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Index Versus Full-text Search: A Usability Study of User Preference and Performance

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This article reports on the results of testing two versions of an information product, Usability testing and research: one version, an Adobe Acrobat Reader e-book with an index with the locators hyperlinked to the page reference for each entry; the other version, the same e-book without an index, but with the full-text search capabilities provided by Acrobat Reader. We first summarize the current literature regarding human indexing and information retrieval by machine (search engines). We then describe the methodology for testing, the testing results, our conclusions, and implications for future research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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