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Author: Diana Floegel

InfoSeeking Administrative Assistant

Where in the World is Chirag Shah?

Where in the World is Chirag Shah?

Summertime can mean many things in the world of academia, and this season found our director, Dr. Chirag Shah, taking his work on an international tour. After being named a Rutgers New Brunswick Chancellor’s Scholar, receiving an NIH grant for over $1.4 million, and publishing a new book on Social Information Seeking, Dr. Shah’s 2017 has already been a great success. Check out where he’s been recently to present research!

First up, Dr. Shah served as a Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Tokyo, where he presented a talk on “Information Fostering.”

Next, he went to Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, and gave a talk on “Social Information Seeking.”

From there, Dr. Shah taught about “Social and Collaborative Search” at the Asian Summer School on Information Access, 2017. 

FINALLY, and currently, Dr. Shah has come full circle by attending the annual SIGIR conference back in Tokyo.

We’re certainly proud of our director and thrilled that work pursued by the InfoSeeking Lab is making a global impact.

All Work and No Play is…Not Our Style

All Work and No Play is…Not Our Style

Looking at our Facebook and website, it may seem like InfoSeeking is all work and no play. But we’re here to report that, happily, our lab members and their families enjoy socializing as much as they enjoy their research… In fact, they need to socialize in order to complete their difficult work without losing their minds!

The lab organizes a number of fun events throughout the year to get everyone together and unwind (and, of course, a number of less formal events happy spontaneously!). For example, we recently held one of our infamous happy hour gatherings in New Brunswick. (Hey, potential CHIIR 2018 attendees, take note of the fun you can have around Rutgers!)

We take our love of happy hour on the road too. While attending conferences, InfoSeekers past and present meet to reminisce and enjoy each other’s company.

When cocktails aren’t on our minds, we turn to some of our resident foodies for lunch ideas in and around the New Brunswick area. We’ve given a number of local eateries our business and love to celebrate milestones, accomplishments, or even just a nice Tuesday afternoon with some good food and great company.

Parties are also a must. Our director, Dr. Chirag Shah, and his family host excellent gatherings throughout the year for lab members, their families, and other RU faculty members.

And finally, to get our blood pumping (and demonstrate our charitable spirit), we participate in events like Rutgers’s Big Chill 5K!

So as you can see, our lab members certainly don’t become dull from all their hard work. We work hard, we play hard, and we try to enjoy ourselves no matter what we’re doing!

Seeking our Alumni

Seeking our Alumni

If you’ve been following our Facebook page, you know that we’ve recently been checking in with some of our distinguished alumni.

Oftentimes, folks expect doctoral students to enter traditionally academic jobs. While many of our alumni do experience great success as university professors, others utilize their degrees on alternative paths.

Recently graduated Ph.D. Long Le, for example, is a machine engineer at Capital One. He spends his time researching practical problems in the finance industry.

Dr. Chathra Hendahewa is also experiencing a great deal of success as a Data Engineer/Data Scientist at a FinTech start-up in NYC, named “Detectica.” In fact, her team was selected as a recipient of the competitive NY FinTech Innovation Lab 2017 program.

Our Ph.D.s aren’t the only former InfoSeekers to make a difference in the world post-graduation. Kevin Albertson, who recently graduated with his Master’s Degree, currently works as a software engineer for ALK Technologies, soon to be MongoDB.

With the dawning of a new school year that will usher in new student faces and see other lab members successfully complete their programs, it’s important to remember the range of careers that Rutgers SC&I graduate students can choose from. Will you soon join the ranks of these fine folks?

Exciting ASISTance for the Lab

Exciting ASISTance for the Lab

It’s been quite a week thus far in the InfoSeeking lab, and it’s only Wednesday!

On Monday, acceptances were released for the ASIST (that’s Association for Information Science and Technology) 2017 conference, held from October 27-November 1 in Washington, D.C. A number papers completed by InfoSeekers were selected! Here’s a brief recap.

Image: http://connect.hsmai.org/washingtondc/home

Yiwei Wang, Jiqun Liu, Soumik Mandal, and Chirag Shah were accepted for their paper, “Search Successes and Failures in Query Segments and Search Tasks: A Field Study.”

Shawon Sarkar, Yiwei Wang, and Chirag Shah had a full paper, “Investigating the Relations of Information Seeking Outcomes to the Selection and Use of Information Sources,” accepted.

Manasa Rath, Chirag Shah, and Diana Floegel were accepted for their paper, “Identifying Reasons Contributing to Question Deletion in Educational Q&A.”

These papers represent a great deal of ongoing hard work carried out by lab members and their director. They are also a testament to how well InfoSeekers collaborate to complete successful projects. So congratulations, Seekers! Stay tuned for more information about ASIST 2017.

Going “Deep” into Learning

Going “Deep” into Learning

On Thursday, May 11th, the lab sponsored an exciting tutorial on Deep Learning, or a class of machine learning algorithms for feature extraction and transformation in the realm of artificial intelligence.

The tutorial covered how Brainly, a social Q&A service for students, uses deep learning for new product features including spam detection, question categorization, and finding similar content, to design personalized learning approaches for students. It presented introductory material for people without any previous experience in machine learning, so all in attendance–whether they were beginners or had preexisting knowledge of the topic–took away important information. Overall, we had twenty attendees, and they got a lot more out of the day than a free lunch!

We were honored to have Sashko Zakharchuk as our presenter. After some years in product development and management consulting, Sashko joined Google to work on personalized recommendation systems and text processing algorithms. He is now a machine learning consultant for startups including Brainly in Europe. He delivered a fascinating and informative talk.

The tutorial was a great way to end the semester on a high note for the lab. But don’t worry–we have plenty of tricks up our sleeve for the summer, and we’re continuing to plan for CHIIR 2018 in New Brunswick!

 

We Have a (New) Doctor in the House!

We Have a (New) Doctor in the House!

Long Le, a long time and much loved member of the InfoSeeking Lab, has successfully defended his dissertation, “Extracting Users in Community Question-Answering in Particular Contexts.” Congratulations, Long!

 

Long’s work holds particular import for Community Question-Answering (CQA) sites and their users. He was interested in studying the behavior of the users who participate in CQA. Specifically, he strove to understand how different types of users could be identified based on their behaviors concerning a CQA-specific problem. Rather than discuss users and their actions in a general context, Long extracted contextual situations to develop a more granular analysis of user behavior. Users are the main driving force in CQA and understanding them allows us to know the current state of their respective sites.

 

Obtaining a doctorate is no easy feat, and we’re all incredibly proud of Long and everything he has accomplished. Look out for him in the future–he’ll certainly move forward into big and bright places. Of course, he and his family will also be terribly missed by everyone in the InfoSeeking Lab, but we’re thrilled to count him among our distinguished alumni.

 

Journals: Not Just for Feelings

Journals: Not Just for Feelings

A big congratulations to InfoSeeking’s own Jiqun Liu, a first-year doctoral student whose paper, “Towards a Unified Model of Human Information Behavior: An Equilibrium Perspective,” was accepted by the prestigious Journal of Documentation!

So what is the Journal of Documentation, anyway? A collection of people’s diaries? Not quite. In InfoSeeking-land (and academia, more generally) we strive to have our work accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, or those serial publications that’s submissions are reviewed by respected members of a certain field. And when it comes to information science, the Journal of Documentation is about as good as it gets. It’s one of the longest-running information science publications and boasts a particular focus on theories and concepts.

Out of the many submissions sent to this journal, Jiqun’s was selected. How? Well, first he had to do his research. With this paper, Jiqun aimed to build a unified model of human information behavior (HIB) for integrating classical constructs and reformulating the structure of HIB theory. Sounds simple, right? HA. Essentially, Jiqun used a complex theory, known as the “equilibrium perspective,” to construct a new framework for HIB. And with this new framework, other scholars–perhaps even some InfoSeekers and Jiqun himself!–will be able to explore HIB from new, exciting perspectives. This is an intriguing possibility in information science, and the Journal of Documentation‘s reviewers agreed, because they accepted Jiqun’s paper!

This is a tangible example of how InfoSeekers innovate and shape the wider information science field. Keep an eye out for Jiqun’s article, which will be formally published in August.

Cheers for CHIIR!

Cheers for CHIIR!

Once again, the InfoSeekers experienced great success at an international conference! Last week, many lab members traveled to Oslo, Norway for CHIIR 2017. Mortals may call it the annual Conference on Human Information Interaction & Retrieval.

It was a chilly week, but that didn’t stop anyone from doing what they do best: having fun with their research! Manasa Rath, Yiwei Wang, Shawan Sarkar and Jiqun Liu presented posters, while Long Lee presented a paper on Community Question & Answering services.

But it wasn’t all work and no play! Participants were able to enjoy a wonderful banquet with a rather scenic backdrop and even visit the Nobel Peace Center.

All in all, it was a conference well-spent! And guess what? Seekers won’t have to travel far for CHIIR 2018…it’s happening right in New Brunswick!

Announcing…. Social Information Seeking, the Book!

Announcing…. Social Information Seeking, the Book!

Are you a researcher or graduate student looking for an introduction to a new field in information science, or a developer or system designer interested in building interactive information retrieval systems or social/community-driven interfaces? Do you simply have a passion for hot topics in information science? Then have we got a surprise for you!

 

InfoSeeking’s fearless leader, Dr. Chirag Shah, has authored Social Information Seeking: Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd, a new book that summarizes his work on social information seeking (SIS), and at the same time serves as an introduction to the topic.

What is “social information seeking,” you may ask? It is a relatively new area of study concerned with the seeking and acquiring of information from social spaces on the Internet. It involves studying situations, motivations, and methods involved in seeking and sharing of information in participatory online social sites, such as Yahoo! Answers, WikiAnswers, and Twitter, as well as building systems for supporting such activities.

Want to find out more or preorder your copy? Visit Amazon or the Springer site!

 

Happy infoseeking!

 

Annnnnnd We’re Back! Happy 2017.

Annnnnnd We’re Back! Happy 2017.

Hello hello hello!

Happy New Year from the InfoSeeking Lab, and apologies for the gap in posts–we spent some time basking in winter break.

What do lab members do over break, you may wonder? To no one’s surprise, we manage to have some fun and do some work over the four-week gap. Here’s an idea of what lab members have been up to:

On the fun side, we visited with family and friends. Members traveled to North Carolina, Tennessee…even Disney World! And of course we spent time together, as well. Here’s a shot from the end-of-semester luncheon courtesy of our resident photographer, Souvick:

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting, table and indoor

 

Once we reigned in 2017, we resumed some work. Students submitting to the 2017 CHIIR conference and various journals have been busy finalizing their papers, while others traveled to conferences happening this month. We’re all particularly jealous of Matt, who went out to Hawaii!

If you want to see just how spectacular 2016 was for Team InfoSeeking, check out our Facebook page! We’re in the middle of a #17for17 countdown, which will lead us right into our spring semester. Break certainly flew by, but we’re all excited to get back to work and answer some more burning questions about information seeking behavior.