Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Database Systems

pp 267-268


  • Kent WittenburgAffiliated withMitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, Inc.


Perusal; Scanning


“Browsing” has two definitions in the context of visual interfaces for database systems:
  1. 1.

    The human activity of visual perception and interpretation of electronic content when there is no specific target object being sought.

  2. 2.

    The human activity of clicking or tapping on a sequence of elements in an information display that results in a sequence of screens of information state.

Definition (1) implies something about the mental intent of the user performing the act of information processing. The intent can be to learn the gist of “what is there.” It may be to take in information in order to be entertained or informed. Or it may simply be a part of involuntary visual scanning within an environment. In the physical world, examples include flipping through the pages of a book, scanning quickly through a menu, or glancing down a store aisle.

Definition (2) is used in the context of contrasting the human-computer interaction paradigm of link- ...

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