Macro Approaches to Digital Searching and Secondary Research


  • Jonathan Mendel Levitt Goldsmiths College, London University, and The Open University, UK


The use of digital information can be approached from more than one angle. The main emphasis over the past decade has been on making a few basic tools (for instance, browsers and search mechanisms) powerful, versatile and easy to use. Coleman and Oxnam (2002) suggest both improving the usability of current tools and developing new ones. This article suggests focusing on the use of tools for searching digital information. The power of a search mechanism depends not only on how it is constructed but also on how it is used. Coleman and Oxnam ask: "How can interactional digital libraries enhance and augment human capabilities?" I ask a related question: "How can we use current tools such as search mechanisms more effectively?" Coleman and Oxnam wrote their article in the form of a challenge to JoDI readers, authors and researchers in the realm of interactional digital libraries. In a similar spirit, this article can be considered an initial investigation of this question.