Marchionini, G., Barlow, D. (January 1994)
Information retrieval has become a popular topic in business and government due to the development of high-speed networking and finding aids such as Gopher, World-Wide-Web, Mosaic, and WAIS (e.g.,Obraczka, Danzig, & Li, 1993). Such systems have provided broad ranges of computer users generally easy access to Internet resources, but access is not sufficient to assure information-seeking success. There is no evidnece on how such systems perform either quantitatively or qualitatively, and no guidance on what information-seeking strategies are appropriate. Althought the IR community agrees that networked resources are important research and development domains, there have been no systematic studies of retrieval performance in networked environments. Practice rather than theory is driving development. This situation is problematic since networked end-user environments have enormous implications for IR researchers and information specialists. To explore how one such system performs, a comparative investigation was conducted for the WAIS system and a Boolean-based retrieval system. This brief communication reports preliminary results from this study and makes suggestions for developer, evaluators, and users.