by Gord Hotchkiss
In the last two columns, I looked at how search plays a part when we’re in two information gathering states: I know what I’m looking for and where to find it; and, I know what I’m looking for but not where to find it. Today, I’ll look at what happens when we don’t know what we’re looking for or where to find it.
In the first two states, our intent is pretty well defined. We’re looking for a piece of a puzzle and we know the shape of that piece when we see it. In information foraging terms, we’ve already defined our diet. It’s just a question of which patch we look in. When we extend that to search engine usage, we have already defined our query, and it’s just a question of how we interact with the results page. In both these states, search engines work pretty well.