Homework 1

After today's lecture, and after doing the assigned readings, you should have a good sense of the different ways that humans go about seeking for and consuming information. For this assignment, I would like you to pick several (at least three) of the real-world IR systems from the list below, and do the following:
  1. Spend some time getting to know the systems. Try out several searches types of searches on each one (personal interest, imagined academic or professional information needs, etc.). Look for and play with any "advanced" search modes that might be on offer.
  2. For each system, write a short paragraph addressing the following questions:
  3. Write a summary paragraph with your overall impressions of the systems you examined. What was surprising? What did you find particularly difficult (or easy) about using the different systems? How did the different systems support different styles of information need, and how did they differ from one another?
  4. For extra credit (and fun!), pick two of the comparable systems from the list (NYT/WaPo, State Dept. Official vs. Wikileaks, MedlinePlus/WebMD/Up2Date) and write me a similar paragraph comparing and contrasting the two.
The systems you have to choose from are the following: Turn in your assignment via email, with "IR HW1" in the title. Assignments are due April 7th.

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