Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

May 1995

Publication Title

Association for Computing Machinery


Elementary school children, Information retrieval, Search behavior, Science education, Learning, Online catalogs, Domain knowledge, Browsing, Keyword searching, Online monitoring, User interface design.


Databases and Information Systems | Information Literacy | Library and Information Science


Few information retrieval systems are designed with children’s special needs and capabilities in mind. We need to learn more about children’s information-seeking behavior in order to provide them with information-based tools which support exploratory learning. This dissertation examines children’s search behavior on a hypertext-based automated library catalog designed for elementary school children. The focus of this research is on the effect of domain knowledge on children’s search performance, search behavior, and learning as they look for science books on this system. Reseaxch has shown that level of domain knowledge in~luences the way people search for information. Data was collected through one-on-one interviews, direct observation, and online monitoring of search sessions. This dissertation will contribute to our understanding of children’s search behavior and the factors which influence their behavior. This research also has implications for information retrieval system evaluation and interface design.


SJSU users: Use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.This article was originally published by ACM Press, 1995, in the CHI '95 Conference Companion on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Posting this article was given by permission of ACM. Copyright © 1995, ACM