Human Information Retrieval. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010. viii, 189p.

  • Julian Warner

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Full-text searching is now ubiquitous and while this has reduced the salience of the conflict between controlled and uncontrolled vocabulary and changed the focus of the debate, it has given rise to new questions and problems (Warner, 2007; Warner, 2010).  Volkmar Engerer. Control and syntagmatization: vocabulary requirement in information retrieval thesauri and natural language lexicons. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.  Published online 27 February 2017 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/asi.23783

 

Warner’s language-informed account of ‘human information retrieval’ is an innovative approach.  As well as being a novel application of a structural linguistic concept to current information scientific problems it enables one to question the traditional assumptions of the IR community, for example the dogma of the ‘query transformation’ (Warner, 2010, p. 3) .… Warner has discovered new ways of applying linguistic concepts and language-related analogies and thus opened up new approaches to IR [information retrieval] research. Volkmar Engerer. Exploring interdisciplinary relationships between linguistics and information retrieval from the 1960s to today. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 68, 2017, pp.660–680

 

Warner's (2010) differentiation between IR [information retrieval] as query transformation versus KO [knowledge organization] as providing ‘selection power’ seems important and is taken as the point of departure … in both this and a following article. … Warner's two approaches (query transformation and selection power) may be useful as fundamental precepts on which to base an understanding of the role of KO in the electronic world … the perspective provided by Warner (2010) could be the way out of the crisis.  Birger Hjørland. Classical databases and knowledge organization: a case for Boolean retrieval and human decision-making during searches. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 66, 2015, pp.1559-2015 (pp.1561, 1562, 1570).

 

this theoretical, scholarly, and inspiring work that balances practical and theoretical aspects of human IR [information retrieval] ... its depth, value, and originality should not be neglected ... a useful contribution to the IR literature. Alireza Isfandyari-Moghaddam. Library Resources & Technical Services. 56, 2012, p.215

 

The approach is marvellously materialist. ...  [the book] offers examples which illustrate searching on words and phrases using the theoretical model – and what examples!  The use of an example drawn from ‘Horse Feathers’ as illustration is to be highly commended!  ...  This is an extremely interesting book. Truly scholarly and theoretical, it draws from a range of disciplines, including information science, philosophy, linguistics and communication science. Warner draws all these seemingly disparate strands into an elegant and coherent whole, demonstrating that there are similarities, analogies, things to be learned from delving wide. There are many other treasures in this book, which is a valuable theoretical contribution to the literature of information retrieval. Pauline Rafferty. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. 43, 2011, pp.60-61.

 

Human Information Retrieval presents its readers with an interesting perspective on IR that well repays study.  ...  the labor-theoretic approach ... is structurally elegant and has the potential to be a very useful model for ‘macroscopic’ thinking about the design and evaluation of IR systems. ... a genuinely illuminating account of IR as a human phenomenon. Thomas M. Dousa. College & Research Libraries. 71, 5, 2010, pp.496-498.

 

This book … presents a very clear theoretical approach to the subject … The high level abstractions and theory are exemplified by actual examples from the library and information practice and internet, mostly information retrieval applications for full-text.  This closeness to the real world and examples taken not only from the modern information retrieval systems but also from earlier means of accessing information stored in various ways (including human brain) is an exceptionally attractive feature of the proposed approach. …  I would recommend the book to be acquired by all information science departments as a good theoretical introduction, not only to information retrieval as such, but also as a more general approach to an explanation of one of the most significant components of several information professions: description and search labour.  Elena Maceviciute. Information Research. 15(3), 2010, review no. R383, 2010.

 

Julian Warner makes a hitting yet poignant and thought-provoking remark right at the onset of his book … academics and other professionals have given more attention to the practical understanding of information retrieval than to a full theoretical account.  … The book is straightforward … simple and illustrative. … the book combines Warner’s excellent grasp of the information technology and web search along with his ability to humanise and personalise web content.  Warner emphasises that information is not just about information technology and indexing and computation but also about people, mental labour and literature. Archana Venkatraman.  Information World Review. 20 Apr 2010.

 

This lucid book … This is a difficult but well written and extremely relevant book, which contains a thorough academic treatment of HIR [human information retrieval] from the perspective of a labor theoretic approach.  There are many historical analogies used within the text, which help to explain the origins of the study of human information retrieval.  It manages to bridge the gap between practical and theoretical aspects of HIR in a coherent and meaningful fashion. …  Researchers in HIR will find this an invaluable and thought provoking resource. Advanced undergraduate students and postgraduate students pursuing modules or a course in information resources management will also find much of relevance to their study. Stuart Fitz-Gerald. International Journal of Information Management. 30, 2, 2010, pp.180-181.

 

his theoretical, scholarly, and inspiring work that balances practical and theoretical aspects of human IR [information retrieval] ... its depth, value, and originality should not be neglected ... a useful contribution to the IR literature. Alireza Isfandyari-Moghaddam. Library Resources & Technical Services. 56, 2012, p.215

 

 

Period01 Oct 2012

Media coverage

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Media coverage

  • TitleHuman Information Retrieval. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010. viii, 189p.
    Date01/10/2012
    PersonsJulian Warner