Browsed by
Category: Awards

Prof. Chirag Shah is receiving the KSJ Award 2019 and giving a keynote at ECIR 2020.

Prof. Chirag Shah is receiving the KSJ Award 2019 and giving a keynote at ECIR 2020.

Our lab director, Prof. Chirag Shah, is receiving the Microsoft BCS/BCS IRSG Karen Spärck Jones Award (KSJ Award) 2019 and he is giving a keynote this Wednesday at the 42nd European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2020). 

About the KSJ Award

KSJ Award is created by The British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG) in conjunction with the BCS sine 2008. The award also sponsored by Microsoft Research. See more detail at

About the keynote

“Task-Based Intelligent Retrieval and Recommendation”

While the act of looking for information happens within a context of a task from the user side, most search and recommendation systems focus on user actions (‘what’), ignoring the nature of the task that covers the process (‘how’) and user intent (‘why’). For long, scholars have argued that IR systems should help users accomplish their tasks and not just fulfill a search request. But just as keywords have been good enough approximators for information need, satisfying a set of search requests has been deemed to be good enough to address the task. However, with changing user behaviors and search modalities, specifically found in conversational interfaces, the challenge and opportunity to focus on task have become critically important and central to IR. In this talk, I will discuss some of the key ideas and recent works — both theoretical and empirical — to study and support aspects of task. I will show how we could derive user’s search path or strategy and intentions, and how they could be instrumental in not only creating more personalized search and recommendation solutions, but also solving problems not possible otherwise. Finally, I will extend this to the realm of intelligent assistants with our recent work in a new area called Information Fostering, where our knowledge of the user and the task can help us address another classical problem in IR — people don’t know what they don’t know.

See more detail and join the conference for free at

Graduation Celebrations for our InfoSeekers

Graduation Celebrations for our InfoSeekers

2019 commencement celebrations have arrived. First, we must extend our enormous congratulations to both Dr. Matthew Mitsui and Dr. Ziad Matni for completing their PhDs!

Dr. Ziad Matni with Professor Chirag Shah.
Dr. Matthew Mitsui with Professor Chirag Shah.

Additionally, we must celebrate InfoSeeker Ruoyuan Gao for passing her qualifying exams this semester! And, InfoSeeker Jiqun Liu won outstanding continuing doctoral student award in the area of Information Science this semester.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the great work of our undergraduate InfoSeekers. Divya Parikh has been working on our social media system SOCRATES. Samantha Lee worked on a project that assessed the variety of approaches to improve community Q&A platforms as part of Project SUPER. Ruchi Khatri worked on a project as part of Project SUPER that investigated which factors affect stress in human computer interaction, interactive information retrieval, health search, and interface design. And, Gayeon Yoo is working on a project for our system, SOCRATES.

Congratulations again to all of our InfoSeekers and their hard work this year!

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.

A Summer of Productive Fun for InfoSeekers

A Summer of Productive Fun for InfoSeekers

Activities included travel, classes, lab meetings and socializing!

Where does one begin to describe the summer of 2018? Chirag summed it up when he said, “We had a fantastic, fun, and productive summer. I think even having lab meetings every week throughout the summer is an achievement. We learned a lot from each other and had fun doing so. InfoSeekers have won awards, presented papers, and traveled to different corners of the world. Even our alumni have done some wonderful things.”

InfoSeekers line up for an end-of-summer group photo.

The following captures just the highlights of InfoSeekers at work and play, keeping things interesting as they moved their studies forward.

Manasa Rath went to summer school in Los Angeles, and her team rated runner-up status for an award for a project for “Summer Methods Course on Computational Social Sciences.” Before attending the course, Manasa had scored full funding for her travels, accommodation and other support. (Only 11 percent of those who apply for this support receive it.) While there, she met other graduate students from the U.S. and Europe who were learning about automated textual analysis. Her team’s project concerned using word embeddings to measure ethnic stereotypes from various news corpora, including NPR (National Public Radio) and The New York Times.

Meanwhile, Souvick Ghosh did a ten-week internship as part of the LEADS-4-NDP (National Digital Platform) Fellowship Program. Each intern in the program worked with different industry partners focusing on data science problems. Vic collaborated with OCLC Research to cluster publisher names using MARC records. (OCLC is the global library cooperative that provides shared technology services; MARC stands for Machine-Readable Catalog and has provided the national standard for the description of items for the digital catalog for libraries since 1971.) In their internship work they attempted to cluster instances of MARC records that contain different information such as the title of a book, the author, the publisher, ISBN number, etc. The idea was to cluster the instances of same publisher entities, exploring different hashing and machine-learning approaches, additionally evaluating the relative importance of various features for classifying entities.

InfoSeekers continued lab meetings throughout the summer.

In other updates, Jiqun Liu and Shawon Sarkar started the recruitment phase for a study on people’s search experience and preferred supports in information seeking, the purpose of which is to improve Web search. So far, four people have completed the study. Recruitment and running the study will likely continue through mid-October.

InfoSeeking Lab Director and all-around inspired leader Chirag Shah did his share of travel this summer including a visit to Ryerson University in Toronto, where he gave a talk about data and algorithmic biases. (See his August 6 blog.) But the real fun was being able to finish his goal of making it to all 50 of the states in the U.S.

Please be sure to scroll all the way down to see the fun capper snapshot!

Diana Soltani presenting her summer research on Coagmento with a poster and a demo.

Never let it be said that InfoSeekers are anti-social. Lunch out helps punctuate the end of a great summer.

Alaska was the final frontier for Chirag’s quest to visit all 50 U.S. states. Here are Chirag and Lori Shah in a kayak in the mountains in White Pass, which is actually in the Canadian Yukon territories if you want to get picky. (Did you know that the kayak comes to us from the native peoples of Alaska, Canada and Greenland?)











By the way, have a wonderful fall semester, InfoSeekers, and a very Happy Birthday to Chirag!

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.

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!