Click to enlargeInformation Need: A Theory 
Connecting Information Search 
to Knowledge Formation
By Charles Cole

"Charles Cole has explored and conceptualized a remarkably under-studied area of information science—the information need. He puts the concept in its theoretical and practical context, integrates several key models in information retrieval and searching, and leads the reader to think about the topic in a whole new way. An excellent and much-needed addition to the literature."

—Marcia Bates, Graduate School of Education,
and Information Studies, University of California

Charles Cole digs deep into the need that motivates people to search for information and articulates a theory of information need as the basis for designing information retrieval (IR) systems that engage the user's knowledge/belief system. Cole describes how such systems use signals from the user's own information environment to reduce overload, improve search results, and enhance the usefulness of information delivered on mobile devices. He explains the benefits for disadvantaged sectors of society and profiles a working system. Information Need is an important text for researchers and students in information science, computer science, and HCI, and for anyone interested in current IR theory, practice, and systems design.

"Every search in the world is based on some information need. Every search algorithm in computer science is based on some stated or unstated assumption about information need. So is every study or professional action about searching in information science. For both fields this book is a mighty contribution to furthering understanding of the elusive but real notion of information need."

—Tefko Saracevic, PhD, Professor Emeritus,
School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University

2012/240 pp | ISBN 978-1-57387-429-8

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