Document (#32848)

Author
Raper, J.
Title
Geographic relevance
Source
Journal of documentation. 63(2007) no.6, S.836-852
Year
2007
Abstract
Purpose - The purpose of this paper concerns the dimensions of relevance in information retrieval systems and their completeness in new retrieval contexts such as mobile search. Geography as a factor in relevance is little understood and information seeking is assumed to take place in indoor environments. Yet the rise of information seeking on the move using mobile devices implies the need to better understand the kind of situational relevance operating in this kind of context. Design/methodology/approach - The paper outlines and explores a geographic information seeking process in which geographic information needs (conditioned by needs and tasks, in context) drive the acquisition and use of geographic information objects, which in turn influence geographic behaviour in the environment. Geographic relevance is defined as "a relation between a geographic information need" (like an attention span) and "the spatio-temporal expression of the geographic information objects needed to satisfy it" (like an area of influence). Some empirical examples are given to indicate the theoretical and practical application of this work. Findings - The paper sets out definitions of geographical information needs based on cognitive and geographic criteria, and proposes four canonical cases, which might be theorised as anomalous states of geographic knowledge (ASGK). The paper argues that geographic relevance is best defined as a spatio-temporally extended relation between information need (an "attention" span) and geographic information object (a zone of "influence"), and it defines four domains of geographic relevance. Finally a model of geographic relevance is suggested in which attention and influence are modelled as map layers whose intersection can define the nature of the relation. Originality/value - Geographic relevance is a new field of research that has so far been poorly defined and little researched. This paper sets out new principles for the study of geographic information behaviour.

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