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Ambient Findability by Peter Morville

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Information Interaction

In 1995, Nahum Gershon coined the term "Human Information Interaction" (HII) to denote "how human beings interact with, relate to, and process information regardless of the medium connecting the two." Since then, the term has been widely adopted by the traditional information science and retrieval communities. Gary Marchionini of the UNC School of Information and Library Science explains "the IR problem itself has fundamentally changed and a new paradigm of information interaction has emerged."[*]

This paradigm is characterized by highly interactive interfaces, user-centered methods, and a sensitivity to the dynamic, multi-channel nature of information seeking behavior. Researchers in Human Information Interaction draw insight and inspiration from the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) while recognizing they face unique challenges. As Elaine Toms suggests, "(the) unstructured, complex problem-solving task (of information seeking) cannot be reduced in a predictable way to a set of routine Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selections (GOMS)."[*] In other words, the complexity of information interaction is not expressed well in typical models of human-computer interaction. HCI approaches are optimal for software applications and interfaces where designers can exercise great control over form and function. HII approaches are optimal for networked information systems where control is sacrificed for interoperability. In such environments, users may find and ...

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