Archives for: March 2007
(Originally posted at Complexity and Social Networks Blog)
Many of us spend a considerable amount of time every day on searching for various kinds of information required to do our job. I find it quite fascinating to observe how individuals go about this task in different ways. In some professions (or organizations?) there seems to be a set of unwritten norms guiding search behavior. Then, of course, how we search depends on our personal traits and preferences. If you generally are not the person who picks up the phone and calls somebody as soon as a question arises, you will probably use alternative ways to retrieve the answer you are looking for - such as sending a request to a listserv, or googling a term. Furthermore, we often use a combination of sources and media for a single query, sometimes without even realizing this "sequencing behavior". Finally, our search patterns most likely vary according to the type of knowledge we are looking for, as well as other parameters. These are some of the trends that emerge from an NSF-sponsored research project I'm conducting with David Lazer and Ines Mergel, and more about this will be posted here soon. But let me now turn to you, my fellow bloggers (and whoever else feels like answering, of course!), and ask you to respond to this quick survey about your own search behavior:
1. What are the three types of questions that come up most frequently on your job?
2. How do you generally start off your search for information on these questions (in terms of source and medium)?
3. Does your search behavior vary according to the type of questions you have? How and why?
You might find that you engage in much more complex search behaviors than you realize. Or not. Be humorous about your answer, if you wish. Thanks for playing along!
Last night Ele crawled into the cabinet where we keep Olivia's litterbox. She fished out a box of catnip, then proudly carried her prey around the apartment. I went about some household chores, as usual a bit distracted after quite an exhausting day of teaching. It's actually better now that Ele plays by herself for 10 minutes or so - gives me some freedom of movement. After I put Ele to bed I opened the fridge to look for something to eat, and what did I find? The box of catnip.
Well, I turned 29 once again yesterday...it's getting a lot harder to pull off! Anyway, I was so touched by all the birthday wishes I got, in particular from really old friends (not age-wise, of course!). Thanks a bunch. You made my day. Fabian and I went to a play at City College (Mrs Dally has a lover, by William Hanley, a contemporary New Yorker), and had a feast of sushi and sashimi afterwards. Fabian had left Ohio extra early to celebrate with me, yeah!