Recommendation, collaboration and social search

David M. Nichols, Michael B. Twidale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter considers the social component of interactive information retrieval: what is the role of other people in searching and browsing? For simplicity we begin by considering situations without computers. After all, you can interactively retrieve information without a computer; you just have to interact with someone or something else. Such an analysis can then help us think about the new forms of collaborative interactions that extend our conceptions of information search, made possible by the growth of networked ubiquitous computing technology. Information searching and browsing have often been conceptualized as a solitary activity, however they always have a social component. We may talk about 'the' searcher or 'the' user of a database or information resource. Our focus may be on individual uses and our research may look at individual users. Our experiments may be designed to observe the behaviors of individual subjects. Our models and theories derived from our empirical analyses may focus substantially or exclusively on an individual's evolving goals, thoughts, beliefs, emotions and actions. Nevertheless there are always social aspects of information seeking and use present, both implicitly and explicitly. We start by summarizing some of the history of information access with an emphasis on social and collaborative interactions. Then we look at the nature of recommendations, social search and interfaces to support collaboration between information seekers. Following this we consider how the design of interactive information systems is influenced by their social elements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInteractive Information Seeking, Behaviour and Retrieval
EditorsIan Ruthven, Diane Kelly
PublisherFacet Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781856047074
StatePublished - 2011


  • computer science
  • interactive information retrieval


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