The objective of this study is to examine the characteristics of queries raised by searchers in the process of collecting image information. The study involves 30 photo editors using the photo archive database system of the Associated Press (AP) to retrieve specific, general, and subjective photos. The results show that searchers usually raise a great number of queries per search and each query contains few terms. Generally, searchers utilize various combinations of terms on a trial-and-error basis to find relevant photos. Image retrieval for subjective photos is revealed to be the most difficult for searchers to formulate and reformulate queries, and as a result more complex querying strategies are employed. The study suggests that a sensitive and responsive thesaurus system be established, whose display of synonymous and hierarchical terms may help searchers construct their queries more correctly and more efficiently. In addition, an image system that can integrate current theories in human linguistic and visual processing is also desirable, which may offer better support for image retrieval by allowing searchers to simultaneously input both textual and visual queries.
圖書與資訊學刊, 80(4:1), 13-36 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science