Tutorial on CIS at SIGIR 2012 conference

I’m really looking forward to engaging this year’s SIGIR attendees in a half-day tutorial on the subject of collaborative information seeking (CIS)! Following is the summary of the tutorial. Hope to see you in Portland for this (and SIGIR, of course)!

The course will introduce the student to theories, methodologies, and tools that focus on information retrieval/seeking in collaboration. The student will have an opportunity to learn about the social aspect of IR with a focus on collaborative information retrieval and seeking (CIR and CIS) situations, systems, and evaluation techniques.

The assumption of information seekers being independent and IR problem being individual has been challenged often in the recent past, with an argument that the next big leap in search and retrieval will come through incorporating social and collaborative aspects of information seeking. This course will introduce such works to the students, with an emphasis on understanding models and systems that support collaborative search or browsing. To put CIS in perspective, the course will show the students how various related concepts, such as collaborative information behavior (CIB), co-browsing, co-search, collaborative filtering, can be placed on the dimensions of human-system and explicitness-implicitness along with CIR and CIS for exploration and developmental needs, as well as evaluation purposes. Specifically, the course will (1) outline the research and latest developments in the field of collaborative IR, (2) list the challenges for designing and evaluating collaborative IR systems, and (3) show how traditional single user IR models and systems could be mapped to those for CIS. This will be achieved through introduction to appropriate literature, algorithms and interfaces that facilitate CIS, and methodologies for studying and evaluating them. Thus, the course will offer a balance between theoretical and practical elements of CIS.

The course is intended for those interested in social and collaborative aspects of IR (from both academia and industry), and requires only a general understanding of IR systems and evaluation.

Upcoming book on collaborative information seeking

Yes, this is a shameless self-promotion! But it’s important (and exciting) to note that my book on Collaborative Information Seeking, to be published by Springer under their Information Retrieval Series, is coming bout soon! There have been several articles and a couple of reviews/book chapters/booklets in the recent past on this or related topics, but none that gives a fairly comprehensive treatment to the subject. This book is intended to do just that. Here’s the link for the flyer that gets you substantial discount: http://collab.infoseeking.org/resources/Shah_CIS_Book_Flyer.pdf

And here’s the book description:

Collaborative Information Seeking
The Art and Science of Making the Whole Greater than the Sum of All
Today’s complex, information-intensive problems often require people to work together. Mostly these tasks go far beyond simply searching together; they include information lookup, sharing, synthesis, and decision-making. In addition, they all have an end-goal that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Such “collaborative information seeking” (CIS) projects typically last several sessions and the participants all share an intention to contribute and benefit. Not surprisingly, these processes are highly interactive.
Shah focuses on two individually well-understood notions: collaboration and information seeking, with the goal of bringing them together to show how it is a natural tendency for humans to work together on complex tasks. The first part of his book introduces the general notions of collaboration and information seeking, as well as related concepts, terminology, and frameworks; and thus provides the reader with a comprehensive treatment of the concepts underlying CIS. The second part of the book details CIS as a standalone domain. A series of frameworks, theories, and models are introduced to provide a conceptual basis for CIS. The final part describes several systems and applications of CIS, along with their broader implications on other fields such as computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and human-computer interaction (HCI).

Yahoo! award

I’m happy to announce that I have received the Yahoo! Campus Innovation Award in the amount of $20,000 for my project titled “Reimagining and Reinvigorating Information Seeking with a Novel Approach to Collaborative Information Seeking (CIS).”

This is a one-year project that seeks to understand motivations and methods for people working in collaboration for information seeking tasks, gather design specifications for a user-driven CIS system, as well as implement and evaluate a flexible and scalable integrated collaborative environment. The project is intended to investigate social and collaborative aspects of information seeking as an overarching goal of this research.

Thank you, Yahoo!

Collaborative IR course at RuSSIR 2011

I had a fun time teaching a short course on Collaborative IR at the Russian Summer School of IR (RuSSIR) held at St Petersburg, Russia this year. I will share my experience in other posts, but for now, here’s a short description of the school.

The mission of the school is to teach students about modern problems and methods in Information Retrieval and Database Technology; to stimulate scientific research and collaboration in these fields; and to create environment for informal contacts between scientists, students and industry professionals.

The target audience of the school is advanced graduate and PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, academic and industrial researchers, and developers. RuSSIR/EDBT 2011 School will offer up to seven courses (in parallel sessions) and host approximately 150 participants. The working language of the school is English.

And here’s the description about the course that I taught:

The course will introduce the student to theories, methodologies, and tools that focus on IR in collaboration. The student will have an opportunity to learn about the social aspect of IR with a focus on collaborative IR situations, systems, and evaluation techniques.

Traditionally, IR is considered an individual pursuit, and not surprisingly, the majority of tools, techniques, and models developed for addressing information need, retrieval, and usage have focused on single users. The assumption of information seekers being independent and IR problem being individual has been challenged often in the recent past. This course will introduce such works to the students, with an emphasis on understanding models and systems that support collaborative search or browsing.

Specifically, the course will (1) outline the research and latest developments in the field of collaborative IR, (2) list the challenges for designing and evaluating collaborative IR systems, and (3) show how traditional single user IR models and systems could be mapped to those for collaborative IR. This will be achieved through introduction to appropriate literature, algorithms and interfaces that facilitate collaborative IR, and methodologies for studying and evaluating them. Thus, the course will offer a balance between theoretical and practical elements of collaborative IR.