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Author: Catherine McGowan

Big Chill 2018!

Big Chill 2018!

This weekend was the annual Big Chill, a charity 5k. As always, some of our InfoSeekers joined in on the fun, exercise, and the good cause! The sun came out just long enough to break from the regular rain we’ve been experiencing to make the run enjoyable.

While some of the runners were getting ready for the race to begin, InfoSeeker Manasa Rath was able to get a shot of the big crowd.

Here’s our very own InfoSeeker, Matt Mitsui getting ready to make his way to the finish line:

And, check out this aerial shot of the race from the InfoSeeking Lab!

This marks the tail end of the Fall 2018 semester. What a great way to energize the start of finals!

InfoSeekers Attend ASIS&T and CSCW November Conferences!

InfoSeekers Attend ASIS&T and CSCW November Conferences!

This month, some of our InfoSeekers attended the 2018 annual ASIS&T conference in Vancouver and the annual CSCW in Jersey City, NJ. Here are some highlights!

Yiwei Wang, presenting the team’s poster at CSCW 2018.

Rutgers University InfoSeeking students, Jiquin Liu, Soumick Mandal, and Yiwei Wang attended CSCW

(Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing) in Jersey City, NJ on Nov 3 – 7. The team presented their poster titled, “Persuasion by Peer or Expert for Web Search.” They presented their preliminary findings on the persuasiveness of two sources of search advice, cognitive authority and peer advice, and their influences on search behaviors.

 

Next, our InfoSeekers attended ASIS&T in Vancouver on Nov 10 – 14. Souvick Ghosh and Manasa Rath participated in SIGInfoLearn workshop. They discussed relevant research that supports searching as learning.

Manasa Rath, center, and Souvick Ghosh, far right, at the SIGInfoLearn Workshop at ASIS&T 2018.

Yiwei Wang also attended ASIS&T and co-organized this year’s SIG-USE Symposium with Annie Chen (University of Washington), Melissa Ocepek (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign), and Devendra Potnis (University of Tennessee at Knoxville). The SIG-USE Symposium is an annual workshop held by ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Information Needs, Seeking, and Use and it focuses on the behavioral and cognitive activities of users, and their affective states as they interact with information. The theme this year was Moving Toward the Future of Information Behavior Research and Practice. It was an engaging and inspiring event, and they had 42 participants this year!

Manasa Rath, far right, receiving the ASIS&T New Leader Award at ASIS&T 2018.

Finally, we are very excited to announce that Manasa Rath received the New Leader Award at ASIS&T. She was one of six students to receive the award. Additionally, Manasa will be working with ASIST Board of Directors in the Professional Development committee. Congratulations, Manasa!

Manasa Rath and her ASIS&T New Leader Award at ASIS&T 2018.
Congratulations to Dr. Matni & Dr. Mitsui

Congratulations to Dr. Matni & Dr. Mitsui

In September we had two InfoSkeeing Lab successfully defend their dissertations!

On September 7th, our very own Zaid Matni successfully defended his dissertation, “The Influence of Network Structures and Information Seeking Uncertainty on Information Seeking Behavior” in front of a demanding panel of fellow scholars, marking our 6th PhD Graduate of the lab.

Zaid Matni, right, after defending his dissertation, with Professor Chirag Shah.

Zaid’s dissertation explores quantifiable behavioral dynamics of individuals who are seeking information using different social network structures over time. His study utilized a custom-built Web-based tool that simulates an information-seeking scenario via various network structures and had participants utilize it to achieve a stated goal of collecting answers to questions from others in their network. The tool allows a finite amount of interactions, thus limiting the participants’ engagements to a defined set of allowable actions. His dissertation contributed to the theories of information seeking in social network environments, as well as to social network theory as it pertains to human information behavior. Additionally, it served as another method to study human behavior through the lens of social networks by providing them with a sophisticated computer-mediated platform to collect log-based data of human behavior in simulated networked environments.

Matt Mitsui became our 7th PhD Graduate of the lab on September 20th! He successfully defended his dissertation, “Adopting a Graphical Perspective in Interactive Information Retrieval Research” in front of a demanding panel of fellow scholars.

Matt Mitsui, right, after defending his dissertation, with Professor Chirag Shah.

Matt’s dissertation demonstrates that task characteristics, user characteristics, and behaviors should be empirically studied as a network of dependencies. It expands empirical work using graphical modeling, which can uniquely capture phenomena such as mediation and conditional independence.  His research empirically shows when knowledge about behavior and certain task characteristics can be used to learn about other aspects of the task. Additionally, it shows how task and user characteristics simultaneously affect behavior while potentially affecting each other. Specifically applying path analysis and Bayesian structure learning, results are shown to agree well with past literature and to also extend our understanding of the information seeking process.

Congratulations to Dr. Matni and Dr. Mitsui; we wish you the best of luck in the next chapter of your lives!