Beginning “Pioneers of IR” Paper Research

I decided to get a head start on the “Pioneers of IR” paper assignment this weekend, and chose Karen Sparck Jones as my subject.  In reading our textbook about her work, I realized that I had prior experience with the concepts of term weighting and inverse document frequency as part of a project I worked on at my job many years ago, and decided it would be interesting to learn the theory behind it.

I went to the USF Library home page and for starters did a broad keyword search on Karen Sparck Jones with no limitations, no quotes, and retrieved 949 items.  I noticed that the list was retrieved in “relevance” order as a default and wondered what constituted “relevance,” but as 949 items was too many to think about anyway, I decided first to use quotes (708 items, still too many) and then no quotes, but the “Subject” field limiter (13 items – too few).

I have noticed that I am questioning “Why did I get what I got?” as part of this research project but also in everyday internet searching much more, and am more uneasy about what I am probably missing than I may have been previously.  Great. I thought I had good research skills, but am starting to question that.


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