Search Foundations

From History and Foundations of Information Science

Search Foundations

Toward a Science of Technology-Mediated Experience

By Sachi Arafat and Elham Ashoori

A call to redirect the intellectual focus of information retrieval and science (IR&S) toward the phenomenon of technology-mediated experience.





A call to redirect the intellectual focus of information retrieval and science (IR&S) toward the phenomenon of technology-mediated experience.

In this book, Sachi Arafat and Elham Ashoori issue a call to reorient the intellectual focus of information retrieval and science (IR&S) away from search and related processes toward the more general phenomenon of technology-mediated experience. Technology-mediated experience accounts for an increasing proportion of human lived experience; the phenomenon of mediation gets at the heart of the human-machine relationship. Framing IR&S more broadly in this way generalizes its problems and perspectives, dovetailing them with those shared across disciplines dealing with socio-technical phenomena. This reorientation of IR&S requires imagining it as a new kind of science: a science of technology-mediated experience (STME). Arafat and Ashoori not only offer detailed analysis of the foundational concepts underlying IR&S and other technical disciplines but also boldly call for a radical, systematic appropriation of the sciences and humanities to create a better understanding of the human-technology relationship.

Arafat and Ashoori discuss the notion of progress in IR&S and consider ideas of progress from the history and philosophy of science. They argue that progress in IR&S requires explicit linking between technical and nontechnical aspects of discourse. They develop a network of basic questions and present a discursive framework for addressing these questions. With this book, Arafat and Ashoori provide both a manifesto for the reimagining of their field and the foundations on which a reframed IR&S would rest.


$65.00 X ISBN: 9780262038591 448 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 b&w illus.


  • As our society becomes ever more dependent on information and communication technologies, there is a pressing need for reflection on the conceptual and philosophical bases of our digital technologies. Sachi Arafat and Elham Ashoori provide such a foundational approach to search, and it is to be warmly welcomed.

    David Bawden

    Professor of Information Science, City, University of London; co-author of Introduction to Information Science

  • Search Foundations is an ambitious, extensive, and thoughtful piece that explores the importance of foundations discourse, IR & S, and the idea of the science of technology-mediated experience. A thought-provoking journey.

    Lai Ma

    Lecturer/Assistant Professor, School of Information and Communication Studies, University College Dublin

  • We live in a world of search engines. Understanding search as technology-mediated experience, the work addresses the foundations of classic information retrieval research. Well informed and widely rooted. Highly recommended for those with the courage and desire to challenge received theories.

    Julian Warner

    Queen's University Belfast; Author of Human Information Retrieval