advanced Retrieval Methods for Online Catalogs" (Edward A. Fox); the form used for collecting queries; a description of the protocol for the Retrieval Experiment--Virginia Tech OnLine Catalog (REVTOLC); and the REVTOLC consent form, explanations and detailed instructions for the subjects, and a questionnaire which includes demographic questions. (MAB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Council on Library Resources, Inc., Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg. Univ. Libraries.