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Presentation of Search Results Guidelines for deliverables Ying Sun.

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1 Presentation of Search Results Guidelines for deliverables Ying Sun

2 Central ideas A search is not finished with the search Effectiveness of results is enhanced with proper presentation Added value

3 Goals Create reports that –delight –enlighten –assure –guide to next In a format that is –easy to interpret & use –maximize utilization for decision-making –minimize information overload But don’t go overboard

4 Why? To enhance –potential use of information –comprehension –assimilation –recall –user satisfaction To save time for user To boost your professional position and success

5 Basic considerations Presentation is governed by –user characteristics –user task – request –expected use –economics (time & money) Form follows function –there is no one-size-fits-all –deliverables are mostly customized –but standardized templates, forms, packages may be used for given occassion

6 Clues for customizing Information about a desired deliverable are gathered –from user – interview, request user model –analysis or description about how user is using information Experience –own, from previous encounters –suggestions from literature & studies considerable body of knowledge on the topic of presentation in a number of fields, e.g. visualization, effective communication, writing skills –for writing get Strunk & White Elements of Style

7 Restrictions Economics –time & money available Resources available Technical capabilities Institutional policies User requirements, tolerances, knowledge … Knowledge and skill in packaging and presenting information:

8 Worst Scenario Delivering print-outs of results or pages –no arrangement –no editing, sorting … –no explanation –equals dumping Everything else is added value –it could be minimum, or it could increase with added processing

9 Enlighten: Synthesis of Results Varies in analysis and detail Minimum: Executive summary –salient steps & findings –succinct - often bulleted Higher level: Overview –summation of pertinent information found –extracting nuggets of gold –including recommendations Highest: Report or brief –written narrative, trends analysis, compilation of findings e.g. market reports –articles found serve as references

10 Overall: Content Guidelines In executive summary –restate the search query –review sources consulted –explain search strategy –reiterate key findings –summarize recommendations These could be elaborated in report –Include full & organized search results each section preceded by a synthesis –Include recommendations (if applicable) about sources guidelines for user to proceed

11 Delight: Packaging Guidelines Users should want to read your report –make an attractive title page –make it readable wide margins, larger font, serif typeface –use section headings liberally –use visual elements where information lends itself graphs, tables, charts simplify complex not complicate simple –make it easily handable don’t mess with paper clips & rubber bands

12 Delight … (cont.) –Length depends heavily on user short summary backed by longer original documents –Source documents well organized could be converted from different types, formats into a standard one –Could make & use a standard template, if repeatedly delivering stylized headings (e.g. from Word) –Could also provide a digitized version/section to use hyperlinks, & for cut & paste

13 Organize: Search results guidelines What to include depends on sources, request, user requirements, domain e.g. bibl. citations, abstracts, selected full texts, tables, graphs, tables of content web sources, screen shots of web pages Organize by –topic(s), each preceded by a short summary –possibly also by assessment relevance potential value, timeliness authority, comprehensiveness readability, clarity

14 Assessments – if used Relevance to topic –provide your own judgment and appropriateness and explain your criteria Value to task –explain your consideration Authority –if not obvious, explain authority or lack about items Qualify –You are NOT doctor, lawyer, chemist, historian … but you know about information sources “It would appear…” “Judging from…” “In this researcher (study) opinion…”

15 Assure Guidelines Users need to be assured that they received best information –(for the time & money available) In the report describe in appropriate places –sources & methodology used –parameters of search inclusions, exclusions –definitions of terms, if necessary –citing specific sources in summary & referring to articles –if assessed, criteria and procedures

16 Recommendations Include ( details depend on user & request) –where can the user get further information on his/her own –if citations only, where & how can full articles be obtained –what institutions may be most relevant or helpful to consult –where and how can the user get training in searching e.g. the internet –who are possible contacts – addresses, emails … –how much would cost if proceeding on commercial sources or professional searchers

17 Common User Criteria My question was understood and addressed I do not have to comb through 50 pages to get the answer I can easily follow what was presented Now I know more for decisions I have to make, I am less uncertain Or: I can’t deal with this – it is a mess

18 At the End How information is delivered can make a or break a search –or you & your library Guidelines for good practices exist (& should be followed) to: –enlighten – synthesis –organize - content & inclusion –delight – presentation –asses –assure –recommend

19 Tips To render a free logo or button for your report go to: Formatting a research report APA style guide Information visualization projects

20 A Popular Book:

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