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The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff$
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Ofer Bergman and Steve Whittaker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035170

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035170.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 19 February 2020

The Search Alternative

The Search Alternative

(p.107) 5 The Search Alternative
The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff

Ofer Bergman

Steve Whittaker

The MIT Press

The two main retrieval strategies for accessing personal information are navigation and search. Critics of navigation point out that information is hidden from sight in folders that are often within other folders; so people have to remember the exact location of information in order to access it. Despite these arguments, several studies show that search is not the main way that people actually access their files. Instead people generally prefer to manually navigate to information rather than using desktop search. This preference is independent of the quality of the search engine used, and improved search engines do not reduce the extent to which people actively organize their information. Except when finding new web information, people use search only as a last resort when accessing personal files.

Keywords:   Personal information retrieval, Navigation, Search, hierarchical folders, desktop search engines

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