The elusive tale: leveraging the study of information seeking and knowledge organization to improve access to and discovery of folktales

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Abstract

The “Folktales and Facets” project proposes ways to enhance access to folktales—in written and audiovisual formats—through the systematic and rigorous development of user-focused and task-focused models of information representation. Methods used include cognitive task analysis and facet analysis to better understand the information-seeking and information-use practices of people working with folktales and the intellectual dimensions of the domain. Interviews were conducted with 9 informants, representing scholars, storytellers, and teachers who rely on folktales in their professional lives to determine common tasks across user groups. Four tasks were identified: collect, create, instruct, and study. Facet analysis was conducted on the transcripts of these interviews, and a representative set of literature that included subject indexing material and a random stratified set of document surrogates drawn from a collection of folktales, including bibliographic records, introductions, reviews, tables of contents, and bibliographies. Eight facets were identified as most salient for this group of users: agent, association, context, documentation, location, subject, time, and viewpoint. Implications include the need for systems designers to devise methods for harvesting and integrating extant contextual material into search and discovery systems, and to take into account user-desired features in the development of enhanced services for digital repositories.

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