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InfoSeekers Are Key to Success of the Third Annual CHIIR Conference

InfoSeekers Are Key to Success of the Third Annual CHIIR Conference

Three cheers to InfoSeeking Lab Director Chirag Shah and several other InfoSeekers who helped organize and host a successful CHIIR conference.

 

On March 11, some 130 researchers from 25 countries in North America, Europe and Australia descended on New Brunswick for five days of workshops, presentations, tutorials, networking and fun.

CHIIR stands for the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, which is sponsored by the Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR), in cooperation with (SIGCHI). The international conference represents a merger of two successful past events: the Information Interaction in Context (IIiX) conference and the Human Computer Information Retrieval (HCIR) symposium, which have run since 2006 and 2007, respectively.

The events took place at the SC&I building on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers and at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. This year’s keynote speakers were Pertti Vakkari from Finland’s University of Tampere and Susan Dumais from Microsoft. Dr. Vakkari spoke about “Information Search Processes in Complex Tasks,” focusing on key areas in information retrieval, such as how the effect of information search would depend on task outcome. Dr. Dumais’s talk, entitled, “Better Together: Interdisciplinary Perspective on Information Retrieval,” reflected on her work in Information Retrieval and Human-Computer Interaction and provided some predictions on the future of search on the Web.

The major areas of study discussed at CHIIR 2018 included user-centered aspects of information interaction and information retrieval focusing on aspects of human involvement in search activities, and information seeking and use in context.

InfoSeeking Lab Director Chirag Shah said, “I’m very proud of InfoSeekers for representing our lab at this international conference – not just with their scholarly contributions (papers, posters, demos, doctoral consortium), but also in helping organize this event.”

Susan Dumais of Microsoft taking questions following her keynote address.
There were 22 full papers, two dozen short papers (posters), five demos, 10 doctoral dissertation proposals, four tutorials, and two workshops.
Most attendees participated in sessions on full papers, short papers,
demonstrations, and the doctoral consortium.
InfoSeekers at the welcome reception at Zimmerli Art Museum. InfoSeekers contributed four full papers, some short papers, a couple of demos, and a doctoral consortium presentation.
Nick Belkin, Pertti Vakkari and Souvick Ghosh at the Welcome Reception at the Zimmerli Art Museum on the Rutgers campus, which featured the exhibition “Set in Stone: Lithography in Paris, 1815-1900.”
The banquet dinner was held at Ria Mar, a Portuguese restaurant in New Brunswick. A highlight was seeing Chirag warm up the dance floor. (Did you know he’s a trained ballroom
dancer?!)
This year’s conference was sponsored by Siemens, Rutgers SC&I, Google, and Microsoft.
A snap of the student get-together at the Hub City Brewhouse in New Brunswick.
CHIIR 2019 will be held in Glasgow, Scotland. Looking forward to 2020, the conference will be in Vancouver, Canada, and in 2021, Canberra, Australia.

Photo credits: Souvick Ghosh, Matt Mitsui, Chirag Shah.

Great Moments from 2017: Snapshot

Great Moments from 2017: Snapshot

On this, the 18th day of 2018, let’s take one last look at some of the great moments of 2017.

In 2017, InfoSeekers attended classes, did their homework, performed experiments, compiled results, had meetings, collaborated on papers and posters, traveled to conferences, made presentations, and socialized.

Mostly they pushed themselves to do things that haven’t been done before, zeroing in on ways to innovate efficiencies in information science.

Stay tuned for how this A-Team will top that in Twenty-eighteen.

“Big Chill” Piece of Cake

“Big Chill” Piece of Cake

It was a perfect day for the 15th annual race on the College Avenue campus Saturday morning, Dec. 2. The temperature reached a high of 51 degrees Fahrenheit under a beautiful blue sky. A few key representatives of the InfoSeeking Lab were there including Chirag Shah, Matt Mitsui, Anastasia Ryssiouk, as well as yours truly, Liz Smith.

Chirag won the race with his positive attitude.

Chirag said, “InfoSeekers have participated in this event for many years and we are proud of it!” Noticed at the race, as well, were Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Debasish “Deba” Dutta, who has been on the job since July 1, and N.J. Governor-elect Phil Murphy.

This is where the truly competitive folks started.

The only entry requirement was a $15.00 unwrapped (new) toy for a child, ages 3-14. (It makes for a nice swap, as every participant is given the “Big Chill” long-sleeve tee shirt, which would probably retail for about $20.00.) After the race, according to The Daily Targum, the gifts are wrapped and sent to various local organizations, such as the Salvation Army of Bound Brook and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Anastasia pictured far right with her friend and the Big Chill mascot.

The race started at 10:00 am, with those who had paid $5.00 to have their timing tracked leading the pack. Something between 7,000 and 8,000 people participated, according to The Daily Targum. The 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) distance is easy enough for those who walked it, and it plays into Rutgers Recreation’s new initiative, “Exercise is Medicine on Campus,” where a more active lifestyle is being promoted to help students focus and manage stress. They recommend at least 115 minutes of exercise a week.

What the Marines team leader wore. “Pain is weakness leaving the body” is my new mantra.

Matt Mitsui traveled light and carried no cell phone, hence no photo, but he reported afterward by email that he had a great time; he said, “The best part of the Chill, of course, is the people. Races are largely a self-competition. But something I like to do every race (and did this time) is find someone at the end to race with towards the finish line. Regardless of who wins or loses, it’s a great way to have fun with a total stranger and to push each other.”

It was reassuring to see this on College Avenue, though I don’t think anyone needed it.

My favorite stretch was a flat scenic loop through Buccleuch Park just before the final push to the finish line. Peer pressure (total strangers cheering) and music always motivates the slow poke.

My finish line time was 49 minutes. Yay!
Gotta love these pink furry boots.
Thanksgiving Poll Results: We’re a Grateful Bunch!

Thanksgiving Poll Results: We’re a Grateful Bunch!

The jury is in and turkey wins. Of the thirteen Infoseekers who weighed in, eight (61.5%) easily tipped the scale in favor of the fowl. Only two of you prefer turducken (15.4%) and one (7.7%) prefers tofurkey (and of course that is Chirag!). Chirag said, “I’m thankful for wonderful family, friends, and colleagues who surround me. I am grateful for their willingness to embrace me as I am, and forgiving my idiosyncrasies!” Gotta love our fearless leader’s enthusiasm and self-awareness.

One person said their favorite thing about Thanksgiving is, “Turkey in all its glorious forms.” I’ll go along with that. But, thankfully, the now traditional poultry pardon happened on Tuesday this week when two of our fine-feathered friends were granted freedom from appearing on the platter.  President Trump – as is now tradition – proclaimed “Drumstick” and his sidekick “Wishbone,” will get to live out their days on a farm called “Gobbler’s Rest” at Virginia Tech. Now I don’t feel so guilty.

Food-wise, even more popular than turkey was a tie (69.2% of us) between mashed potatoes and pecan pie. Next in popularity is a tie (46.2%) between stuffing and apple pie. And five of us (38.5%) love cranberry sauce. And, there were a few who prefer food from another tradition or “other,” whatever that means.  Maybe it was Jonathan, who said he is grateful for, “Laughs with friends and family.”

In terms of celebrating styles, nine of us (69.2%) prefer being with family (and it doesn’t matter when we eat). I’ll add, as long as we get to eat! One of you said your favorite thing about Thanksgiving is “Food.” Yes. Many of our favorite things are variations on the theme of food and having a break, but one person mentioned Black Friday Sales. Another mentioned Christmas being “right around the corner.”

Several of you said (Alex, Kelly, Vic) you are thankful for family and friends. Jiqun said he is “grateful for having my wife in my life.” He is one lucky guy. Matt said he’s grateful for “my opportunity to be surrounded by a smart, like-minded (yet diverse!) research community,” and he added a smiley face, one of my favorite sign-offs. And Shawon concurred that she is “grateful for starting as a grad student again, and for getting a chance to begin all over again with a new drive, new goals and something new to prove.” You go, girl! Shannon goes along with the group that includes Matt, Shawon, Vic and Yiwei, who are thankful for faculty and colleagues and the trust that has developed that supports growing confidence in their research. Soumik and Manasa are grateful for getting to travel to new and exotic places this year. Sounds exciting.

All in all, I’m happy to report that InfoSeekers are grateful and normal. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

 

 

InfoSeekers Rock ASIS&T 80th Annual Meeting

InfoSeekers Rock ASIS&T 80th Annual Meeting

Rutgers University InfoSeeking students and professors were a significant presence at the ASIS&T conference at the Crystal City Hyatt in Washington DC, Oct. 28-Nov. 1. Here are the highlights.

On Oct. 28, Rebecca Reynolds from Rutgers, led a pre-conference SIG/INFOLEARN workshop with Soo Young Rieh, University of Michigan, called “Information and Learning Sciences Research as an Integral Scholarly Nexus.”

On Oct. 29, an all-Rutgers student and professor Community Informatics paper presentation was made by Manasa Rath, Chirag Shah and Diana Floegel: “Identifying the Reasons Contributing to Question Deletion in Educational Q&A.” Pictured at left is Manasa Rath taking questions.

On Monday, Oct.  30, an all-Rutgers Information Retrieval paper presentation on a field study was made by Yiwei Wang, Jiqun Liu, Soumik Mandal, and our fearless leader Chirag Shah, on “Search Successes and Failures in Query Segments and Search Tasks.”  Pictured: Yiwei Wang introducing the paper.

Later, on Oct. 30, Kaitlin Costello from Rutgers served on a panel session concerning “Health Information Behavior Research with Marginalized Populations,” along with Blake Hawkins, University of British Columbia, Tiffany Veinot, University of Michigan, Amelia Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Devon Greyson, British Columbia Children’s Hospital.

InfoSeeker posters were presented by Jonathan Pulliza, Souvick Ghosh, JiHo An, and Roberto González Ibáñez.  Below to the right is Jonathan Pulliza presenting his poster on “Investigating the Efficacy of Sentence Filtering in Predicting Analysts Ratings Following a 10-K Filing.”

Immediately below (left) is Souvick Ghosh presenting his and Chirag Shah’s poster on “Information Seeking in Learning-Oriented Search.”

What’s a hard day’s work at ASIS&T without a chance to relax, reflect and socialize? InfoSeekers, pictured at table, never miss an opportunity for good food and conversation.
Oct. 31 was the day for Chirag Shah and Vivek Singh, from Rutgers, to serve on a panel called “From Sensors to Sense-Making: Opportunities and Challenges for Information Science.” Also on the panel were Cathal Gurrin, Dublin City University; Jacek Gwizdka, University of Texas at Austin; and Hideo Joho, University of Tsukuba.

That evening (Halloween), Chirag Shah chaired SIG/CON, where Jonathan Pulliza presented a research talk with a twist!

On Nov. 1, the final morning of ASIS&T 2017, Rutgers Ph.D. student Manasa Rath moderated the panel discussion, “Learnsourcing: Is it Working or Failing, and Where to Go from Here?” Presenters and participants were Chirag Shah from Rutgers; Oleksandr Zakharchuk from Brainly Inc.; Rich Gazan from the University of Hawaii; Sanghee Oh from Chungnam National University in South Korea; and Mega Subramaniam from the University of Maryland.

Also on Nov. 1, Shawon Sarkar, Yiwei Wang and Chirag Shah presented the paper, “Investigating Relations of Information Seeking Outcomes to the Selection and Use of Information Sources.”

Pictured right is Shawon Sarkar presenting her paper.

 

 

 

 

Last but most definitely not least, we must recognize Yiwei Wang for the New Leader Award that she was given at ASIS&T. After considering applications from seven countries, the ASIS&T Leadership Program Selection Committee granted a New Leader Award to Yiwei Wang, a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at Rutgers. Eight students received the award. Congratulation, Yiwei!

Yiwei Wang Wins New Leader Award at ASIS&T

Yiwei Wang Wins New Leader Award at ASIS&T

After considering applications from seven countries, the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Leadership Program Selection Committee granted a New Leader Award to Yiwei Wang (pictured right), a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at Rutgers, at the annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this week. Eight students received the award.

The award is given to students who are considered likely to contribute to ASIS&T. It is a financial grant that helps defray the travel costs to two consecutive ASIS&T meetings. As an awardee, Yiwei has been assigned a mentor, Dr. Beth St. Jean from the University of Maryland.

Yiwei will volunteer for the Special Interest Group of Information Needs, Seeking and Use (SIGUSE). She will continue her role as treasurer for the New Jersey Chapter of ASIS&T.
And, Yiwei will be expected to complete several leadership exploration tasks including writing about her experiences, lessons and goals related to her involvement with ASIS&T.

Congratulations, Yiwei!

Sneak a Peek of InfoSeekers participation @ ASIS&T 2017

Sneak a Peek of InfoSeekers participation @ ASIS&T 2017

If you will be attending ASIS&T in Washington DC at the end of this month, plan to attend sessions with fellow InfoSeekers faculty and students presenting new research. And you won’t want to miss the fun party on Monday evening! Sessions begin Saturday morning, October 28 and run through Wednesday morning, November 1.

ASIS&T 2017 Conference Program Sessions

Saturday, October 28 

8:30am – 12:30pm SIG INFOLEARN: Information and Learning Sciences Research as an Integral Scholarly Nexus (Workshop)
Rebecca Reynolds, Rutgers University
Soo Young Rieh, University of Michigan

*****

Sunday, October 29

3:00pm Community Informatics (Paper session)
Identifying the Reasons Contributing to Question Deletion in Educational Q&A
Manasa Rath, Rutgers University
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Diana Floegel, Rutgers University

9:30pm Party With The Professors

*****

Monday, October 30

10:30am Information Retrieval (Paper Session)
Search Successes and Failures in Query Segments and Search Tasks: A Field Study
Yiwei Wang, Rutgers University
Jiqun Liu, Rutgers University
Soumik Mandal, Rutgers University
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University

1:30pm Health Information Behavior Research with Marginalized Populations (Panel Session)
Blake Hawkins, University of British Columbia
Kaitlin L. Costello, Rutgers University
Tiffany Veinot, University of Michigan
Amelia Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Devon Greyson, British Columbia Children’s Hospital

8:30pm ASIS&T Reception, sponsored by Rutgers University

*****

Tuesday, October 31

12:30pm From Sensors to Sense-Making: Opportunities and Challenges for Information Science (Panel Session)
Cathal Gurrin, Dublin City University
Jacek Gwizdka, University of Texas at Austin
Hideo Joho, University of Tsukuba
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Vivek Singh, Rutgers University

7pm SIG CON

Chirag Shah, Rutgers University, Chair

*****

Wednesday, November 1

10:30am Learnsourcing: Is it Working or Failing, and Where to Go from Here? (Panel Session)
Manasa Rath, Rutgers University

Oleksandr Zakharchuk, Brainly Inc.
Rich Gazan, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Sanghee Oh, Chungnam National University in South Korea
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Mega Subramaniam, University of Maryland

Social Events

Sunday, October 29th at 9:30pm: Party with the Professors

Monday, October 30th at 8:30pm: ASIS&T Reception

Tuesday, October 31st at 7pm: SIG CON


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.

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!