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Abstract

As more people gain at-home access to the Internet, information seeking on the Web has become embedded in everyday life. The objective of this study was to characterize the home as an information use environment and to identify a range of information seeking and Web-search behaviors at home. Twelve Northern California residents were recruited, and the data were collected through semi-structured at-home interviews based on a self-reported Search Activities Diary that subjects kept over a 3–5 day period. The data were analyzed on four levels: home environment, information seeking goals, information retrieval interaction, and search query. Findings indicated that the home, indeed, provided a distinct information use environment beyond physical setting alone in which the subjects used the Web for diverse purposes and interests. Based on the findings, the relationships among home environment, Web context, and interaction situation were identified with respect to user goals and information-seeking behaviors.