Interface Design Issues in Providing Access to Databases Using Semantic Classification Techniques

Philip J. Smith, Bekka Denninng


A primary goal of Classification is to assist information seekers in finding materials of use to them. These materials may be books, they may be songs, they may be examples of architectural designs. Given this goal, it is not sufficient to ask: How can we classify a set of materials so as to discriminate among the members of this set? Instead, we must ask the broader question: What classification will be most effective in helping information seekers to achieve their goals? To answer this question, classification research becomes closely intertwined with questions about the needs of prospective information seekers, about the ways in which they can access and use the results of the classification process, and about the cognitive processes of the information seeker that arise during the search process. In this paper, we explore some of the issues raised by this broader systems perspective.

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