Wang, X., Liebscher, P., Marchionini, G. (Jan. 1988)
Information systems support problem solving and decision making. Information seeking, a special case of problem solving, ranges from fact retrieval to ongoing self instruction. The research reported here looks at the effect of a system's human interfac e on fact retrieval in an electronic hypertext environment . Two experiments were conducted. The first looked at the effect, on user performance, of searching electronic versus paper versions of an encyclopedia. The second examined the effect of two di stinct search strategies, index use and browsing, on subject performance in the electronic version of the same encyclopedia. In addition this experiment looked at the effect of previous computer/online searching experience on performance. Results indica te that subjects complete searches faster using paper, but that search success was the same for both print and electronic versions. Use of an index as a search strategy proved more efficient overall than a browse strategy in terms of search success and o ther dependent measures. However, superiority of the index strategy diminished over several searches and for some performance measured reversed, indicating a possible learning effect. Previous computer/online searching experience did not have a signific ant effect on subject performance.