Sunday, December 30, 2007

WordNet

I installed WordNet on my PC and found it very interesting in many ways. Just in case you do not know about this, according to Wikipedia "WordNet is a semantic lexicon for the English language. It groups English words into sets of synonyms called synsets, provides short, general definitions, and records the various semantic relations between these synonym sets. The purpose is twofold: to produce a combination of dictionary and thesaurus that is more intuitively usable, and to support automatic text analysis and artificial intelligence applications. The database and software tools can be downloaded and used freely." You can download the software from this site

Saturday, December 29, 2007

EFQM

At the recent monthly meeting of ILISA I learned more about European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and found it a useful framework to enhance the quality of services in libraries. I think this is a fruitful area for further research and practice in LIS. Based on this website: " The EFQM Excellence Model is a practical tool that can be used in various ways: as a tool for Self-assessment, as a way to benchmark with other organisations, as a guide to identify areas for improvement, as the basis for a common vocabulary and a way of thinking, and also as a structure for the organisation's management system."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Relevance

Recently I was teaching the concept of "relevance" in one of my lectures and at the end I said: Relevance is so relevant to LIS and without relevance LIS will be so irrelevant. This is my ultimate thought about relevance!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

MLIS Conference

I attended a conference in Tehran on last Wednesday about Medical Library and Information Science (MLIS). The main topics which were covered at the conference were: MLIS History, MLIS Education, Information Needs of Medical Staff, Information Organization in Medical Resources, Medical Community and Health Sciences Information Professional, Tools for Information Storage and Retrieval in MLIS, Medical Databases, Interdisciplinary Nature of MLIS, and MLIS Associations. I was one of the referees at the conference and also a member of the panel in one session. The great participation and contribution of MLIS and LIS students at the conference was very encouraging for me.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Repository 4 Iranian Researchers

"Repository 4 Iranian Researchers" is an open access database to provide free web-based access to the bibliographic information of some publications by Iranian authors in scientific subjects around the world. For further information please have a look at this site.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Contextual Recall and Precision

Recently in one of my university lectures I was teaching the concepts of Recall and Precision to my students. As you might know these concepts are used by IR researchers to assess the search performance of various IR systems. In my lecture I highlighted the fact that regarding the intrinsic complexity in the relevance concept our calculation of Recall and Precision will always be problematic. I think to address this issue we can consider it form a contextual approach. As a result, for any system we might be able to consider new measures which I'd like to call "Contextual Recall and Precision" which not only shows the performance of the system, but also contains the contextual elements which can potentially affect our measurement. The only dilemma here is the way we use to identify the important contextual elements and how we attribute each one's role in the final Recall and Precision.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Reference Services and Information Science

A two day conference about Reference Services and Information Science is taking place at the National Library. This event is mainly organized by the Union of Iranian Library and Information Science Students Associations (ADKA). The conference's theme is about using new technologies in reference work and exploring new methods to enhance our services in various libraries. Yesterday I attended there as a member of the panel in the last session. The second day of the conference is being held today at the same venue. It was very encouraging for me that the event was held mainly by LIS students from different universities. They are doing very well in team working and I am optimistic about the success of their future activities.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Shiraz Meeting

Yesterday I was in Shiraz, a great city in south of Iran, to attend the monthly ILISA meeting and also to visit the Regional Information Centre for Science & Technology. This centre is one of the pioneer institutions in providing universities and researchers with scientific information. The centre has been active in many areas of collecting, organizing and dissemination of scholarly information recourses during recent years. They develop many databases such as English abstracts of Persian papers, Persian E-Articles, Persian E-journals, Persian E-books and Persian Journal Citation Reports. They also offer document delivery cervices for the academic libraries. During this visit I met many colleagues from the ILISA branches and it was very encouraging to see all LIS progress that we can see in Iran during the current years.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

IL Skills for Medical Students

I was in Kerman recently to attend a conference on medical librarianship and also to run a workshop about "Information Literacy Skills for Medical Students". A number of librarians from different medical libraries attended the workshop. I focused on the importance of IL in medicine and how we can teach medical students to enhance their IL skills. Moreover, we reviewed a number of medical databases and specialized search tools in life sciences.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Decade Exploration in LIS

The current week is the book week in Iran and some conferences, exhibitions and ceremonies are being held in different parts of the country. I have been involved in some of these activities. For example, I delivered a speech at the National Library for new LIS students form different universities in Tehran about my experience of ten years exploration in LIS. I talked about top ten reasons that I like this field; top ten areas of work for LIS students in future, top ten features of a successful librarian, top ten reasons of LIS progress in Iran and finally ten pieces of advice for them. I also made another speech today about the educational role of librarians in developing the research skills of students.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ontology or Ontography?

I attended a conference called "Thesauri and their Applications in Electronic Environments" in Qom on last Thursday. I was one of the referees and a member of the conference's scientific committee. I'll write a report about the conference later on. Among all useful things that I learned on that day, Professor Horri's idea about ontology is notable here. He mentioned what we call "ontology" is in fact "ontography" because we develop different ontologies based on our perception of the them which is not necessarily compatible with what they really are.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Interdisciplinary Nature of LIS

I think one of the most fascinating features of LIS (Library and Information Science) is its interdisciplinary nature. After a decade studying, working and researching in LIS I would say this subject is truly interdisciplinary and this makes it so exciting for me. While we use the theoretical frameworks in social sciences we utilize the technological facilities in computer science. The wide breadth of this interdisciplinary subject provides us with plenty of opportunities for further research and innovation. If you just have a quick look at the research papers in some of the core journals of LIS, you will confirm this reality.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

LILAC 2008

LILAC 2008 (The Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference) will take place at Liverpool John Moores University, 17th - 19th March 2008.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Learning in Second Life

It seems the 3D virtual world of Second Life is becoming more popular recently. Regarding my personal interest to distance learning in general and to e-learning in particular, I think SL can provide both teachers and learners with great opportunities to enhance their learning activities. Also, I heard that librarians are among the active groups in SL. I read somewhere that even a virtual reference desk in SL is staffed by a group of real life volunteer librarians for several hours per week. They also hold some workshops out there to assist other librarians and educators to learn more about SL.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

E-Learning

In one of the postgraduate modules that I teach in this semester I am trying to explore the concept of e-learning from different perspectives. I would like to consider various ways in which we can use e-learning to enhance the process of learning. E-learning, virtual learning, computer-based learning and similar terms refer to all teaching and learning activities which use computer facilities in general and online media in particular to smooth the progress of learning. In the future posts I will write more about my experience of e-learning and what I consider in my teaching about this issue. Now I just wanted to add a new category in my weblog about e-learning. That is for now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

GT in Psychology

Today morning I delivered a speech in a meeting held by the Iranian Psychology Association. My speech was about the implications and implementations of Grounded Theory (GT) in social science research. Almost all of the participants in the meeting were academic staff and postgraduate students form different psychology departments. I firstly introduced GT and briefly mentioned its history. Then I illustrated the meaning of GT as an inductive and exploratory approach in research and its values as a systematic research methodology to explore little understood phenomena. I also explained my own experience of using GT in my PhD research and what I have learned by implementation of this methodology. Moreover, I referred to the possible ways which enable researchers to enhance the credibility of their findings based on GT method. The participants' comments on my presentation were very useful for me to hear the ideas of a number of researchers who mainly came from quantitative camp. This is always enlightening to look at something from the others' perspective and I had this chance today to look at GT from the perspectives of quantitative-oriented researchers. Although, after four years of reading, writing and using GT I believe this is a powerful methodology which enables us to conduct exploratory research, I would never underestimate the value of quantitative approaches in conducting vigorous studies. I believe we need a combination of inductive and deductive approaches in one hand and also a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to reach credible results.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

DIKW

DIKW stands for "Data Information Knowledge and Wisdom" which is called Knowledge Hierarchy, Knowledge Pyramid, Information Hierarchy or Information Pyramid. To learn more about this issue, you can have a look at this site or this one. However, I would recommend you to read this paper: Rowley, J. (2006). 'Where is the wisdom that we have lost in knowledge?' Journal of Documentation 62 (2), pp. 251-270. This paper provides you with a profound vision about the real meaning of wisdom which is rarely discussed in KM literature.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

70 Types of Libraries

In some resources I have seen some people make a distinction between digital, electronic and virtual libraries. Although I am not sure how these three terms exactly differ, if I add them to my recent list of 67+1 kinds of libraries then we will have precisely 70 sorts of libraries.

Top-Ten Teaching and Learning Issues, 2007

The EDUCAUSE Advisory Committee for Teaching and Learning (ACTL) has identified the key technology-related teaching and learning issues in higher education for 2007 as follows: Establishing and supporting a culture of evidence, Demonstrating improvement of learning, Translating learning research into practice, Selecting appropriate models and strategies for e-learning, Providing tools to meet growing student expectations, Providing professional development and support to new audiences, Sharing content, applications, and application development
Protecting institutional data, Addressing emerging ethical challenges and Understanding the evolving role of academic technologists. To see the whole story please have a look at this site.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Knowledge Sharing in Interdisciplinary Fields

Recently, I have become so interested to the area of Knowledge Management and have reviewed a number of books and papers in this topic. Some of these papers were very informative and enlightening and opened new horizons to my mind. Among different aspects of KM I found the process of Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Networks so fascinating. In particular when I can see the links between these aspects of KM and learning procedures I can see many potential topics for further research. Moreover, I like to learn more about the process of leaning and knowledge sharing in the interdisciplinary subjects and for interdisciplinary people. As I have had always an interdisciplinary view during my education years, I'd like to learn more about what happens to interdisciplinary people when they interact with fellow researchers from other subjects. I like the interdisciplinary nature of my subject (Information Science) as the most attractive feature of this field. The subjects that I consider in my interdisciplinary perspective are psychology, sociology, management, computer science and education.

67+1 Types of Libraries

After a review of a number of sources I have identified 67 types of libraries. I would like to add "Future Libraries" as the 68th item in the list. Therefore, I have called the list as 67+1. Of course, these groups of libraries can be re-categorized into some broader categories. The criteria which might be considered to regroup these libraries are: size of the collection, type and format of resources, level of specificity in the collected materials, resource development policy, potential and actual users, geographical features, mission statement, and library service policy in each category. However, in this post I'd like to only name all of these types as follows which have been sorted alphabetically:

Academic & University Libraries, Affiliated Libraries, Agricultural Science Libraries, Ancient and Medieval Libraries, Art Libraries, Audio-visual Libraries,
Blind People Libraries, Box Libraries, Branch Libraries, Caravan Libraries,
Central & Main Libraries, Chained Libraries, Children Libraries, Circulating Libraries, Class Libraries, College Libraries, Copyright Libraries, County Libraries, Cybermobile Libraries, Departmental Libraries, Depository Libraries,
Digital Libraries, Disabled People Libraries, Document Depository Libraries,
Esperanto Libraries, Floating Libraries, General Libraries, General Research Libraries, Governmental Libraries, Health Science Libraries, Hospital Libraries,
Hybrid Libraries, Important People's Libraries or Libraries about important people, Industrial Libraries, Institutional Libraries, International Libraries, Libraries for Special Users, Mobile Libraries, Mosque Libraries, Municipal Libraries, Museum Libraries, Music Libraries, National Libraries, Parliamentary Libraries, Patent Libraries, Prison Libraries, Private Libraries, Public Libraries, Reference Libraries, Regional Libraries, Religious Libraries, Rental Libraries, Repository Libraries, Research Libraries, Royal Libraries, Rural Libraries, School Libraries, Sister Libraries, Special Libraries, State Libraries, Students' Libraries, Subscription Libraries, Technical Libraries, Teenage Libraries, Toy Libraries, Traveling Libraries, Urban Libraries, and finally Future Libraries. In LIS research we can do a variety of studies based on the types of libraries. The possibilities are almost endless. I'll mention some of them in the future posts.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Students' Perceptions

I teach a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate modules at the university in this semester. The modules include 'Basics of Databases Design and Evaluation in Social Sciences', 'Practical Computing', 'General References', and 'Statistics & Probability' for undergraduate students and 'Information Storage & Retrieval' and 'Basics of Computer Programming' for postgraduate students. At the first session of each module I asked my students to draw a simple mind map of their perceptions about what they already knew about the subject and what they expect to learn during this semester in the module. Most of them were somehow uncertain about what they might learn during the module. I'll ask them to draw another mind map at the end of the semester to compare these two which I hope would be considerably different.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Exploratory Journey During My Education Years (2)

This is the second part: When I began my PhD research, at the outset, I supposed I am going to be an information technologist. However, after three years I felt that I was a social scientist rather than a technologist! The main focus of my study transformed gradually. My focal view changed in two directions. First of all my perception about what I need to do in my PhD was changed and secondly my viewpoints about the nature of PhD was reformed as well. In terms of my perception about the nature of PhD I passed through a long way. At the early days of my study, just like many other new research students, I neither had a clear idea about the specific theme of my research nor about the nature of PhD. I spent some time to discover more about these two issues. In fact, while I was trying to design my research project I found out more about the real meaning of PhD as a process of learning. Now I can look back and see how my perception has been transformed towards a more productive way. When I managed to define my research scope, I started looking at my research in a different way. Over the second year I looked at it as an “exploratory journey”. It was a journey because I was moving from the initial stages towards new arenas. Moreover, it was exploratory because I have arrived at new areas and found new directions that I had no idea about them at the beginning. In the third year of my study I had a new vision. I imagined my PhD study as a process of drawing a “small picture” in a “big painting”. I believe each PhD student needs to draw a picture which can be fitted into a big drawing of his/her research field. The big painting consists of many tiny pictures which are interwoven together. Nevertheless, each tiny picture possesses the main features and elements of the whole big painting.
The process of drawing happens during the years of PhD research. At the beginning you need to find the best painting which suits your interests. However, it is not easy at all because the big painting is vague and conceptual. It gradually becomes clear just in your mind and only after carrying out a comprehensive literature review. Discovering the big pictures never happens over a night and requires some time. The time that you require to spend to discover it depends on many factors including your commitment to review the literature systematically and constantly, the nature of your field, and etc. In the next stage you need to locate a good gap somewhere in the big image. Then you have to carefully follow the style, colours, dimensions and other features of the big drawing. Eventually, your small picture will be integrated to the big painting. In fact, at the end your picture not only nicely fills the gap but also should make new space for the future people to draw new pictures. Now when I look back the way that I have passed I can see the main milestones of my journey. I am sure this is not the end of the journey and over the next years I will probably find new routes but I still do not know what these new routes might look like. I have to move on and find out.

An Exploratory Journey During My Education Years (1)

This is an informal writing that I had written it about two years ago and I did not published it anywhere. I just bumped into it while I was idly browsing my old files: "I did my first degree (BSc.) in agriculture and plant breeding. After graduation from agriculture school I initially decided to continue my education in one of the master courses in agriculture. Nonetheless, I always had a feeling that there must be another subject which can be more suitable to my personal interests and can give me more satisfaction. Meanwhile a friend of mine who was an undergraduate student in a library school was very enthusiastic about his course and he usually talked with me about what he was studying. When he learned about my hesitation on selecting the subject for my further study he encouraged me to apply for the master of library and information science. I was not sure how successful I can be in this filed because it was totally different with what I had studied before. Even so, I found the topic very interesting and I started reading some textbooks of library science. Eventually, I applied for the master of library and information science which is a two years course in my country Iran. After graduation in master degree I began working in an academic library as a reference librarian. Interestingly, my familiarity with life science in general and with agricultural topics in particular was very helpful for those users who were looking for information in the related fields. It was an enjoyable job for me and when my help was useful for a user in finding what s/he was looking for I felt a real sense of satisfaction. Moreover, I gradually became interested in using of computerized facilities in libraries and I felt there are many things that I need to learn about the implementation of the new technologies in libraries and I decided to continue my study in PhD and I applied for PhD at the University of Sheffield ...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Summer is over

Today was the first official day of autumn. The university has come back to normal now and everything seems fresh at the beginning of the new semester. I have a variety of modules to teach in undergraduate and master level. I'll try to use ICT in my teaching and my weblog is one the simplest way that would help me to enhance my teaching.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

After a Year

Today is 22nd of September which is a memorable day for me. I passed my PhD viva last year in this day. The following three papers were published just yesterday to give me a good reason to remind this day.

1. Mansourian, Y. and Ford, N. (2007). “Web searchers’ attributions of success and failure: an empirical study”. Journal of Documentation, Vol. 63 No. 5, pp. 659-679.

2. Mansourian, Y. and Ford, N. (2007). “Search persistence and failure on the Web: a “bounded rationality” and “satisficing” analysis. Journal of Documentation, Vol. 63 No. 5, pp. 680-701.

3. Mansourian, Y. and Madden, A. (2007). “Perceptions of the web as a search tool amongst researchers in biological sciences”. New Library World Vol. 108 No. 9/10, pp. 407-423.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

EBLIP

The journal of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice is seeking papers for future issues. The topics are: EBL application, qualitative or quantitative research, management and administration issues related to EBP, research tools (statistics, data collection methods, etc.), collaborative and interprofessional EBP, research education in library schools, evidence-based practices from other disciplines applicable to EBL, harnessing evidence to support new innovations, developing and applying evidence based tools, future prospects for the evidenced based information profession and maximizing the value and impact of our information services. All manuscripts are submitted online. Further information on submissions, can be found on the journal website.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Academic Writing

I just came back home from a workshop that I did run for a group of faculty members of universities about how to enhance their writing skills in English to be more successful in publishing papers in academic journals. It was a great opportunity for me to discuss about academic writing with a number of fellow researchers. Most of them were more experienced than me in academia and I was lucky to be among them. My next semester begins on next Saturday and I am going to teach five days per week at two universities! This can be a bit tiring and I have already felt exhausted when I think about it! Although teaching is so rewarding, it may stop one from following his research interests as this is very energy consuming to deliver lectures and requires a lot of time to prepare lecture notes.
I wish I could be a PhD student once again to have enough time to explore a subject in great detail for a long time. If someone can sponsor me to do another PhD in an area in my research interests I am happy to do it again for another four years!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Workshop on Grounded Theory

I had a joint workshop for ILISA at the National Library of Iran on last Friday from 9:00 am to 5 pm. The workshop was about the basics of qualitative research in general and Grounded Theory in particular as an example of inductive qualitative methodology. Dr. Ebrahim Afshar and I were the teachers of the workshop and 57 academic librarians and LIS students from different parts of the country attended there.
We deliberately employed an unplanned method to teach the principles of qualitative research and Grounded Theory to run the workshop based on an intuitive development of the discussions with participants and it really worked. Dr. Afshar and I had not arranged the details of the topics and slides before the workshop. In fact, we employed an exploratory approach and tried to explain the pivotal aspects of Grounded Theory. I explained real examples of my PhD research to show how we can employ this methodology in practice.
During the last eight months I have had several workshops on different topics for different groups of people but this one was very different and I enjoyed of taking part in discussions and exploring the topics thoroughly.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Workshop on Academic Writing

I did run a workshop about essential skills to develop and publish research papers in academic journals for some of the faculty members from different universities. I developed the outline of the workshop mainly based on my personal experience in academic writing. We focused on different aspects of scholar writing including motivations and different kinds of writing, essential elements of a good paper and how to enhance the quality and acceptability of our paper. At the end we concluded that a well-written academic paper should possess 4C and it should be Clear, Coherent, Consistent and Concise.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Inquiry-Based Learning in ICS

I just learned that the January 2008 issue of Italics will focus on Inquiry-based Learning in Information and Computer Sciences. In their call for contribution they stated that "... this Special Issue will provide an opportunity to explore current developments and questions in inquiry-based learning from the perspective of the ICS disciplines. Questions that may be addressed by the Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following: What is the current 'state of play' in inquiry-based learning practice and innovation in ICS? What methods are being used in different curriculum areas, with what effects? What is the value of inquiry-based learning in ICS contexts? What are the specific, discipline-related issues or concerns to which inquiry-based learning relates? What do experience, evaluation and research tell us about effective design, facilitation and assessment of inquiry-based learning, at different levels of the curriculum? What are the challenges and issues of inquiry-based learning in our disciplines and subject areas, and how can we address these? How are digital technologies, including Web 2.0 tools and environments, being used to support student inquiry and with what effects on the student experience? How do students from diverse backgrounds – including international students - perceive and experience inquiry-based learning? What are the implications for engaging students more effectively in inquiry, and for developing practice?"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

PIM and Disappearing Desktop

PIM 2008 (Personal Information Management) will take place in April 5 & 6, 2008 in Florence, Italy. PIM is one of my favourite areas. The workshop's website defines this area as "… PIM is the practice and study of the activities people perform to acquire, organize, maintain, and retrieve information for everyday use. PIM is a growing area of interest as we all strive for better use of our limited personal resources of time, money, and energy, as well as greater workplace efficiency and productivity. Good research on the topic is being done in several disciplines, including human-computer interaction, database management, information retrieval, and artificial intelligence." The topics covered by this workshop include (1) Understanding PIM to understand how people manage their personal information beyond their desktop, how they find and re-find information, how they keep and organize information and methods and methodologies of PIM fieldwork: How do we study PIM? (2) Tools and Techniques in Support of PIM such as mobile and Web-based PIM tools, underlying data representation and the unification of personal information, tools for finding and re-finding personal information, tools for keeping and organizing personal information, methods and methodologies for the evaluation of PIM tools, teachable/learnable strategies of PIM (3) PIM in the Larger World including group information management, privacy and projection of personal information, security, law and policies (public and corporate), and PIM for different people and situations (e.g., patients, aging populations)The workshop theme is the "Disappearing Desktop". The traditional desktop computer and even the desktop computing metaphor may soon be relics of our digital information past. Many people now rely primarily on mobile computers, docking only on occasion to a larger keyboard and display. Other people do not rely on a single device, but rather access, organize, and manage their personal information through any device that provides access the Web. A rush of developments with mobile and Web-based computing is pulling the traditional digital desktop apart. As this happens, we face new challenges and opportunities in personal information management.

Monday, August 06, 2007

ECIR 2008

30th European Conference on Information Retrieval will take place in Glasgow from 30th March to 3rd April, 2008. ECIR is the main European forum for the presentation of new research results in the field of IR. The conference intends to cover all aspects of accessing digital information with or without explicitly specified semantics. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) Theory and Models for Information Retrieval, Efficiency and Performance of IR, Platforms, Architectures, Applications of IR, Evaluation and Test collections, Indexing Query representation, Query reformulation, Structure-based representation, XML, Metadata. Summarization, Natural language processing for IR, Cross-language and multilingual Information Retrieval and ect.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Summer Activities

This is my first summer after the completion of my PhD with less work and more free time. However, I am not totally on leave and do some educational activities. For example, I ran a one-day workshop at Astan Quds library on Tuesday 31 July. The workshop's topic was about my main research interest, the invisible web and information seeking behaviour on the web. I explored the differences between the literature-based definition of the invisible web and what I mean by this phenomenon based on my PhD research. More than thirty members of the library staff participated in the workshop. Some of the comments that I received about the model of cognitive invisibility (published in 2006 in JDOC vol. 62, issue 5) were very useful to view the model from the perspective of some experienced librarians. I tried to explain the practical implications of the model in theory, policy and practice.
I also had a speech today for a group of the librarians who work in the cultural centres. It was about the principles of library management in public libraries. I just illustrated a general picture of this issue and highlighted the pivotal importance of user satisfaction in evaluating library services. I also referred to the educational aspects of librarianship and the role that we as librarians can play to instruct library users to be life-long and independent learners.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Searcher II: Job Description

This is an example of new job description for librarians in a job called Searcher II ... Analyzes search request to determine requirements and strategy, develops and modifies complex search strategies to conduct searches of electronic resources, reviews and prepares search results for customer in specified formats, uses independent judgment in selecting from a wide variety of electronic databases, fluently uses search tools offered by a number of vendors as well as in house systems to develop complex search strategies and conduct the searches, responds to requests requiring difficult and comprehensive searches for information through the use of primary and secondary sources, both current and retrospective, ephemeral materials, and/or information not readily available in published form, identifies, examines, and evaluates major publications and tools in scientific and technical areas covered by the centre to which they are assigned, acts as a back up for reference staff in provision or reference assistance.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Information Literacy in Germany

Konstanz Workshop on Information Literacy will be held in 8th and 9th November 2007, in Konstanz (Germany). The main topics includes methods and measures for improving the IL of advanced users, assessment and evaluation of IL skills, field reports, best-practice-examples and results for subsequent use, the integration of IL into the curricula of master and doctoral programmes. More Information on the workshop is available at this address.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

2nd Call for Contribution

I had posted a Call for Contribution in 25th March on the weblog. As I have not received enough responses yet, I repeat it here to hopefully get more answers.
I would like to explore some of the questions that I have had in my mind since I began reading weblogs and developing my own blog. There are many unanswered questions about the influence of weblogs on different groups of society including LIS people (e.g. academics, practitioners, students and librarians) that need to be answered. In this study I am using a simple method. I use my own weblog to call for contribution and collect the data. In fact, the blogger collects data in blogsphere, among blogger community and about blogging. I have ten questions as follows. If you like to contribute in this study please briefly answer the following questions and email your answers to me: y.mansourian at gmail.com by the end of May 2007.If you wish to take part in this study your name will not appear in any report resulting from this study and all information you provide is completely confidential. On completion of my research, I will be pleased to send you a summary report detailing the results. Moreover, you have the right to withdraw at any time, and your data will be destroyed immediately. If you do not want to answer all questions, you can answer as many questions as you wish.
Q1: For what purposes you read weblogs?
Q2: If you have your own weblog, for what purposes you develop it?
Q3: What kinds of weblogs are the most favourite ones for you?
Q4: How would you define a useful weblog?
Q5: How useful the existing weblogs in your area of study are found by you?
Q6: Can a weblog be considered as a source of information and a means of communication for the member of your community?
Q7: In your opinion which element/elements of weblogs are found the most attractive for weblog readers which encourage them to revisit a weblog?
Q8: Which elements of blogging do help bloggers to keep updating their weblogs? What are the sources of encouragement that keep them enthusiastic to maintain their weblog up-to-date?Q9: What are the reasons that stop bloggers of continuing to maintain their weblog up-to-date? What are the sources of frustration for bloggers which lead them to give up blogging?
Q10: How does the reading behaviour of weblog readers and writing habit/style of bloggers change over time?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Workshops

I organized and ran a workshop at IranDoc last week on information literacy skills for social science students. I also had another workshop today for a group of academics who mainly were from engineering areas about how to write and publish papers. Running workshops is an energy consuming job because you have to focus and talk on a specific issue for hours. However, I think this is an efficient way to explore an idea with a group of people. Of course, the success of a workshop depends on the level of interaction between the workshop organizer and the participants.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Semantic Web and Web 2.0

Workshop on the Many Faces of Multimedia Semantics will be held in September 28, 2007 at the University of Augsburg. In their email to ASIS they mentioned that "... the Semantic Web enables programs/agents toautomatically understand what data is about, and therefore, bridge the, so-called, semantic gap between the ways in which users request web resources and the real needs of those users, ultimately improving the quality of web information retrieval. Multimedia information has always been part of the Semantic Web paradigm, but, in general, has been discussed very simplistically by the Semantic Web community.
List of toics which are covered in the workshop are Multimedia ontologies, Media ontology learning, Multimedia extraction and annotation, Semantics-based search and integration of multimedia and digital content, Emergent semantics, Folksonomies, Genre detection, Semantics enabled multimedia applications (including search, browsing, retrieval, visualization), Semantics enabled networks and middleware for multimedia applications, Semantic metadata for mobile applications and so on.

Friday, June 22, 2007

CONTEXT 07

The Sixth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Modeling and Using Context (CONTEXT 07) will provide a forum for presenting and discussing high-quality research and applications on context. The conference will include paper and poster presentations, system demonstrations, workshops, and a doctoral consortium. For more information have a look at this address.

International Journal of Web Information Systems

I just learned about a new journal called "The International Journal of Web Information Systems (IJWIS)" which seeks to present visionary concepts and stimulating ideas in web information systems at both the theory and application levels. The journal's topics of particular interest are Metadata and ontologies, Web semantics architectures, applications and standards, Language and representation issues of web semantics, Migrating existing information, Web mining, Web search and information extraction, Web structure/linkage mining, Applications of web mining and searching, Web databases, Web data integration, Web schema management and Web media. IJWIS is part of Emerald.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Journal of Web Librarianship

The Journal of Web Librarianship is currently seeking manuscripts for a special issue 'Library Websites: Evaluation and Usability Studies'. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2007.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

EBLIP

The latest issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) was published recently and is accessible at this address. EBLIP is an open access journal in LIS and I am a member of its Editorial Advisory Board.

Contextualization of Web Searching

I have developed another paper based on my PhD research which is now accepted to publish in The Electronic Library, Vol. 26, No. 1, scheduled to appear in April 2008. My paper's title is Contextualization of Web Searching: A Grounded Theory Approach.

Monday, June 04, 2007

ICDIM 2007

The Second IEEE International Conference on Digital Information Management (ICDIM 2007) will be held from 28 to 31 October 2007 in Lyon, France. This is a multidisciplinary conference on digital information management, science and technology. The main topics which are included in the themes are Information Management, Multimedia Information Systems, IR, Digital Libraries, Data and Information Quality Management, Data Grids, Data and Information Quality, Database Management, Temporal and Spatial Databases, Data Mining, E-Learning, eCommerce, eBusiness and eGovernment, Web Metrics and its applications, Semantic Web and Ontology and etc.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Grounded Theory in Isfahan

Last week I went to Isfahan to deliver a presentation at the conference of Challenges of Information Science at Isfahan University on last Wednesday. The title of my presentation was "What is Grounded Theory and What is Its Application?" I talked about the nature of Grounded Theory and how we can use this methodology in our research.
Also, yesterday I had another presentation in Tehran about "The Role of the Invisible Web on Information Accessibility of Biomedical Databases" at The School of Public Health and Institute of Public Health Research which is the oldest and largest center of health studies in Iran. A group of academic staff, researchers and PhD students of the school attended the presentation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Recent Workshops and Presentations

Last week I had a workshop at IranDoc about Information Literacy for medical & health science students. Yesterday, I made a speech at the National Library of Iran about the first phase of my PhD to introduce the first model that I have developed during my research in Sheffield. At the end of the presentation some of the participants made interesting comments and asked some questions about the model and I addressed their comments and questions.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Webometrics

I attended a conference in Birjand city from 16 to 17 may called "Information, Informology and Society". As part the conference programs, I delivered a workshop for the participants about the basics of Webometrics. In my workshop I explored the definition of Webometrics and its links to some broader areas including Scientometrics and Informetrics. Two friends of mine, Alireza Nourozi and Kayvan Koosha, work in this area. Professor Mike Thelwall is also a very well-known researcher in this area.

Monday, May 07, 2007

My Recent Workshops and Panels

During these days I was busy with running different workshops and participation in some research panels. Of course, meanwhile I was involved in my routine teaching and research activities at my university as well.
1. I had another workshop about the invisible web at Irandoc on last Wednesday and Thursday (2 and 3 May 2007). Twenty participants, who were mainly from different academic libraries in Tehran and other cities, took part in the workshop and I explored different aspects of the invisible web over this two-day workshop.
2. I also participated in a panel yesterday (6 May) about the role of Information Literacy in the development of Iran at Tehran International Book Fair.
3. I had a workshop about advanced method of web searching for students in the department of educational technology.
4. I will have a two-day workshop about the basics of Information Literacy at Irandoc in the near future.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another Workshop

I ran another workshop in the Islamic Sciences and Culture Academy on last Thursday 26 April 2007. The workshop was about the basics of Information Literacy. The participants were very enthusiastic about the topic and I received very encouraging comments. Their comments and participation in the discussions showed that there are plenty to say about different aspects of Information Literacy in various contexts.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

ILISA News

In the recent ILISA meeting we shared the responsibilities of different committees among the members of the board. I have been appointed as the director of the Research Committee and the assistant director of the Educational Committee. We are going to expand our research and educational activities. As a result, if you are working in any parts of the Iranian LIS community and would like to assist ILISA in its research or educational activities, please contact us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

LIS Research Showcase 2007

If you would like to see an example of successful LIS schools you might take a look at the latest research projects of LIS researchers at the Rutgers School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at this address. This event celebrates the 25th Anniversary Year of the school and 80 years of library education at Rutgers (1927-2007). This school is interesting for me because of the diversity of the activities that they do which covers a wide range of studies from technical IR research to user-oriented areas in LIS. The Department of Information Studies in Sheffield, where I did my PhD, also is another example of successful LIS schools.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Workshop's Report

I ran my workshop about the invisible web at Irandoc and in my opinion it was very successful. Twenty participants took part in the workshop during two days and they showed their enthusiasm about the topic by their active participation in the discussions and practices. Most of them were academic librarians and mangers of libraries from different parts of Iran. It was very encouraging for me that they participated in the discussion so enthusiastically. I will run the same workshop at Irandoc for another group in the next week.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Call for Paper

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new interdisciplinary journal which is called "Quarterly of Psychology and Information Science". The journal's language is Persian and is partially sponsored by Tarbiat Moallem University. I work as the executive director of the journal and also a member of the editorial board. The first issue is almost ready for publication and will be out soon. As we cover both psychology and information science in two section of the journal all papers which are related in different aspects of these two subjects will be consider for review. If you would like to contribute in the journal please send your manuscript to me at mansourian @ tmu.ac.ir. Perhaps it seems rather odd that why in the era of specialized journals why we cover these two broad subjects. The reason is the interdisciplinary nature of Psychology and Information Science. Therefore, we supposed having a journal which covers both subjects might make some sorts of links between them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Workshop

I am going to run a two-day workshop in 18 and 19 April at IRANDOC centre. The workshop's title is "An Introduction to the Invisible Web Phenomenon and the Theory of Information Invisibility on the Web". For more information about the registration in the workshop please contact the education section of IRANDOC at: edu @ irandoc.ac.ir

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Gmail Print

Gmail print is a new service introduced by gmail. For more information please have a look at this address.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

AIW: Academic Invisible Web

Dirk Lewandowski from the Department of Information Science, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf and Philipp Mayrthe at the Institute of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-University, Berlin, discussed about the Academic Invisible Web (AIW). They define AIW as "... all databases and collections relevant to academia but not searchable by the general-purpose internet search engines." For more deatiles look attheir paper at this address.

Monday, March 26, 2007

h-index, m-index and g-index

In 2005 Hirsch suggested a new measure to assess researchers' productivity and their academic impact. The h-index is defined as "a scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np-h) papers have no more than h citations each". Harzing (2007) cites Glänzel, (2006) and reports "… the advantage of the h-index is that it combines an assessment of both quantity (number of papers) and quality (impact, or citations to these papers)". Since 2005 some researchers have measured h-index in different field. For example: Oppenheim, C. (2007). "Using the h-index to rank influential British researchers in information science and librarianship." JSIST, 58(2), 297-301.
However, h-index is not enough to measure the impact of someone's works in a field. In other words, though h-index is more appropriate than other methods including the total number of citations, the total number of papers and citations per paper, it has its own deficiencies. For example, junior researchers will inevitably have small h-index but it does not necessarily mean they are less productive. To improve these problems new supplementary measures have been proposed which are (1) m-index (accounting for varying lengths of academic careers), (2) g-index(accounting for highly-cited papers), (3) contemporary h-index (accounting for active versus inactive researchers), (4) individual h-index (accounting for differences in co-authorship patterns). To find out about these issues please have a look at the paper entitled "Reflections on the h-index" by Dr. Anne-Wil Harzing.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Call for Contribution

I would like to explore some of the questions that I have had in my mind since I began reading weblogs and developing my own blog. There are many unanswered questions about the influence of weblogs on different groups of society including LIS people (e.g. academics, practitioners, students and librarians) that need to be answered. In this study I am using a simple method. I use my own weblog to call for contribution and collect the data. In fact, the blogger collects data in blogsphere, among blogger community and about blogging. I have ten questions as follows. If you like to contribute in this study please briefly answer the following questions and email your answers to me: y.mansourian at gmail.com by the end of May 2007.
If you wish to take part in this study your name will not appear in any report resulting from this study and all information you provide is completely confidential. On completion of my research, I will be pleased to send you a summary report detailing the results. Moreover, you have the right to withdraw at any time, and your data will be destroyed immediately. If you do not want to answer all questions, you can answer as many questions as you wish.

Q1: For what purposes you read weblogs?
Q2: If you have your own weblog, for what purposes you develop it?
Q3: What kinds of weblogs are the most favourite ones for you?
Q4: How would you define a useful weblog?
Q5: How useful the existing weblogs in your area of study are found by you?
Q6: Can a weblog be considered as a source of information and a means of communication for the member of your community?
Q7: In your opinion which element/elements of weblogs are found the most attractive for weblog readers which encourage them to revisit a weblog?
Q8: Which elements of blogging do help bloggers to keep updating their weblogs? What are the sources of encouragement that keep them enthusiastic to maintain their weblog up-to-date?
Q9: What are the reasons that stop bloggers of continuing to maintain their weblog up-to-date? What are the sources of frustration for bloggers which lead them to give up blogging?
Q10: How does the reading behaviour of weblog readers and writing habit/style of bloggers change over time?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

ESSIR 2007

European Summer School in Information Retrieval (ESSIR 2007) organised by University of Glasgow in cooperation with BCS-IRSG will be held 27-31 August 2007 in Glasgow. "... this 6th edition of the summer school will give participants a grounding in the core subjects of Information Retrieval (IR), such as Architecture, IR models and Evaluation as well as various important applications, such as Web search, Interactive IR, XML Retrieval, Question Answering and Multimedia Retrieval. Moreover, ESSIR 2007 has a strong focus on large-scale IR and covers some recent and trendy topics and applications in IR, such as Distributed and Peer-to-Peer IR, Web Usage and Mining, Intranet/Enterprise search, Blog search and Information Retrieval in Context ..."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Nowrouz

Tomorrow is 21st of March which is the beginning day of Iranian New Year and the time of our national festival called Nowrouz. Happy New Year and Happy Nowrouz to you. I hope you have a successful year, full of happiness and enjoyment.

EBLIP

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice published its latest issue (Vol 2, No 1).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Designing Usable Interfaces

The New England Chapter of the ASIS&T is going to explore the issue of Designing Usable Interfaces on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 in Cambridge, MA. They will integrate three key approaches to user-focused design including "... (1) understand the contexts in which users actually live, work, and search to design online environments that are meaningful and help users meet their goals, (2) focus on how to reduce the intellectual labor required of users in order to improve their satisfaction with web experiences and (3) leverage the psychological effects of color, pattern and other visual cues to guide user behavior ..."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Designing for Uncertainty

This special issue of IPM about "Designing for Uncertainty in Information Seeking" is going to "… discuss the challenges of designing for uncertainty – that is creating information systems that facilitate working with uncertainty rather than simply assuming that we should eliminate it. This call for a different approach to design is based on the premise that (in certain situations) uncertainty can be a powerful mediating strategy for people. Most current systems appear based on an underlying assumption that uncertainty needs to be reduced or avoided altogether. New systems are needed that place uncertainty in a more positive light than is possible at present..." For more information look at the journal homepage.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

IJIRE

I have learned about a new journal which is the International Journal of Internet Research Ethics (IJIRE) as the first peer-reviewed online journal, dedicated specifically to cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural research on Internet Research Ethics.
According to their website "All disciplinary perspectives, from those in the arts and humanities, to the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences, are reflected in the journal ... the IJIRE is published at the Center for Information Policy Research, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thesauri in the Electronic Environment

The Islamic Documentation and Information Center (IDIC) with the co-operation of the Iranian Library and Information Science Association (ILISA) is going to hold a national conference entitled "Thesauri and their Applications in the Electronic Environment", in November 2007 in Qom. I am one of the members of the scientific committee. I will write more details about the conference in the near future.

Desalination of Information

Recently, I made up a new phrase which I would like to call it ‘Desalination of Information’. This is a metaphoric view about the way that people can purify the material that they get from the web. In fact, if we assume the web as ‘an ocean of information’ then end users who are thirsty for drinkable water require desalinated water from that ocean which can be achieved through ‘Desalination of Information’. Therefore this is a process which happens through three stages:
1. Desalination of Information by producers of information who upload information on the web. Of course it does not mean putting control on free publication or censorship. It just means enhancing the information literacy skills of producers to publish better materials.
2. Desalination of Information by search tools which enable people to access less salty information. Search tool designers should enhance the customizing facilities to help in the desalination process of information.
3. Most importantly, Desalination of Information by end users who use the information Now the question is how to desalinate information? The answer is all sorts of literacies.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

ILISA Election

The annual meeting of the Iranian Library and Information Science Association (ILISA) was held in the National Library of Iran from 6th to 7th March 2007. I was member of the scientific committee to review the submitted papers. This year's conference theme was "Modern Approaches in Information Organization".
It was a successful event and considerable number of librarians, LIS lecturers, and LIS students from different parts of the country attended the conference. The quality of presented papers was quite high and the participants actively took part in the sessions. Regarding the main theme of the conference, presented paper was mainly about new approaches in cataloguing, classification, thesauri, and etc.
Besides, it was the time for election to form the new Board of Directors. The new Board of Directors which is consists of seven members should serve the association for three years. I was one of the candidates who were elected.
P.S. ILISA was re-established six years ago. When the association called for new membership, I was one of the first people who filled out the forms to join the association and now my membership number in LISA is one! I am going to do my best to serve ILISA hopefully as an active member of the Board of Directors.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Paper in Informology

One of my new papers was published in Informology. This is a bilingual journal (Persian and English) in LIS and my paper is in English.

Mansourian, Y. (2007). " How Do Researchers Explore End Users’ Web Search Patterns?". Informology, Vol. 3, No. 3-4, pp. 245-253.

My Recent Workshops

I have done two workshops recently. The first one was about cataloguing of internet resources which was held in Astan Quds Research Centre in Mashhad (27 and 28 January) and the second was about the effect of the invisible web on the accessibility of information on the web (28 February). It was held in the Islamic Sciences and Culture Academy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

ISHIMR 2007

ISHIMR 2007 will be held in Sheffiled. The theme of the conference is “From Research to Development to Implementation: Challenges in Health Informatics and Health Information Management.”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Paper in TEL

Dr. Madden and I have published a paper in TEL

Mansourian, Y. and Madden, A. D. (2007). Methodological approaches in web search research. The Electronic Library. Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 90-101.

Abstract:
Purpose – This paper seeks to review the methodologies employed by researchers working in the field of information seeking on the web. It aims to present an overall picture of the research methods used in the area, in a way that will be of value to anyone seeking to design research-based studies of web searching. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the past 11 years of research on information seeking on the web was carried out. The paper focuses mainly on the methodological approaches adopted by researchers, but, where relevant, studies of different aspects of user interaction with web-based search tools are considered. Findings – The area is growing fast and the number of studies has been increasing steadily. A variety of research methods was employed in the studies reviewed here. However, the emphasis to date has been on quantitative rather than qualitative methods. The paper argues that a better balance is needed between these two approaches. Research limitations/implications – Web search research comprises a wide range of related studies, making it difficult for the authors to carry out a comprehensive review. Nevertheless, limiting its focus to methodological aspects of the existing research, this paper provides a useful overview. Originality/value – The paper provides a useful starting-point to any researcher new to web search research, enabling them quickly to achieve an overview of the methodological approaches adopted to date.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Unfinished & Invisible Publications

I was sorting out some of my old stuff including a pile of papers and journals from many years ago. I bumped into some of my writings and even publications that I had forgotten that I have ever written them. Some of this stuff was buried under huge piles of papers and I did not manage to publish. Nevertheless, I have published some of them that I have totally forgotten. For example, in 2002 I have published an article in ILISA newsletter with the following details:

Mansourian, Y. (2002). Library and Information Science Portals: A Selection of Subject Gateways of Librarians on the Web. ILISA Newsletter. Vol. 1, No. 5, pp. 23-27.

P.S. ILISA newsletter is published by Iranian Library and Information Science Association.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Journal of Information Literacy

The first peer-reviewed journal which is exclusively dedicated to Information Literacy and the related topics was launched by the CILIP CSG-Information Literacy Group. The journal which is called "Journal of Information Literacy" (JIL) is now available from the Information Literacy website. According to their announcement, "... JIL is an international, peer-reviewed, academic journal that aims to investigate Information Literacy (IL) within a wide range of settings. Papers on any topic related to the practical, technological or philosophical issues raised by the attempt to increase information literacy throughout society are encouraged. JIL is published in electronic format only and is an open-access title". My PhD supervisor, Sheila Webber, is the editor and I would like to take this opportunity and congratulate her for the launch of the journal.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The First Entry in 2007

This is my first entry in 2007. This weblog has been dormant for a while, but is still alive. It will come back to normal in the near future.