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Cognitive factors in information systems.
Conway, M., Norris, D. & Bowers, J.
In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on Human Factors in Telecommunications, (meeting at CCETT, France, 9-13 Sept.).
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Two experiments investigated subjects’ abilities to generate keywords likely to access information contained in a large scale information system. Subjects generated keywords to topics which varied in their specificity. In the first experiment subjects were constrained to generate keywords which were either more abstract or more specific than a topic. In the second experiment subjects were required to generate three keywords which they judged would access information in the topic area. The findings indicated that subjects showed close agreement in the generation of their first keywords but these rapidly became idiosyncratic. Further, the amount of agreement between subjects in terms of the production of similar keywords systematically varied with the level of specificity of the search topic. Most agreement was observed when the topic area was at a ‘basic’ level (Rosch, 1978). The implications of these findings for optimizing information access are discussed.