Friday, 27 November 2009

IR (Information Retrieval) Talk at CSIRO ICT Centre

Dr Ying-Hsang Liu gave a presentation to a group of researchers with special interests in information retrieval, data mining and document computing at CSIRO ICT Centre in Canberra on 23 November.

His presentation was concerned with the impact of state-of-the-art controlled vocabularies, exemplified by MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), on search effectiveness by different types of searchers in the genomics domain. The study suggested that MeSH terms were more useful for domain experts than for search experts in terms of the precision measure, even though domain experts did not perceive that MeSH terms were useful.

He also met several researchers at CSIRO whose current research projects range from distributed IR (also known as federated searching in information studies), enterprise search, patent classification, tweets as annotations to intelligent search tools for answering clinical questions. The knowledge sharing in this discussion group has stimulated many exciting ideas for future collaborative research.

SWITCH: Public Libraries in a Changing Environment

Suzanne Lipu reports that:

The Public Librarian's Conference (in Sydney Sunday 22 November 2009 to Tuesday 24 November 2009) went well, and the SIS booth was well attended. There were 290 delegates with a good number of local government councillors, 5 representatives from Wagga City Library, a couple of mayors, and of course lots of metro, regional and rural librarians (including an Indigenous Knowledge Centre librarian from WA). Many of the attendees were library managers and/or team coordinators. We had some excellent talks from Hugh McKay, Frank Panucci (Director, Community Partnership of the Australian Council of the Arts) and Michael Pascoe (a very entertaining and amusing presenter for an economist!). All other papers (including mine) was presented as part of either a Social Sustainability, Economic Sustainability, or Cultural Sustainability strand - 4 speakers in each - followed by an interactive panel with the audience for about half an hour. This was facilitated by Lucy Broad from the ABC and this arrangement fostered lots of discussions, and questions directed to me.

My talk focussed on the new courses available, particularly the Community Networking strand (since these were public librarians) and as a result of the talk I got many queries about that strand, as well as the change in courses and other offerings.

Next year the South-West Zone of Public Libraries NSW Country will be holding a conference in Albury from 13-16 July at the Albury Entertainment Centre for those of you who might be interested.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Usability Laboratory

Earlier this semester Dr. Asim Qayyum of the School of Information Studies and Alice Ferguson of the Division of Library Services hosted an open house of the new Digital Library Usability Lab. The Lab has been setup to facilitate Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research and transform the experiences that people have with new technologies.

The objective is to study the needs of computer users to evaluate and develop technologies, and to ensure that the needs and practices of users are reflected in future software applications and information technologies.

Primary activities will include carrying out research to study and design user interfaces, and to carry out usability studies.

CSU Researchers can book the facilities available in the lab for project use.

Equipment available in the lab:

  • Three high end desktop PCs running on Windows XP, equipped with microphones, headset, and Webcam.
  • Morae 3 software with Manager, observer, and recorder modules to record interactions.
  • Two rooms to accommodate researcher and experiment participants.
  • One way mirror between rooms to facilitate observation.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

ASIST 2009 Annual Meeting: Thriving on Diversity - Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World

Each year the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) holds an annual meeting. It is a key conference for those working and researching in the field of information science and technology. Ideas and research are shared, networks formed and agendas set. The theme for the conference this year was “Thriving on Diversity: Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World”. This year I was privileged to attend the 2009 ASIS&T conference in Vancouver as an invitee to the Doctoral Seminar for Research and Career Development. There was such a wide variety of papers I won’t attempt to do a summary, but from the Keynote presentation by Tim Bray of Sun Microsystems were three pithy lines which represent some of the topics. “The killer app of the Internet is people”; “What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet … forever” and “The culture of online is epistolary … we are in a golden age of writing …”.

While at ASIS&T I met many interesting people, including Dr Heidi Julien from the University of Alberta who we will welcome as a visiting professor at CSU next year. I also met Chang Liu, who was co-author of a poster paper titled “To Search is to Believe: A Comparative Study of health Information Use” with our own Dr Ying-Hsang Liu. Attached is a picture of Chang Liu with their paper. There were many interesting and creative papers, panels and workshops. One particularly interesting session which focused on future directions for information behaviour research mentioned the work Dr Annemaree Lloyd is doing in the area of information practice as something to watch.

Vancouver is a beautiful city. I did not really have the opportunity to explore, as I was only there for such a short period. I did, however, manage a daily walk, on one of which I discovered their very interesting city library building pictured here.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Doctoral Paper Award - Congratulations Sally Burford!

The SIS Research Development Committee (RDC) is pleased to report that the winner of the SIS Doctoral paper award for 2007-2008 and the accompanying $500 prize is Sally Burford for her conference proceeding:

Burford, S. 2008, “Understanding How Organisations Achieve Effective Web Information Architecture using a Grounded Theory Approach.” AusWeb 08: The 14th Australasian World Wide Web Conference, 5-9 April 2008, Ballina, NSW, Australia: Conference proceedings. AusWeb 08.

After reviewing the paper, the Committee agreed that it was an interesting paper on an interesting topic. We should acknowledge that Sally also received the best paper award at the AusWeb 08 conference for this paper. CONGRATULATIONS SALLY!

The RDC would like to encourage Doctoral students to take this Doctoral paper award as an incentive to publish their work as they progress through their studies and to submit their papers for awards as opportunities arise to do so.