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三田図書館・情報学会誌論文(論文ID LIS047001)

The Meaning of "Browsing": An Investigation of Definitions in Dictionaries and Usages in Newspapers, Web Pages and Papers on Other Subject than Library and Information Science
No.47, p.1-26

The term, “browsing” is regularly used in various situations. Hence it is important that any consideration of the meaning of the term “browsing” must not be restricted within the range of library and information science.

In this study, descriptions of “browsing” are collected and examined. Such descriptions are citations from: English dictionaries; newspaper articles in English and Japanese; Internet articles in English and Japanese; and papers in Japanese on subjects other than library and information science.

These sources show that the term is now used in a much broader sense than its original one of “to eat plants”. The term is even used with audio data, chance and information in general as its object. This is due to the fact that the concept of the object of “browsing” has broadened from one prototype “eating” while retaining the common factor of “to select what one needs from many”. As a result, it was found that anything can now be the object of browsing, insofar as it can be perceived as “information” for a person; namely the browser.

In conclusion, “browsing” is currently defined as: that action whereby one selects what one needs from many items, according to certain standards, using all the senses one can employ, in order to satisfy a vague requirement for information.

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