Around 1980 Nicholas Belkin proposed a new model for understanding information seeking, called ASK: Anomalous States of Knowledge. (See Part 1 and Part 11 of this landmark article). A key tenant of this model is that information needs are difficult to precisely expressed. Seekers, sometimes even experts in a given information system, are not able to properly formulate queries to access the information they need. Information retrieval systems should help people ask the right questions to get the right answers.
Search Radar has an interesting approach that would reflect the ASK view of information seeking. Instead of returning links to other web pages, Search Radar gives back a list of related terms. These are display in a link cloud and in a list. From this list, you can then search a major search engine. Yes, it’s an intermediate step, but for unknown or vague information, it might be a step that adds clarity to the seeker’s strategy.