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Principles and practices associated with searching of a variety of information resources, based on professional services for information users and interactions between people-information-technology. Structure and vocabulary of resources relevant to searching. Information retrieval (IR) models, including Boolean (exact match), ranking (best match), and interactive models; web search engines; web resources. Interactive processes in information seeking and searching; mediation and interviewing process to model users. Search strategies and tactics for effective searching. Presentation and evaluation of search results. Ethics in searching. Includes laboratory exercises using a variety of resources from vendors, such as DIALOG and LEXIS/NEXIS, the web, and digital libraries.
The purpose of the course Principles of Searching is to study the human-human and human-computer interaction as relevant to effective searching of contemporary information resources on behalf of users seeking information. The course provides a base for further and life-long learning necessary to cope with the ever-changing pragmatic world of searching. Therefore, it includes both theoretical and practical aspects.
The objectives are for students to achieve an integrated understanding of the complex relations in searching in respect to:
A. Content: The subject, structure, and vocabularies of a variety of information resources in databases, on the web, and in digital libraries, as they affect searching.
B. Systems: Various models of information retrieval (IR) systems, the web search engines, and digital libraries, particularly as relevant to searching.
C. Human-computer interaction: Principles for effective searching and variations in search strategies and tactics.
D. Human-human interaction: User information seeking as the context for searching and the process of mediation and interviewing involved in user modeling.
E. Results: Alternatives in presentation of results to users and evaluation of retrieval results.
F. Professional concerns: Ethical norms applied to searching and sources for life-long learning.
Organization of the Course
The course is organized along the six themes as outlined in the objectives above. Each theme has two or three modules or units of instruction addressing specific topics. In addition there is an introductory theme "At the start? and a concluding one "At the end," each having one module.
Altogether, there are 16 modules, one for each week in the semester, as enumerated below. In turn, each module has an outline addressing the Why? What? and How? of the module. The How? section provides a link to associated lecture, assignment, exercise, and tips for thought for the module. You can also find the list of all lectures, assignments, exercises, and tips for thought.
AT THE START
Module 1. Overview of the course and a bit of history
Module 2. Types and structures of information resources
Module 3. Types and structures of vocabularies
Module 4. Information retrieval
Module 5. Interaction in information retrieval
Module 6. Search engines. Digital libraries
C. HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION
Module 7. Search techniques and effectiveness
Module 8. Advanced searching
Module 9. Web search and the invisible web
D. HUMAN-HUMAN INTERACTION
Module 10. Information seeking. User modeling
Module 11. Mediation between search intermediaries and users
Module 12. Evaluation of search sources and results
Module 13. Presentation to users
F. PROFESSIONAL CONCERNS
Module 14. Ethics. Competitive intelligence
Module 15. Keeping up: sources for life-time learning
AT THE END
Module 16. Student presentations and conclusion
The class is structured around five components:
(i) lectures, (ii) assignments - readings with summaries, (iii) exercises - performance of given tasks, (iv) discussions within groups or class as a whole, and (v) term project.
The course is organized in modules - weekly units related to given topic. Each module has a lecture assignment and exercise, also involving a discussion. In addition, each module includes "Tips for thought," containing informal suggestions for contemplation or discussion, and guidance for further exploration, if desired.
You will be organized into study groups consisting of 3-4 students. Within your group please discuss readings and assignments, perform tasks together as given occasionally, and report to the class as a whole. The groups are intended for more intensive discussion and for exchange of experiences in assignments and exercises, as well as self-help.
Each module has an associated PowerPoint lecture and/or links to materials related to the topic. Many PowerPoint lecture slides have associated notes - texts providing explanations or details. You can download, view or print slides with notes.
(ii) Assignments: readings and summaries
For each module students are required to read a given set of journal or web articles and/or selected chapters from books. Some of the articles are more theoretical other more practical. A bibliography of ALL readings is provided at the end of the syllabus. Assignments for individual modules have references to the items in the bibliography. Additional readings, as newly published, may be added or substituted. Some readings are required to be summarized, others to be read for discussion only, as indicated in the assignment.
Summaries: For each reading that is required for summary, you shall provide a brief synthesized as to major points made and learned, and, if possible, you should also provide a critical review. Or, instead of critical remarks you may indicate one or more of the following as related to the content of a given reading:
- relevant examples or extensions from personal or professional experiences
- translation into or implications for practice
- questions for discussion; questions about clarification of contents; and/or
- relations to other readings and courses; interpretations as to the place in a larger picture.
In other words, think about the reading, assess the major theme(s), and provide your own interpretations and thoughts beyond a mere abstract. Analyze don?t just plain recapitulate! The more you incorporate your own remarks the higher the grade!
The summaries must follow the prescribed format (see instructions below). Reading summaries should be handed in on a weekly basis as indicated by the schedule.
Exercises are designed for you to master various search processes and understand search features of various systems. Exercises consist of performing given practical tasks related to searching. In some exercises you will be using DIALOG, LexisNexis, web search engines, and library resources to search for answers for a given set of questions. In others, you will explore features of these systems. You will provide the results of exercises on a weekly basis. You can also provide comments with exercises. The more thorough the execution and presentation of results the higher the grade!
For each module there will be a discussion of the readings, exercises, assigned topics, and/or topics raised by students. The discussion may be within and/or between groups. You should be prepared for discussion and/or for asking and answering of questions based on the readings or exercises. The higher and more substantive participation the higher the grade!
(v) Term project
Each student shall undertake a term project resulting in a technical report, which is the term paper. The purpose of the project is for the student to perform a real search on behalf of a real user and to summarize the process and learning. In other words, you will act as an intermediary for answering a user information need using various resources, as necessary. The situation should be real-life, i.e. involving a real user with a need, real interactions, and real submitted answers with their evaluation by user.
The project shall involve the following:
- Selection of a user with an information need that could be satisfied with an online search, by searching DIALOG, LexisNexis, the Web, and/or reference resources. The student will act as an intermediary for the user. [Note: No family members or significant others as users.]
- Interviewing the user (if necessary on several occasions as the search progresses), and construction of a user model representing user information need.
- Selection of appropriate databases, search engines, or resources for searching.
- Construction of search strategy(ies), and conduct of the search using appropriate and/or varying search tactics.
- Evaluation of results by the user as the search progresses. If necessary, doing reiterative searching and evaluation, also possibly involving modification in the user model.
- Presentation and delivery of the search results to the user, in a user report following an agreed upon format(s).
- Writing and presentation of a technical report.
The project has two 'deliverables':
- one is a user report: the set of organized search results and any necessary explanations given to the user, preceded by a one page executive summary; (does NOT have to be handed in as a part of the technical report) and
- the other is a technical report, handed in at the end of the class, summarizing student?s approach to every aspect of interaction with the user, preceded by the executive summary given to the user. (I.e. the executive summary is the only thing in the technical report from the user report).
The technical report should include a discussion and factual presentation of (the list could serve as a table of content for the report):
selection and characteristics of the user; user?s question; mode of and results from interview(s); user model and changes in user model as the search progresses; construction and variations in search strategies and tactics; discussion of changes and reasons for these changes; consideration of modes of presentation of results; user evaluation; and resulting changes.
In the technical report you should stress the dynamics of the process. Questions to be asked: what were my experiences and evaluations during the whole process? what works? what doesn?t? what alternatives proved most fruitful? what have I learned? And very important: what would have I done differently? Elaborate on that!
This is a semester long project. You will hand in three things during the semester: (i) in module 6 a very brief description of the user and topic, provided for approval and class discussion; (ii) in module 11 a brief progress report, for approval and class discussion; and (iii) in module 16 the technical report for class presentation and submission. Questions about the project may be raised throughout the semester. The more insightful your analysis of the process and changes over time the higher the grade!
Methods of Assessment
SC&I has the following grades (see SC&I Catalog at http://ruweb.rutgers.edu/catalogs/scils.shtml):
A (95), B (90), B (85), C (80), C (75), F (70). In addition, there are provisional grades for Incomplete (IN) or Temporary (T).
We will use the numerical equivalents for grades - easier to add up and average.
The final grade will be derived as follows:
Summaries, exercises, and discussion
Availability: chapters in books are in course Doc Sharing under Readings; articles are in RUL electronic journals, unless another location is indicated.
Chapters in books
Belew, R. K. (2000). Finding Out About: Search engine technology from a cognitive perspective. London: Cambridge University Press. Preface and Chapter 1: Overview. (Module 2)
Baeza-Yates, R., & Ribiero-Neto, B. (1999). Modern information retrieval. New York, ACM Press. Chapter 1: Introduction. (pp. 1-17). (Module 4)
Feldman, S. (2002). This is what I asked for? The searching quagmire. Chapter 9 in: Mintz. A.P. ed. Web of deception. Misinformation on the Internet. Medford, NJ Information Today. (pp. 175-195). (Module 12)
Hock, R. (2004). The extreme searcher?s internet handbook: A guide for the serious searcher. Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books. Chapter 1: Basics for serious searcher and Chapter 2: General web directories and portals. (pp. 1-45). (Module 9)
Hert, C. A. (1997). Understanding information retrieval interactions: theoretical and practical implications. Greenwich CT: Ablex. Chapter 1: Setting the stage for a new understanding of information retrieval interaction and Chapter 2: What do we know about user behavior in information retrieval systems? (pp. 1-50). (Module 5)
Liddy, E. D. (2002). How a search engine works. Chapter 10 in: Mintz. A. P. ed. Web of deception. Misinformation on the Internet. Medford, NJ Information Today. (pp 197-208). (Module 6)
Saracevic, T., Spink, A., & Wu, M. M. (1997). Users and intermediaries in interactive information retrieval (IR): what are they talking about? User Modeling. Proceedings of: the sixth international conference UM97. New York: Springer. (pp. 43-54). (Module 11)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 1: The search for information in the online age. (pp. 1-19). (Module 1)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 5: Databases construction and structure (pp. 55-74). (Module 2)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 7: Using controlled vocabulary. (pp. 115-138). (Module 3)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 8: Searching using free text. (pp. 139-175). (Module 3)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 6: Search techniques. (pp. 75-114). (Module 7)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 9: Additional search features. (pp. 177-204). (Module 8)
Walker, G., & Janes, J. (1999). Online retrieval: A dialogue of theory and practice. 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. Chapter 10: Beyond the basic search. (pp. 205-226). (Module 8)
Auster, E., & Chan, D. C. (2004). Reference librarians and keeping up-to-date: A question of priorities. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44 (1), 59-68. (Module 15)
Bates, M. (1989). The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the online search interface. Online Review, 13 (5), 407-424. (Module 7) [in Doc Sharing]
Beghtol, C. (2005). Ethical decision-making for knowledge representation and organization systems for global use. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, in print, available online. (Module 14)
Bellardo-Hahn, T. (1996). Pioneers of the online age. Information Processing & Management, 32 (1), 33-48. (Module 1)
Dewdney, P., & Michell, G. (1996). Oranges and peaches: Understanding communication accidents in the reference interview. RQ, 35 (4), 520-536. (Module 11) [in Doc Sharing]
Ebbinghouse, C. (2005) Open access: The battle for universal, free knowledge. Searcher, 13 (3), 8-17. (Module 15)
Ebbinghouse, C. (2005). Open access: Unfinished business. Searcher, 13 (4), 25-35. (Module 15)
Eysenbach, G., & Kohler, C. (2002, March 9). How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the world wide web? British Medical Journal, 324 (7337), 573-577. (Module 12) [in Doc Sharing]
Greenberg, J. (2004). User comprehension and searching with information retrieval thesauri. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 37 (3), 103-120. (Module 3)
Hawking, D., Bailey, P., & Griffiths, K. (2001). Measuring search engine quality. Information Retrieval, 4 (1), 33-59. (Module 6)
Hembrooke, H. A., Granka,, L. A., Gay, G. K., & Liddy, E. D. (2005). The effects of expertise and feedback on search term selection and subsequent learning. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 56 (8), 861-871. (Module 8)
Iacovino, L. (2002). Ethical principles and information professionals: theory, practice and education. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 33 (2), 57-74. (Module 14)
Jansen, B. J., & Spink, A. (2005). How are we searching the World Wide Web? A comparison of nine search engine transaction logs. Information Processing & Management, in press, available online. (Module 9)
Järvelin, K., & Wilson, T. D. (2003). On conceptual models for information seeking and retrieval research. Information Research, 9 (1), paper 163. (Module 10)
Kassel, A. (2002). Value-added deliverables: Rungs on the info pro's ladder to success. Searcher, 10 (10), 42-53. (Module 13)
Kenney, B. (2004). Googlizers vs. resistors: library leaders debate our relationship with search engines. Library Journal, 129 (20), 44-46. (Module 1) [READ ONLY]
Kuhlthau, C. C. (1990). Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user?s perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42 (5), 361?371. (Module 10)
Rieh, S.Y., & Xie, H.I. (in press). Analysis of multiple query reformulations and the web: The interactive information retrieval context. Information Processing & Management. (Module 5)
Savage-Knepshield, P.E., & Belkin, N. (1999) Interaction in information retrieval: Trends over time. Journal of the American Society of Information Science, 50 (12), 1067-1082. (Module 5)
Shaver, D.B., Hewison, N.S., & Wykoff, L.W. (1985). Ethics for online intermediaries. Special Libraries, 76 (Fall), 238-245. [in Doc Sharing]
Sihvonen, A., & Vakkari, P. (2004). Subject knowledge improves interactive query expansion assisted by a thesaurus. Journal of Documentation, 60 (6), 673-690. (Module 6)
Vaughan, L. (2004). New measurements for search engine evaluation proposed and tested. Information Processing & Management, 40 (4), 677-691. (Module 6)
Vine, R. (2004). Becoming a great web searcher. Seminar by SLA, Professional Development Center. (Module 9) [in Doc Sharing]
Wathen, C. N., & Burkell, J. (2002). Believe it or not: factors influencing credibility on the Web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53 (2), 134-144. (Module 12)
Wildemuth, B. M. (2004). The effects of domain knowledge on search tactic formulation. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55 (3), 246-258. (Module 7)
Wilson, T. (2004). Talking about the problem: a content analysis of pre-search interviews. Information Research, 10 (1), paper 206. (Module 11)
Wleklinski, J. M. (2005). Studying Google Scholar: Wall to wall coverage? Online (Weston, Conn.). 29 (3), 22-26. (Module 12)