Information seeking, gathering and review : journalism as a case study for the design of search and authoring systems
It is often argued that research into information systems design must consider the complex relationships existing between information activities and the context of work or leisure within which they occur. Recent research has seen an increase in studies and models locating information seeking and use within its wider task context. Less common, though, are studies that extend this focus to the equally important issue of how users manage and manipulate found information in the service of a task. This thesis explores the relationship between writing tasks and information seeking and manipulation, using journalistic writing as a case study, in order to reason about the design of integrated information retrieval and authoring systems. The empirical work begins with a lab-based exploratory study of news-writing which identifies phenomena for further consideration. Drawing on these, an interview study with journalists in a national newspaper newsroom provides a model of how journalists seek, gather and marshal information in the context of what is an uncertain and evolving task. Following this, writing and the way it relates to information behaviour is considered in more abstract terms based on the idea of writing as a design activity (Sharpies, 1996). Drawing on research from design psychology, this perspective forms the basis for a conceptualisation of writing within which findings from the newsroom study and other key information seeking research findings (particularly uncertainty and focus refinement) can be understood and explained. The thesis then draws together its various threads with a set of requirements for integrated information retrieval and authoring systems focussing once again on the task of journalistic writing. A novel experimental information retrieval and authoring system is described based on some of the requirements, and a study of journalists using the system is reported, validating theoretical contributions of the thesis as well as the system's functionality.