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Information seeking: an overview of web tracking and the criteria for tracking software

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this article is to alert researchers to software for web tracking of information seeking behaviour, and to offer a list of criteria that will make it easier to select software. A selection of research projects based on web tracking as well as the benefits and disadvantages of web tracking are also explored. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An overview of the literature, including clarification of key concepts, a brief overview of studies of web information seeking behaviour based on web tracking, identification of software used, as well as the strengths and short-comings noted for web tracking is used as a background to the identification of criteria for the selection of web tracking software. Findings ‐ Web tracking can offer very valuable information for the development of websites, portals, digital libraries, etc. It, however, needs to be supplemented by qualitative studies, and researchers need to ensure that the tracking software will collect the data required. Research limitations/implications ‐ The criteria is not applied to any software in particular. Practical implications ‐ The criteria can be used by researchers working on web usage and web information seeking behaviour to select suitable tracking software. Originality/value ‐ Although there are many reports on the use of web tracking (also reported in this article), nothing could be traced on criteria for the evaluation of web tracking software.
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Keywords: Computer software; Information retrieval; Tracking; Worldwide web

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 29, 2007

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