Literature/1996/Ingwersen

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Ingwersen, Peter (1996). "Cognitive Perspectives of Information Retrieval Interaction: Elements of a Cognitive IR Theory," Journal of Documentation, 51(1): 3–50. DOI: 10.1108/eb026960

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Abstract[edit | edit source]

The SUI (system-user interaction) or CHI (computer-human interaction) schema. While being no part of this paper, this may help understand the interaction of the system's "information space" and the user's "cognitive space" on occasions of hypertext or text retrieval in contrast to the traditional metadata retrieval based on "partial [keyword] matching".

The objective of the paper is to amalgamate theories of text retrieval from various research traditions into a cognitive theory for information retrieval interaction. [c 1] Set in a cognitive framework, the paper outlines the concept of polyrepresentation applied to both the user's cognitive space and the information space of IR systems. The concept seeks to represent the current user's information need, problem state, and domain work task or interest in a structure of causality. Further, it implies that we should apply different methods of representation and a variety of IR techniques of different cognitive and functional origin simultaneously to each semantic full-text entity in the information space. The cognitive differences imply that by applying cognitive overlaps of information objects, originating from different interpretations of such objects through time and by type, the degree of uncertainty inherent in IR is decreased. Polyrepresentation and the use of cognitive overlaps are associated with, but not identical to, data fusion in IR. By explicitly incorporating all the cognitive structures participating in the interactive communication processes during IR, the cognitive theory provides a comprehensive view of these processes. It encompasses the ad hoc theories of text retrieval and IR techniques hitherto developed in mainstream retrieval research. It has elements in common with van Rijsbergen and Lalmas' logical uncertainty theory and may be regarded as compatible with that conception of IR. Epistemologically speaking, the theory views IR interaction as processes of cognition, potentially occurring in all the information processing components of IR, that may be applied, in particular, to the user in a situational context. The theory draws upon basic empirical results from information seeking investigations in the operational online environment, and from mainstream IR research on partial matching techniques and relevance feedback. By viewing users, source systems, intermediary mechanisms and information in a global context, the cognitive perspective attempts a comprehensive understanding of essential IR phenomena and concepts, such as the nature of information needs, cognitive inconsistency and retrieval overlaps, logical uncertainty, the concept of 'document', relevance measures and experimental settings. An inescapable consequence of this approach is to rely more on sociological and psychological investigative methods when evaluating systems and to view relevance in IR as situational, relative, partial, differentiated and non-linear. The lack of consistency among authors, indexers, evaluators or users is of an identical cognitive nature. It is unavoidable, and indeed favourable to IR. In particular, for full-text retrieval, alternative semantic entities, including Salton et al.'s 'passage retrieval', are proposed to replace the traditional document record as the basic retrieval entity. These empirically observed phenomena of inconsistency and of semantic entities and values associated with data interpretation support strongly a cognitive approach to IR and the logical use of polyrepresentation, cognitive overlaps, and both data fusion and data diffusion. [1]

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w: Human-computer interaction, HCI
Originally, CHI sounding like Greek "X" and suggesting the crossing or interaction between computer and human, as shown by the above schematic diagram.

Chronology[edit | edit source]

##
Maybe dehumanizing or cognitivist symptoms.

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  1. Cognitive theory of IR had begun two decades earlier than this paper, as may be roughly suggested by Belkin (1976). Indeed, there was an incisive theoretical refutation of the mainstream IR tradition fatally based on cognitivist, objectivist or positivist "partial [keyword] matching" or simply "word magic" Ogden & Richards (1923) definitely refuted a half century ago. But few knew their theory, when it was used to refute such IR systems as SMART that "performs a fully automatic content analysis of the texts" (Salton 1971) which must escape from robustness as far as mindless of the mind, cognitive or knowing subject. What if this refutation was a historical fact that exactly coincided with the cognitive revolution proper that perhaps started from c. 1975 instead of c. 1957? Debatably, the former triggered the latter. Either was a humanist revolt against mechanization and dehumanization. Anyway, IR underwent an invisible revolution! The author would make that long invisible visible, regardless of its historicity whether to his knowledge or ignorance. This may be a preliminary step to claim the role IR played in the cognitive revolution.
  2. George Miller and others prefer the 1957 to the 1975 version of the cognitive revolution as a result of the 1956 Dartmouth Conference as a result of this cognitivist manifesto or proposal (McCarthy et al. 1955), centering around MIT. They looked to "the machine that thinks" "As We May Think" (Bush 1945). To be precise, therefore, the former version should be called the cognitivist revolution aiming for mechanization and dehumanization, hence in sharp contrast to the latter, that is, the cognitive revolution proper aiming for humanization or human-centrism. Cognitivists may prefer cognitive to cognitivist to water down human-centric cognitive movements, say, anti-cognitivism. Their watering down may have made a great success by virtue of such preference. Profit-making would be the main motivation for cognitivist human-like machines, whereas sense-making for humanist cognitive human-centered designs.

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The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."