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Volume 8 / Issue 5

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-008-05-0557


The Role of Interaction Histories in Mental Model Building and Knowledge Sharing in the Legal Domain

Anita Komlodi (UMBC, USA)

Abstract: This paper reports on a study examining attorneys and law librarians use of their memory and information they record externally in searching for, using, and sharing legal information. The paper suggests automatically and manually recording search histories and basing user interface tools on this information to support mental model building and knowledge sharing in the legal information domain. The research described is part of the author s dissertation research [1] that examined the use of search histories in legal information seeking and use, and proposed interface design recommendations for information systems. While searching for and using information, attorneys learn about legal topics and use this knowledge in their work. They create mental models and share their new knowledge with colleagues. Computers can automatically record human-computer interaction events. This information can help searchers represent and share new knowledge. The recorded information can be provided back to the user through the user interface to support searching for and using information, learning about the subject matter and sharing this knowledge with others. In this study, attorneys and law librarians were interviewed and observed to assess their use of their memory and external memory aids while searching for and using legal information. The results reported here focus on the role of interaction histories and history-based interface tools in supporting mental model development of legal information seekers of a topical area and sharing this information with other users.

Keywords: information retrieval, legal informatics, search histories

Categories: D.2.2, H.3.3