Information Seeking Support Systems Workshop

An Invitational Workshop Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

June 26-27, 2008
Chapel Hill, NC USA
position papers
final report

The general goal of the workshop will be to coalesce a research agenda that stimulates progress toward better systems that support information seeking. More specifically, the workshop will aim to identify the most promising research directions for three aspects of information seeking: theory, development, and evaluation. Thus, the key workshop objectives are:

  • Identify and organize the most promising models of information seeking;
  • Identify the key existing technologies that can be adapted to support information seeking activities;
  • Specify and organize the new kinds of technologies that are required to support information seeking activities;
  • Identify methods and associated metrics for evaluating information seeking processes

Meeting the needs of people who seek information to discover and learn is a grand challenge, and the tools and services needed to meet this challenge will be fundamental to the emerging cyberinfrastructure. The time and conditions are right to develop the theory, techniques, and tools to support such information seeking needs. With this two-day workshop we aim to bring together thought leaders in information retrieval, library and information science, and human-computer interaction to shape the short- and long-term agenda for research in systems to support information seeking. In particular the workshop will address the following three themes:

  1. Understanding / modeling exploratory search behavior
    • Individual user models (client side and server side)
    • Group and community models
    • Human information behavior (tactics, strategies, mental models)
    • Goals, tasks, and actions
    • Domain and data type factors

  2. Providing system support for exploratory search
    • Interfaces and visualizations
    • Interaction models and paradigms
    • Support for collaboration
    • Alternative search media (mobile, ubiquitous search)
    • Organizational structures (indexes, facets, ontologies)
    • Alternative sources of evidence (biometrics, context sensitivity)
    • Tool suites and integration of IS3 support with existing products (office suites)

  3. Evaluating systems to support exploratory search
    • Metrics for evaluating IS3 performance (e.g., learning rate, decision-making quality)
    • Evaluation methodologies and strategies (e.g., task-oriented, ethnographic)
    • Non-interactive evaluation of IS3 (e.g., log analyses, test collections, simulations)
    • Tasks and task taxonomies for IS3 evaluation

Meeting Organization and Position Papers

We propose a two-day workshop devoted to identifying a research agenda for information seeking support systems. The workshop will build upon past workshops on exploratory search but aim to identify and prioritize key research directions for the near and long term. The workshop will include leaders from industry as well as academia and government. Twenty-five participants will be invited and asked to submit a position statement that includes one or more examples of research problems. The statements will be used to organize working groups for the workshop as well as plenary discussions. Based upon the discussions, participants will be asked to revise and expand their position statements, possibly in combination with other participants who identify similar problems. These position statements will serve as the appendix for a final report that lays out key research directions for IS3. The resulting report will be widely disseminated. Through breakout sessions and workshop-wide discussions we aim to create an environment where opinion can be openly expressed and progress made In addition to addressing issues in each of these three themes, the workshop will also address important questions such as:

  • What is feasible for the academic community?
  • What are the needed dissertations?
  • What are the most important problems for the community to address?
  • Do we need bigger teams?
  • What is the role of industry collaboration?

Workshop Agenda

Wednesday June 25, 2008
Travel and arrival in Chapel Hill
Lodging at The Carolina Inn
211 Pittsboro Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Tel: 919.933.2001

Thursday June 26, 2008
Workshop will be held in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library on the UNC campus
8:00 Breakfast on-site
8:30 Introductions and overview
9:30 Breakout Session 1 (assigned based on project statements)
11:00 Reports back in plenary
12:30 Working lunch and Breakout Session 2 (lunch on-site)
2:00 Break
2:30 Plenary discussion: Key research themes
5:00 Close
6:00 Group dinner Carolina Inn

Friday June 27, 2008
Workshop will be held in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library on the UNC campus
8:00 Breakfast on-site
8:30 Plenary discussion: Refine themes and map projects to themes
10:30 Break
11:00 Breakout Session 3. Aggregate and refine projects and plan writing
12:30 Working lunch (lunch on-site)
1:30 Plenary discussion of final report and task assignments
3:00 Wrap-up

Workshop Participants

James Allan, University of Massachusetts
Peter Anick, Yahoo
Anne Aula, Google
Nick Belkin, Rutgers University
Peter Brusilovsky, University of Pittsburgh
Robert Capra, UNC
Ed Chi, PARC
Susan Dumais, Microsoft
Efthimis Efthimiadis, University of Washington
Gary Geisler, University of Texas
Gene Golovchinsky, FxPAL
Eric Horvitz, Microsoft
Diane Kelly, UNC
Bill Kules, Catholic University of America
Michael Levi, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Gary Marchionini, UNC
David Millen, IBM
Bonnie Nardi, UCI
Jan Pedersen, Yahoo
Peter Pirolli, PARC
Edie Rasmussen, University of British Columbia
Dan Rose, A9
Dan Russell, Google
Ian Ruthven, University of Strathclyde
m.c. Schraefel, University of Southampton
Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland
Elaine Toms, Dalhousie
Daniel Tunkelang, Endeca
Ryen White, Microsoft

Organizing Committee

Nick Belkin, Rutgers University, USA
Gene Golovchinsky, FxPAL, USA
Diane Kelly, UNC-Chapel Hill, USA
Gary Marchionini, UNC-Chapel Hill, USA Co-Chair
Peter Pirolli, Xerox PARC, USA
mc schraefel, U. Southhampton, UK
Ryen White, Microsoft, USA Co-Chair

National Science Foundation
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina

URL of this page:
Last Revised: 20 June 2008
Rachael Green Clemens