I’m trying to wrap my head around all of the information I’m reading about image search. Search, retrieval, information, data, all of these terms are loaded, and used differently depending on whether I’m reading an HCI paper, a text analysis paper, or a blog post about search engine optimisation (SEO).
In hopes of simplifying things, I’ve settled on a human-centred, conceptual definition of search:
Search refers to the process of a user developing a need, defining a query, retrieving information, viewing result(s), providing feedback, and refinements of those steps.
The end result does not have to be finding a single result. Occasionally, other steps in the search process, such as seeing a result set, can satisfy the users need. For example, if the need was to gain information (“What does a ’87 Oldsmobile Toronado FE3 look like?”) rather than find a specific image (“I need a picture of a black ’84 Cutty!”), viewing the result set may be enough.
Figure 1 is an illustrates the definition of search, in the human and interface context.