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This paper is part of a series which present elements of our research into technology adoption and usability problems faced by small businesses (SME’s) in Australia. We discuss our approach to research in the small business area, the importance of aggregating small businesses into vertical technology sectors and the usability improvements which can be expected from this collaborative approach. In this paper we focus on information retrieval requirements and the related usability problems which confront small businesses. We discuss adoption and usability issues, requirements and risks using a business case study, then introduce experiments which it is hoped will deliver efficiency improvements to information retrieval applications for small businesses.