Hence, with their active engagement, students could derive a storyline from exploring the
story characters, goals, actions, and states involved in the storybook’simagesandtext,
thus stimulating their story comprehension and language skills (Tompkins et al.,2013;
Verhallen and Bus, 2011).
With advances in technology and the rapid growth of digital storybooks, the success and
tactics of seeking digital storybooks have become increasingly important to elementary
students (Druin,2005). However, many design drawbacksin the conventional keyword-based
search interfaces may hinder elementary students from actively searching for digital
storybooks (Druin, 2005; Gossenand Nürnberger, 2013). Given thatmost elementary students
possess immature typing skills and limited vocabulary (Borgman et al., 1995), they often
experience difficulty in recalling,spelling, or typing keywords (Gossen and Nürnberger,2013;
Hutchinson et al., 2006). In addition, most of the conventional search interfaces mainly
employing bibliographic descriptionsof books, such as titles, authors, or publisher, etc., could
not meet children’s information needs regarding selecting digital books (Druin, 2005).
Since digital storybooks often include manyimages or animations to illustrate abstract ideas,
or depict events which happen to the story characters and in the various scenes (Yu, 2012),
elementarystudents may encounter difficulties conceptualizing and formulatingqueries using
bibliographic descriptions to search for vivid images in storybooks.
Given the aforementioned disadvantages of conventional search interfaces, many studies
have provided alternative approaches to support young children’s storybook searching.
For example, owing to young children’s inadequacies in spelling and typing keywords,
some visualized search interfaces which adopt a set of graphical icons representing
categories have been developed to promote book searching by way of visual representations
rather than textual descriptions (e.g. Busey and Doerr, 1993; Hirsh, 1997). These visualized
search interfaces allow children to search for books by browsing the graphical categories
rather than spelling keywords (Gossen and Nürnberger, 2013). Although the aforementioned
visualized search interfaces could eliminate the need to spell keywords and could be helpful
for children’s digital book searching (Hutchinson et al., 2006), they seldom address the
requirement and tactics of children’s digital storybook searching in accordance with
the distinguishing characteristics of storybooks. Given that the search tactics are crucial to
the success of information retrieval and could be helpful for storybook reading
( Jochmann-Mannak et al., 2008; Reuter, 2007), more studies are needed to examine how a
visualized search interface could assist children in the tactics of query formulation and the
performance of seeking digital storybooks.
Given the potential and need for a visualized search interface to support young
children’s tactics for searching for storybooks, the purposes of this study were twofold.
First, a query-oriented visualized search system utilizing graphical icons to represent the
story elements and concepts was developed to help elementary students seek their desired
storybooks. Instead of browsing categories, the query-oriented visualized search system
allows elementary students to construct search queries by assembling the graphical icons
to visually comprise story elements of the desired storybooks. The second purpose was to
explore the influence of the query-oriented visualized search system on elementary
students’tactics, success, and motivation for seeking storybooks.
2. Related work
2.1 Visualized search interfaces for children
In contrast to a conventional search interface which requires users to perform keyword
searches, a visualized search interface typically allows users to carry out a visual search
using graphical categories. Since many studies have indicated that children could
successfully recognize and recall images to grasp underlying concepts (Miller et al., 1999),
the visualized search interface could be deemed as a potential means of supporting