Exploring support for the unconquerable barriers in information seeking

Yiwei Wang, Chirag Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Individuals are often faced with various types of barriers and failures when they look for information. They sometimes fail to locate their desired information after trying or even exhausting all of their known sources. Research has mostly focused on the barriers people face on the Web, but experiences with information seeking failures—particularly those that involve offline channels in real life scenarios—are understudied. In an exploratory qualitative study reported here, 63 survey participants and 10 interview participants contributed a total of 230 examples of information seeking failures and various supportive measures that would/might have prevented those failures. Their narrations not only offer rich pictures of what went wrong in information seeking episodes, but also further our understanding of the types of support that may improve the outcomes of individuals' information seeking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Information seeking failures
  • information seeking support


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