The Knowledge Management Research Group

Scenario: Introducing searches

Eric is preparing an essay on contemporary politics in the middle east with a special focus on Lebanon. His teacher points to some books for background reading but encourages him to search for material on the web for material that haven't made it into the history books yet.

Searching for the words 'Lebanon politics' yields 232 000 hits on google with more or less relevance, many of them in newspapers or personal homepages.

Foreseeing a big job sorting out the relevant material Eric changes approach to search on edutella instead. Searching on edutella can be done in simple web-forms for the most common queries, specific queries requires either that you grasp the query formalism or that you use a graphical tool for drawing queries as graphs with some known and some unknown parts. After some initial tries with the web-forms he knows how he would pose the question so he starts drawing the query in the query-mode in the Conzilla-tool. He starts with a template query for article searches. He changes the requirement of document type from the general text to scientific work, date-of-creation to cover only 1980 and after, language to cover both english, german and french and leaves the title requirement free. If he where to send the query now it would hit everything from physics to literature, hence he adds the demand of politics as subject and Lebanon as either a keyword or another subject. He nows have only one demand left, someone involved should be formally related to a higher education system. So he adds that an author or contributor should be a professor or similar on a university. The professorship is marked as optional, not required.

He launches the query and stores it for further use in his portfolio. Edutella returns around 20 resources, or rather the meta-data that describes them. Eric inspects the results and sees that most of them looks interesting, stores them in the portfolio as unread and starts with the most promising.

After read a couple of them he realises that there might be others that have read those works and had some thoughts on their relevance and such. He draws another query, this time with the resources given asking for comments, annotations or general relations to reviews etc. Again he adds the requirement that it should be in english, german or french language, but this time it is added on the meta-data not on the resource he already found.

One of the searches returns large amounts of meta-data from both students and researchers from all over the world, they seem to disagree on the conclusions of the article. Eric guesses that this is an indication that he stumbled over an important paper. He checks the dates and reference lists of the works; indeed all publications after reference this paper.

After some days of reading Eric has read or looked through most of the works and one of the books the teacher gave him. He now has an idea on how two opposite schools is interpreting recent events to lead to two different futures. He develops this idea in his essay together with a summary of recent events with pointers to different interpretations. On the end he formulate his own impression and suggest some interpretation close to one of the discussed. He also leaves a reference in his essay to his porfolio where the queries and some maps he drawn with respect of the two schools can be inspected.


  • Meta-data form-searches
  • Meta-data graph-searches
  • Context-map drawings
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