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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3831

Title: Q&A service overload: how many does the web really need?
Authors: Rozaklis, Lillian
MacDonald, Craig M.
Keywords: Question-answering systems
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2009
Series/Report no.: IST Research Day 2009 posters
Abstract: Question asking is an ordinary and everyday activity that people spend a considerable amount of time engaged in. A familiar approach for locating answers to questions is by typing keywords into search engines, but an alternative route is soliciting help from others. Historically, librarians have played a major role in assisting people in finding answers to their questions, and have extended their reach into the online environment (e.g., Ask Here PA). Similarly, educational institutions, including museums and universities, have provided services which connect experts with users around domain-specific problems (e.g., Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Ask Joan of Art). But, in recent years, there has been a proliferation of online question answering services spearheaded by commercial entities (e.g., Yahoo! Answers), with users themselves answering others’ questions. The New York Times’ observation that “everybody’s an expert” is even truer today than when it was first made in 2000. The purpose of this research is to create a typology of online question answering services from a sample of commercial and noncommercial sites. On a small scale, this examination will yield observations about the dimensions which distinguish one service from the others, and may provide users with guidance when selecting which service to consult with their question. On a larger scale, this typology presents a broad overview of the types of services available to global information users, allows for speculation about what may be lacking or necessary for future development, and offers information professionals the opportunity to explore what role they can play in this increasingly crowded online information space.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3831
Appears in Collections:Research Day Posters (IST)

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