Why Some Retrieval Systems Are Used And Others Are Not

Editor's Note: On the preceding page, Eugene Garfield pays tribute to information science pioneer Calvin N. Mooers, who died in December 1994 and who was memorialized at last October's annual meeting of the American Society for Information Science. Here The Scientist presents a classic article by Mooers, originally delivered as part of a panel discussion in 1959 and republished last year in the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science as a prelude to the October meeting. Some c

Calvin Mooers
Mar 16, 1997

Editor's Note: On the preceding page, Eugene Garfield pays tribute to information science pioneer Calvin N. Mooers, who died in December 1994 and who was memorialized at last October's annual meeting of the American Society for Information Science. Here The Scientist presents a classic article by Mooers, originally delivered as part of a panel discussion in 1959 and republished last year in the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science as a prelude to the October meeting.
Some critical remarks about retrieval systems-and the environment in which they are used-would seem to be in order at this point. We are all aware that some retrieval systems, although technically rather poor, nevertheless receive intensive use, while other systems, sometimes technically very much better, receive very little customer use. Why is this?

I should like to explain this situation by advancing for your consideration a principle or law of behavior...

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