A reference model for user-system interaction in thesaurus-based searching

Dorothee Blocks*, Daniel Cunliffe, Douglas Tudhope

*Corresponding author for this work

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The authors present a model of information searching in thesaurus-enhanced search systems, intended as a reference model for system developers. The model focuses on user-system interaction and charts the specific stages of searching an indexed collection with a thesaurus. It was developed based on literature, findings from empirical studies, and analysis of existing systems. The model describes in detail the entities, processes, and decisions when interacting with a search system augmented with a thesaurus. A basic search scenario illustrates this process through the model. Graphical and textual depictions of the model are complemented by a concise matrix representation for evaluation purposes. Potential problems at different stages of the search process are discussed, together with possibilities for system developers. The aim is to set out a framework of processes, decisions, and risks involved in thesaurus-based search, within which system developers can consider potential avenues for support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1655-1665
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • information-retrieval
  • query expansion
  • seeking
  • design
  • selection
  • keys
  • tactics
  • access


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