Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Workshop on Qualitative Research Methods

Last week I had a workshop on Qualitative Research Methods for a group of researchers in Tehran. I will upload its PowerPoint file, which includes 60 slides, on my homepage soon.

My Interview with IBNA

Recently I did an interview with IBNA (Iranian Books News Agency) about the research trends in LIS. This is the link.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The 21st Century Information Landscape

The Canadian Association for Information Science seeks abstract submissions for its 37th Annual Conference, to be held May 28-30, 2009 at Carleton University. The conference theme is “Mapping the 21st Century Information Landscape: Borders, Bridges and Byways”. For more information please see this site.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knowledge Management and Information Science

Irandoc and ILISA are going to run their first joint conference in 14 April 2009 to explore the links between Knowledge Management and Information Science. The conference title is "Knowledge Management and Information Science: Links and Interactions" and I am a member its scientific committee. More information on the conference's theme and its topics will appear here soon.

Information Literacy in Five Levels

The 128th issue of Ketab-e-Mah Koliyat was a special issue on Information Literacy. Ketab-e-Mah Koliyat is a monthly journal which covers various aspects of LIS and book reviews in LIS and I am a member of its editorial board. In the especial issue I wrote the editorial note entitled "Information Literacy and its Five Levels" and explained that during the last three decades Information Literacy has been considered in various contexts which I would categorize them into five categories. Hopefully, in the near future I will translate a summary of it in English to post it on this weblog. Meanwhile, the Persian version of this note is accessible here.

Workshop for ICSA

Two weeks ago I delivered a workshop on academic writing for a group of researchers in education at the Mazandaran University. The workshop was held in conjunction with the eighth annual conference of the Iranian Curriculum Studies Association. At the last day of the conference, I also made a speech about the invisible web for the members of the ICT SIG of the association. In general, it was a great chance for me to meet people from other areas and discuss my interdisciplinary interests with them.

A Panel on the Book Week

Two days ago I took part in a live radio panel which was about the "Book Week" in Iran and the related issues to reading habits in the society. In addition to these topics I also briefly talked about the information literacy and how it affects our information seeking behaviours. Just in case you would like to listen to it you can download the file on the archive section of this address on Saturday 15 November, 2008 from 18:00 to 19:30 pm.

New Papers

The following papers were published recently:

Mansourian, Y., Ford, N., Webber, S., Madden, A. (2008). An integrative model of "information visibility" and "information seeking" on the web, Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 402 - 417

Mansourian, Y. (2008). Keeping a learning diary to enhance researchers' understanding of and users' skills in web searching, Library Review, Vol. 57, No. 9, pp. 690 – 699.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back to Blogging Soon

I have been terribly busy with teaching my modules at the university these days and did not manage to update the weblog for a while. Now I am posting this entry in rush between two lectures. However, I'll come back soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Paper in Library Hi Tech

The following paper was published:

Mansourian, Y. (2008). Contextual elements and conceptual components of information visibility on the web, Library Hi Tech, Vol. 26, No. 3. pp. 440 - 453.

DOI: 10.1108/07378830810903355

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Research on Web Log Analysis

Handbook of Research on Web Log Analysis edited by Bernard J. Jansen; Amanda Spink, and Isak Taksa was published by Information Science Reference. The book covers various issues related to Web Log Analysis such as adaptive dialogue-driven search, connector Web site, dynamic Web pages, customization, interaction design, machine learning approach, query log analysis search log analysis, search query classification, search query logs, transaction log analysis, very-scale conversation, Web analytics, Web information seeking behavior, Web log analysis, Web log privacy, Web logging data, Web usage studies, Web-traffic measurement. For more information please see this website.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ECDL 2008

European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries is taking place in Denmark. For more details please see the conference's website.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

ICDIM 2008

The International Conference on Digital Information Management will take place in London, November 2008. The topics in ICDIM 2008 include various areas such as Information Management, Multimedia Information Systems, Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing, Digital Libraries, Data and Information Quality Management, Data and Information Quality, Database Management, Data Mining, Web Mining including Web, Intelligence and Web 3.0, E-Learning, eCommerce, e-Business and e-Government, Web Metrics and its applications, XML and other extensible languages, Semantic Web and Ontology, Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, Knowledge Management, Ubiquitous Systems, Peer to Peer Data Management, Interoperability, Mobile Data Management, Data Models for Production Systems and Services, Data Exchange issues and Supply Chain, Data Life Cycle in Products and Processes, Case Studies on Data Management, Monitoring and Analysis, Distributed information systems, Information visualization, Web services and etc.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

100 Features of a Good Academic Library

Recently I have published an article in Persian which is basically a viewpoint rather than a research paper. The title is: “100 Features of a Good Academic Library” and it was published in Ketab-e Mah-e Kolliyat (No. 126). This paper is based on my general idea and experience in LIS subject as a librarian and LIS lecturer during the recent years. I have organized the contents in 10 sections and each section consists of 10 sub-sections in a Likert scale. In the best situation a library’s score will be 500. I do not claim these features are comprehensive or can be considered as a framework. I only say these criteria can be taken into account for evaluation of academic libraries in general and for identification of areas for further improvement accordingly.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Information Literacy International Logo

Now Information Literacy has an international logo which has been introduced to the world a few days ago at the UNESCO session of the IFLA conference. The logo was designed by Edgar Luy Pérez and according to this website: "The logo communicates, in a simple way, the human ability to both search and access information, not only through traditional means, but also through the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), as it uses graphic resources known all over the world, such as the book and the circle. The first one symbolizes study, and the second, knowledge and information, which today are made more available through informatics, showing with this that its social aim is to communicate. The book, open and next to the circle, comprises with it a visual metaphor representing those people who have the cognitive tools to reach information in a nimble way, as well as the desire to share this ability."

Digital Curation

The School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina will run its second digital curation curriculum symposium entitled "DigCCurr 2009: Digital Curation Practice, Promise and Prospects". This is part of the Preserving Access to Our Digital Future: Building an International Digital Curation Curriculum (DigCCurr) project. According to their announcement, the primary goals of the project are to develop a graduate‐level curricular framework, course modules, and experiential components to prepare students for digital curation in various environments. Based on the definition in Wikipedia digital curation is the curation, preservation, maintenance, and collection and archiving of digital assets and is the process of establishing and developing long term repositories of digital assets for current and future reference by researchers, scientists, and historians, and scholars generally. Digital curation entails collecting verifiable digital assets, providing digital asset search and retrieval, certification of the trustworthiness and integrity of the collection content, and semantic and ontological continuity and comparability of the collection content. If you are interested to learn more about this issue you can have a look at “What is Digital Curation?”.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Web 2.0 and Social Networking

The current issue of the Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems (Vol. 42, No. 3) is a special issue on Web 2.0 and social networking. You will find useful information on social software and libraries, Second Life, new generation of catalogues for the new generation of users, use of Web 2.0 technologies in LIS education, digital libraries and repositories, implementation of open source library management systems and so on.

Search Interfaces on the Web

"Search Interfaces on the Web: Querying and Characterizing" is a PhD thesis by Denis Shestakov, in the Department of Information Technology at the University of Turku in Finland. This study is an example of the recent technical-oriented studies on the Deep Web. More details about this work including the abstract and the full text are available here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

KM4D Journal

The forthcoming issue of Knowledge Management for Development Journal will focus on collaborative learning: the role of organisational knowledge. For more information please see www.km4dev.org/journal.

Friday, August 15, 2008

e-Science and the Web

"Making the Web Work for Science: The Impact of e-Science and the Cyberinfrastructure" is a workshop at the Library of Congress on Monday, December 8, 2008.

Pushing Boundaries in Information Visualization

The Carolinas Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology will run a workshop called "Pushing Boundaries in Information Visualization:
Using Virtual, Immersive and Interactive Technologies in Research & Practice" on
Saturday, September 13, 2008. For more information please see this URL.

Implications of the Information Visibility Model

I had a presentation at the University of Sheffield in 13 August as part of a seminar organized by the Centre for Information Literacy Research. In my talk entitled “Implications of the Information Visibility Model in Information Literacy Research and Practice”, I briefly described selective findings of two follow-up studies after my PhD research to see how useful the model of information visibility can be for future researchers in the area of information seeking on the Web and how web users can reflect on their search outcomes based on the model. The applicability of this model in enhancing end users’ information literacy skills was one of the focal points of the speech and I suggested a number of possible lines of research for further investigations based on the concept of information visibility and end users’ conceptualizations of their success and failure in Web searching.
For more information you can download the PowerPoint file form this address.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

HCIR 2008

HCIR 2008 aims to make more links between Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval and will take palce in 23 Oct 2008, Redmond, WA. According to their website "... This year the workshop is focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of search interfaces. We are particularly interested in interfaces that support complex and exploratory search tasks."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The 8th SIG USE Research Symposium

The 8th Annual Research Symposium of ASIST Special Interest Group: Information Needs, Seeking & Use is about the "Future Directions: Information Behavior in the Design & Making of Relevant Research" and will be held in October 25, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. For more information please see this link.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

HCI Research in MIS

The Seventh Annual Workshop on HCI Research in MIS will take place in December 13, 2008 in Paris, France. For more information please see this link.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Web Search Efficacy

The following paper was published recently:

Mansourian, Y. (2008). Web search efficacy: definition and implementation, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 60, No. 4, pp. 349-363.

Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to report a number of factors that are perceived by web users as influential elements in their search procedure. The paper introduces a new conceptual measure called “web search efficacy” (hereafter WSE) to evaluate the performance of searches mainly based on users' perceptions.
Design/methodology/approach – A rich dataset of a wider study was inductively re-explored to identify different categories that are perceived influential by web users on the final outcome of their searches. A selective review of the literature was carried out to discover to what extent previous research supports the findings of the current study.
Findings – The analysis of the dataset led to the identification of five categories of influential factors. Within each group different factors have been recognized. Accordingly, the concept of WSE has been introduced. The five “Ss” which determine WSE are searcher's performance, search tool's performance, search strategy, search topic, and search situation.
Research limitations/implications – The research body is scattered in different areas and it is difficult to carry out a comprehensive review. The WSE table, which is derived from the empirical data and was supported by previous research, can be employed for further research in various groups of web users.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to the area of information seeking on the web by providing researchers with a new conceptual framework to evaluate the efficiency of each search session and identify the underlying factors on the final outcome of web searching.
Keywords: Information literacy, Information retrieval, Information searches, User studies, Worldwide web
Article Type: Research paper
References: 29 references
Article URL:www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/00012530810887980

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Workshop at ICSA

Today I had a workshop at the Iranian Curriculum Studies Association (ICSA) on writing skills for academic journals. 20 lectures and researchers from the field of curriculum planning and programming, assessing and some of the other related areas attended there. While running the workshop through the discussions with the participants I learned more about this area of study and the various research interests that they explore. I think there are strong links between what they do and what we aim at the educational aspects of LIS and information literacy research and practice.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Quality of Services in Public Libraries

I recently published a paper in Shirazeh entitled “Evaluation Criteria to Assess the Breadth and Quality of Services in Public Libraries”. Shirazeh is an online newsletter published in Persian by the Iran National Library and covers various aspects of library and information science in Iran. In the first issue of this newsletter, I had an interview talking about my ten years career in LIS and how I became a librarian.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Final Days of the Semester

These days I am busy with marking a pile of exam papers and reading my students' assignments. This is very encouraging for me that some of them have done their coursework very well which shows their enthusiasm for learning. Hopefully, in the next semesters I can involve them with more inquiry-based and reflective learning tasks to prepare them to be independent and lifelong learners.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Improving Non English Web Searching

The 2nd ACM International Workshop on ‘Improving Non English Web Searching’ will be held in conjunction with ACM CIKM 2008. The main aims of this workshop are to identify the problems in web searching when working with non-English languages and to propose solutions and tools so as to improve web retrieval systems.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Exams Time

June came and this is the exam time again. Now, I am preparing my exams for the next week and will be busy very soon with a pile of papers to mark.

Monday, May 26, 2008

ITNG 2009 Web Technologies Track

The 6th International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations (ITNG ’09) will take place in 27-29 April, 2009 in Las Vegas. Its Web technologies track covers topics like Web algorithms and techniques, Web user studies, search engines, log analysis, Web mining, multimedia Web, Web interfaces, Web architectures; e.g. performance, fault tolerance, design, etc.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Folksonomies, the Web and Search Engines

Webology is going to publish a special issue on Folksonomies, the Web and Search Engines. Folksonomy is a user-generated system that allows users to tag their favorite web resources with their chosen natural-language words or phrases. These tags can be used to classify web resources and to express users' preferences. Folksonomy may be generated and shared collaboratively by the creators and consumers of web content.
Contributions to this issue should address folksonomies, taxonomies, knowledge organizartion, the Web and search engines. The topics are folksonomies, taxonomies, search engines,social bookmarking, social tagging, social classification, social softwares, social networks, social indexing, collaborative tagging, controlled vocabulary, knowledge organization, knowledge management and the role of the folksonomy in information retrieval. Submissions should follow the Author Guidelines of Webology avilable at this link.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Exploratory Nature and Uncertainty Tolerance in Qualitative Research

My recent paper entitled "Exploratory nature of, and uncertainty tolerance in, qualitative research" was published in New Library World, Vol. 109 No. 5/6, 2008, pp. 273-286. The abstract is as follows:
Purpose – This paper seeks to depict an overall picture of an exploratory research journey to exemplify how qualitative studies on little understood phenomena can be done successfully. The paper aims to show how the author adopted an appropriate approach and an apposite methodology to cope with the uncertainty, stress and ambiguity arising during exploratory research.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper was developed based on a reflective and narrative approach by the author to highlight the pivotal milestones of the reported research. The paper narrates how the research naturally evolved through seven stages including origination, orientation, exploration, elucidation, consolidation, reflection and culmination.
Findings – Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity is inevitable in exploratory studies. Constant interplay with the data, thorough implementation of the employed methodology and deep involvement with the research context are pivotal elements to achieve success in these studies. Finally, findings from an inductive analysis can be considerably consolidated by deductive re-analysis.
Research limitations/implications – The paper can inspire novice researchers to tolerate the unavoidable vagueness of early stages in qualitative research. It reassures them to trust the emergence of new horizons if they thoroughly follow an apposite methodology. Nevertheless, what is reported here is based on a personal experience of the author, which cannot easily be generalized to other circumstances.
Originality/value – There are few publications in library and information studies journals based on researchers’ reflections on what they have learned in their studies which might be useful for future researchers. Thus, this paper can contribute to the area by illustrating the procedure of an exploratory study which began with high uncertainty but ended with satisfactory results.
Keywords Research methods, Qualitative research, Uncertainty management
Paper type - Viewpoint

Qualitative Research in Kermanshah

I had a workshop on "Qualitative Research in Library and Information Science" in Kermanshah on Thursday 22 May 2008. The workshop aimed to illustrate an introduction to this issue for LIS students.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Student Plagiarism in the Online World

A new book entitle "student plagiarism in an online world: problems and solutions" written by Tim Roberts was published recently and covers interesting topics related to this issue such as: "Alternatives to plagiarism, assessing textual plagiarism, assignments that support original work, blogging and plagiarism, contract cheating, contributing factors to online plagiarism, controlling plagiarism, educating students, information revolution, lecturer attitudes toward plagiarism, plagiarism and international students, plagiarism and the community college, plagiarism as an ethical issue, plagiarism detection systems, plagiarism prevention, plagiarism-related behaviors, student perspective of plagiarism, unintentional plagiarism, writing as a developmental skill". For more information please see this link (http://www.igi-pub.com/downloads/pdf/Roberts_brochure.pdf)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Enjoyment of Reading or Suffer of Writing

I have to deal with a constant dilemma in my mind to choose between the enjoyment of reading so many valuable books and other stuff or keep writing to survive in the academic world when we have the motto "publish or perish!". What would you do to cope with this difficulty?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Produsage and Produsers

The increasing growth of the social Web and Web 2.0 has created so many new concepts which are mainly based on the new "User-Led Content Creation" approach. One of these terms is "Produsage" which "...breaks down the boundaries between producers and consumers and instead enables all participants to be users as well as producers of information and knowledge ... produsers engage not in a traditional form of content production, but are instead involved in produsage - the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement." For more information please have a look at this site.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Webometrics: Current Trends and Issues

In the series of panels in conjunction with TIBF, I also attended a panel on Webometrics to discuss the current issues and trends in this area and its links to the related subjects such as bibliometrics, scientometrics, and Informetrics. At the panel I said the fundamental essence of Webometrics is based on the Web's ability on making link between any parts of it regardless of their distance. We also reviewed the challenges and opportunities in this area. The proceedings of the panel will be published soon.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Panels at TIBF

Yesterday I was a member of two specialized panels in conjunction with the Tehran International Book Fair. The first one was about screen reading versus reading on paper. We discussed about the current trends of reading on screen and how it affects people reading behavior. The second panel was about mosque libraries and their services. The details of these panels and our discussions will be published soon.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Library Buildings, Collection Development and etc

These days I have been busy as usual with various LIS related works but these works were somehow different recently. This week I delivered a presentation about the desirable features of library buildings, then contributed to the collection development for my faculty library from Tehran International Book Fair and meanwhile I wrote two book reviews that I was supposed to do ages ago. Luckily, I have done them and should make myself ready for the next week's task including normal teaching, running a workshop and attending a panel at the Tehran International Book Fair.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Non-English Web Retrieval

Journal of Information Retrieval is going to publish a special Issue on "Non-English Web Retrieval". This issue will focus on evaluation, user search behaviour, query log analysis, indexing, information extraction, summarization, user studies, retrieval models, question answering, natural language processing, concept based image retrieval, creation of multi-lingual web collections, intranet/enterprise search, text categorization and clustering and cross language and multilingual retrieval.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

21st TIBF

The 21st Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) will take place 2 -12 May 2008. For more information please have a look at TIBF website (http://www.tibf.ir/).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Contextualization of Web Searching

Following my previous works on Web Search Research, this paper was recently published in the Electronic Library:

Mansourian, Y. (2008). Contextualization of web searching: a grounded
theory approach, The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 2 pp. 202-214.

Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to report selective findings of a wider study on interaction of users with web-based search tools to underline the importance of context in information seeking on the web and to introduce some of the contextual elements of web search context.
Design/methodology/approach – A series of intensive and in-depth interviews was carried out with a sample of the Biology Community at the University of Sheffield. Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was employed in the interview protocol and the collected data was inductively analyzed in the light of Grounded Theory approach.
Findings – The results strongly suggest that considering the context of search is a pivotal factor in understanding users' behaviours, feelings, and thoughts during the period of information seeking in an online environment. Five categories have been identified as the main contextual elements which affect search performance of end users. These categories include web users' characteristics; type of the employed search tool; search topic; search situation; and features of the retrieved information resources. Each category has its subcategories which have been illustrated in the paper.
Research limitations/implications – This study was carried out based on a relatively small sample of academia and therefore the results cannot be easily generalized to the wide community of web users. The results of this study should be able to make information literacy education more effective by using information seeking behaviour research discoveries. This study demonstrated that the outcome of any information literacy courses would be more efficient if the contextual factors – which have been identified and illuminated in this study – were considered in the educational agenda.
Originality/value – The study possesses three characteristics that make it different from other studies in the related areas. First of all, it took an in-depth insight to the interaction of end users with the web in real situations. Secondly it focused on a specific targeted group, the academic biology community. Thirdly the study adopted a qualitative approach, in contrast with mainly quantitative web research.

Keywords: Information literacy, Information searches, Qualitative research, Search engines, User interfaces, Worldwide web

Article Type: Research paper, DOI: 10.1108/02640470810864091
Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/02640470810864091

Monday, April 07, 2008

e-Society 2008

IADIS International Conference of e-Society 2008 takes place in Algarve, Portugal from 9-12 April 2008. For more details please see the conference website (www.esociety-conf.org/).

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Semantic Search: Search for Meaning

The latest progress in web-based search industry is always one of my favourite areas of study. If you look through the related literature you can see various techniques claiming better search results. However, I think what we really need is new search engines which are able to make sense of what we ask them. This approach is called differently in various sources such as "Search 2.0" or "Semantic Search". Hakia compares this approach with the traditional indexing methods and concludes that: "Semantic search technology has many advantages compared to statistical (popularity) methods, especially when statistical data is not available such as in dynamic content and long-tail queries". I don't know how successful they have been in implementation of this new approach but for more information please have a look at this address.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

JoDI Special Issue

Special Issue of the Journal of Digital Information will focus on "Digital Libraries and User-Generated Content". The special issue aims to "explore how digital libraries can leverage on the various technologies underlying user-generated content to provide innovative and useful services for their users. Since such technologies are potentially disruptive, the special issue will also investigate how support for user-generated content would impact digital libraries, their administrators, users and other stakeholders". Topics of interest include "Use of Web 2.0 technologies in digital libraries, mobile services in digital libraries, supporting digital library infrastructure and architecture, information retrieval and mining techniques, virtual worlds and digital libraries, user communities, usability and user needs, novel interfaces supporting user-generated content and social, institutional and policy issues."

4th WIS

Fourth International Conference on Webometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics (WIS) and Ninth COLLNET Meeting will take place 29 July – 1 August, 2008 at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Library and Information Science in Berlin. To see more details please visit the COLLNET website.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


If you look for an accredited open access journal in the area of medical informatics then JMLA (Journal of the Medical Library Association) might be a good source for you. The journal covers a wide variety of topics in LIS including information literacy. For example, "Integrating information literacy into the education of public health professionals: roles for librarians and the library" written by Laura Cobus is an example of papers on information literacy in the current issue of the journal (January 2008).


DoIS (Documents in Information Science) is a useful service for searching and downloading research results in Information Science. In fact, DoIS is a web-based database of articles and conference proceedings published in electronic format in the area of LIS.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) will hold its 10th International ISKO Conference in Montréal, Canada, August 5th-8th 2008. The Conference theme is culture and identity in knowledge organization. The proposed research topics for this edition include: epistemological foundations in KO, models and methods, systems and tools, ethics, KO for libraries, archives, and museums, non-textual materials, KO in multilingual environments, users and social context.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Nowrouz

Nowrouz is the beginning of the new Iranian year in 21th of March every year. I say Happy New Year to everyone and wish you the best for the coming year. Today is the last working day of this year for most people and we have a few days off. I was very busy during this year but thankfully pretty successful at the end. I was mainly involved in teaching and teaching-related activities at the university.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

E-journals Standards

Recently I was the referee for a promotion presentation at a research centre which was about developments of standards for e-journals. Regarding the increasing number of e-journals and the current diversity in their formats I also think this is the time to think about the development of widely accepted standards to facilitate the publication and usage of these resources.

The Science of the Web

The "Science of the Web" is a new interdisciplinary area of research and practice which is going to investigate how the WWW affects various aspects of our life and how we should react to the web-based developments. The website of The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) introduces it as "... to facilitate and produce the fundamental scientific advances necessary to inform the future design and use of the World Wide Web."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Children and Libraries

In this semester I teach a variety of modules including "Library Services for Children" which is an interesting topic to learn more about it. In this module I try to talk about various criteria to develop library collections for children and how to choose the most appropriate materials for them. Also we discuss on specific services that a library can offer to enhance children's reading skills and provide them with facilities to make them interested to libraries. I also try to introduce various online resources that can be helpful in this issue. For instance, International Children’s Digital Library and the Association for Library Service to Children. (ALSC)

Digital Preparedness and E-readiness

Everyday we come across new concepts which emerge as a result of current advances and developments in ICT world. For example, Digital Preparedness is a quite new measure to show how prepare a society is to employ digital facilities in various aspects of life. Likewise, e-readiness is another concept which is somehow similar and in someway different with Digital Preparedness, but to serve the same purpose. Nevertheless, these concepts are in macro level and to calculate them we need to identify and evaluate other measurable features such as Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) and Networked Readiness Index (NRI). The inherent difficulty of assessing these concepts comes to the difficulty of measuring the cultural and social context of each society which inevitably affects them.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Interview with IBNA

A reporter from IBNA (Iran Book News Agency) has recently done an interview with me about the social role of public libraries and how these libraries can contribute in providing various information services for its users. We also talked about LIS education and how we should keep our LIS curriculum abreast with the current advances in ICT. The interview's transcript is available on IBNA interviews section.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Impact of ICT on Educational and Research Performance

Recently I was the internal examiner for a master dissertation in educational technology about the impact of access to and use of ICT facilities on universities' educational and research performance. The result just was a confirmation of the previous studies that there is a direct and significant link between these factors. It was the forth dissertation that I assessed during this academic year.

ILISA General Assembly

Two days ago(1st of March) I attended the ILISA Annual Meeting at the National Library's main conference hall. It was our annual General Assembly to report the ILISA's various activities during the last year. We also had some well-known speakers at the meeting, recently retired LIS lecturers and a panel of Iranian LIS eminent professors. Moreover, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues as many people from different parts of the country had come along.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Needle in a Haystack

Dr. Matthew Koll in 1999 at a presentation entitled "Major Trends and Issues in the Information Industry" has used the interesting metaphor of Needle in a Haystack for searching the Web. He has grouped different search scenarios into 12 categories as follows: a known needle in a known haystack, a known needle in an unknown haystack, an unknown needle in an unknown haystack, any needle in a haystack, the sharpest needle in a haystack, most of the sharpest needles in a haystack
All the needles in a haystack, affirmation of no needles in the haystack, things like needles in any haystack, let me know whenever a new needle shows up, where are the haystacks? and finally needles, haystacks -- whatever. I'd like this metaphor and I think we can map different search scenarios into it very easily which can be helpful to develop efficient search strategies.

Semantic Web: New Generation of the Internet

Yesterday I made a speech at my university's main conference hall for a group of students and university lecturers from various subjects entitled "Semantic Web: New Generation of the Internet". At this speech I tried to define the meaning of the Semantic Web and how it will change the interactions of Web users with the online world. I also talked about the fundamental concepts like XHTML, XML, ontologies, RDF, OWL, and so on as the underlying parts of the Semantic Web.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Non-English Web Retrieval

Journal of Information Retrieval is going to publish a special Issue on Non-English Web Retrieval. In their call for paper they mentioned "... recent Web statistics showed that almost 65% of the online citizens are non-English language users. As the Web population continues to grow, especially in Asia, Africa, and South America, more non-English users will be amassed online. Recent studies showed that non-English queries and unclassifiable queries have nearly tripled in the last decade. The main conclusion from previous research is that most search engine features are primarily focused on the English language. Based on previous studies and on the experiences and conclusions of the iNEWS07 (Improving Non-English Web Searching) ACM SIGIR'07 topics of interest include: Evaluation, User search behaviour, Query log analysis, Indexing, Information extraction Summarization, User studies, Retrieval models, Question answering, Natural language processing, Concept based image retrieval, Creation of multi-lingual web collections Intranet/enterprise search, Text categorization and clustering, Digital libraries and Cross language and multilingual retrieval.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Emergent Areas

In a call for chapter announcement I learned about a number of areas on "Emergent Web Intelligence" which might be interesting to mention them here such as: Web Information Retrieval, Knowledge Networks and Management, Web Mining, Web Farming, Web Agents and Agent-based Systems, Web Security, Information Filtering and Access Control Models, Ontologies, Semantic Web, Social Intelligence Design, Web-based Support Systems, Human-Web Interaction, and E-Applications and Systems.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oxford e-Research Conference 2008

This multi-disciplinary, international conference on e-Research will be held at the University of Oxford from 11-13 September 2008. This is the conference website.

Friday, February 15, 2008

99 Resources to Research & Mine the Invisible Web

I have been informed about a website with links to a wide range of online resources which are useful for end users to search deeper layers of the Web. "99 Resources to Research & Mine the Invisible Web" is a good example of Web-based directories which can facilitate Web searching for everyone.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coping Strategies in Web Searching

My new paper entitled "Coping Strategies in Web Searching" was published in Program journal and this is its abstract:
Purpose – This paper seeks to report selective findings of a wider study to identify the mechanisms that end users employ to overcome their information seeking failure on the web. Design/methodology/approach – Data collection was conducted by semi-structured and in-depth interviews. The study adopted a qualitative approach and was carried out based on grounded theory. The biology community at the University of Sheffield was selected as the research population. Findings – Identified coping strategies are divided into active and passive categories. Active strategies such as revising and help-seeking require further actions to obtain more satisfactory results. In contrast, passive strategies entail less action to modify the situation and mainly relate to accepting the existing circumstances. Web users prioritise their coping strategies according to the importance of the search topic and their determination to fulfil the search successfully. They develop coping strategies through training courses, using trial and error, knowledge sharing and employing pre-web coping strategies. Research limitations/implications – This study was limited to a small group of web users in academia that cannot be easily considered as an acceptable representative of the heterogeneous population of web users. Moreover, the collected data was based on web users' perception of their search failure rather than an objective measure of it. Originality/value – Most studies in this area are concerned with users' information seeking behaviour and focus on how people find what they want. However, this paper addresses an aspect of this process that has received little attention up to now. The paper explores users' reaction to, and conceptualisation of, information seeking failure and their coping strategies to overcome the failure in web searching. The findings provide us with a better understanding of users' information seeking behaviour on the web.
Mansourian, Y. (2008). Coping strategies in web searching, Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 28 – 39.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Systematic Review

I recently contributed in a workshop about systematic review. This kind of review, which is somehow similar to the traditional literature reviews, focuses on a specific topic to identify, evaluate, select and synthesize all high quality and relevant research evidence relevant to that topic. In systematic review we should define the inclusion and exclusion criteria to map the area according to these items. Some people think this kind of review is only useful in the medical sciences. However, I believe this is useful for any scientific field. In future posts I will write more about the advantages and disadvantages of it and how we can compare it with traditional reviews.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

ICKM 2008

The 5th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM2008) will be held at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Ohio on October 23-24, 2008. According to their website the specific topics of interest include: Best Practices & Communities of Practice, Business Intelligence & Customer Relation Management, Communication, Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing. Content Management & Digital Right Management, Information Security and Knowledge Protection, Intellectual Capital & KM Measurements, Knowledge Discovery (AI, Data Mining, Text & Web Mining), Knowledge Organization (Meta Data, Taxonomies & Ontologies), Knowledge Management in the Public Sector, Knowledge Management Strategies and Implementations, Knowledge Management Tools &Technologies, Learning Organization & Organizational Learning, Knowledge Retention and the Graying Workforce, Project Management and KM, Social Networks and the Psychological Dimension and The Challenges of Complexity.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Internal Examiner

Today I was the internal examiner for a master dissertation on Educational Technology. Here both master and PhD students should have a public viva in which each student has to deliver a presentation to the examiners and other audience and answer their questions. The dissertation was about the features of educational websites and the elements that these sites should possess to support e-learning efficiency. It was the third thesis that I acted as the examiner during the last year. The common problem that I can see in these theses is the lack of coherence in content and consistency in the structure. Moreover, the students' interpretations and analytical views on the findings are less than what is expected. However, as I remember myself seven years ago, when I did my master, I can not blame these students!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


These days I am marking a pile of exam papers and my students' coursework of several modules. This is a very time consuming job but rewarding when you see the progress of your students. In particular, in one of the master module in MA of educational technology I had asked my students to develop a website about their dissertation topic and they did a pretty good job.

Friday, February 01, 2008


On Wednesday I attended ILISA monthly seminar at the national library which was on Knowledge Management in LIS theory and practice. We also had a guest speaker who was an expert on industrial management and he talked about different layers of KM and the evaluation criteria of KM initiatives. KM is an interdisciplinary area which is related to many subjects including LIS.

Monday, January 28, 2008

SASO 2008

Second International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing (SASO) System will take place in Venice, Italy, October 20-24, 2008.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Library Assessment Conference

The second Library Assessment Conference: Building Effective, Sustainable, and Practical Assessment, to be held in Seattle, Washington, August 4-6, 2008. Based on their call for paper and poster, the conference planning committee is especially interested in contributions that show how assessment results have been used to improve library services and add value to the user community. For more information you can follow this link.

LIDA 2008

Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) 2008 will take place in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia from 2-7 June. According to their website, LIDA addresses the changing and challenging environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world. Its themes in this year are education and training in digital libraries and reference in digital environments.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

CSCW 2008

ACM 2008 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2008) sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) will be held in San Diego, California, 8-12, November 2008.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Inquiry-based Learning

If you are interested in inquiry-based education, "The Inquiry Page" might be a good place to begin. They introduce their portal as "... a dynamic virtual community where inquiry-based education can be discussed, resources and experiences shared, and innovative approaches explored in a collaborative environment."

Back to Normal

I was away for a few days and just came back from a short winter holiday yesterday. Five days being away from the online world was long enough to miss it. Here is still cold and everywhere is covered by ice and snow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Journal of Information Literacy

The third issue of Journal of Information Literacy (JIL) was published recently. JIL is an international, open access and peer-reviewed journal that investigates Information Literacy within a wide range of settings. If you have English papers about information literacy this journal might be a good place to publish your work.

Digital Libraries and User-Generated Content

Journal of Digital Information (JoDI) is an open access journal in LIS. In its upcoming special issue on Digital Libraries and User-Generated Content, the journal is going to explore a number of related topics such as " ... use of Web 2.0 technologies in digital libraries, mobile services in digital libraries, supporting digital library infrastructure and architecture, information retrieval and mining techniques, virtual worlds and digital libraries, user communities, usability and user needs, novel interfaces supporting user-generated content and social, institutional and policy issues". For more information please see the journal website.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Interdisciplinary Nature of LIS

I think the opportunities for LIS researchers in terms of the interdisciplinary nature of this field are endless. For example, in information services in libraries we have the issue of services for special groups. These groups can be special for any reason. Accordingly, the link between information services and their specific features can be researched. For instance, children who have Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder can be considered as a special group in a library which requires specific facilities for them. We know little about these kinds of library users and how librarians can help them or their parents. As a result, I think there are plenty of opportunities for research in this area.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


When Wikipedia began its work a few years ago, no one could imagine how successful it might be. At present time it contains 2,172,588 articles in English and covers so many areas. Now this is a ready reference source for almost everything. During recent years, I have used it for several reasons and have found so much information through it. Wikipedia is really useful to get general overview about everything and anything.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Digital Production Librarian

Recently, I posted an entry about the new roles of librarians. In this post I would like to refer to another type of these new roles. The Digital Production Librarian is a post in which the successful candidate will serve as an expert on digitization standards and best practices for all formats; establish and maintain digital conversion best practices for all formats; implement digitization project workflows; schedule and oversee digitization projects; and supervise digitization staff. The essential functions for this post are: "... manage the operations of the Digital Production Centre, purchase, maintain and update digitization hardware and software, collaborate with library staff and college faculty to select appropriate materials, design and implement project workflows, schedule digitization projects, provide written progress reports on digital projects, determine digitization cost for each project, identify digital storage needs and recommend storage medium, and maintain documentation on digitization best practices and digital preservation. The required qualifications for this post are: "MLS, MLIS or equivalent degree, experience with digitization projects for a digital library, with 2 years of experience preferred, comprehensive, hands-on experience creating digital collections in an academic library setting, knowledge of digitization best practices in an academic environment, knowledge of how digital library collections are used in an academic setting, familiarity with digital preservation and a trusted digital repository, knowledge of existing and emerging metadata schemas, advanced PC computer skills, and commonly-used productivity and internet applications, awareness of copyright laws and rights management issues in a digital environment, effective communication, planning, time management and organizational skills, ability to work independently and in a team environment, adeptness at working in a rapidly changing technological environment." These new roles show we need to reconsider the library educations in our LIS schools.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Librarians' Changing Roles

Among all emails I receive everyday form different discussion lists; I saw an announcement of an opening post for Web developer/reference librarian. A quick look at the responsibilities and the required qualifications for this post confirms the changing roles of librarians in the recent years. They look for someone who can create and maintain web as well as providing regular references services. Some of his responsibilities are: "develops and maintains web pages, provides reference services through regular duty at the reference desk and by responding to virtual information requests using a wide variety of databases, develops graphics and PowerPoint presentations for staff, stays abreast of the information needs and trends within the areas of economic development, and development organization; stays abreast of trends in library and information science and web development.
Some of the required qualifications are: "at least 4 years experience with Web development & management, HTML, and Web editors, minimum one year experience providing reference services in a special, academic, or public library, experience with database searching, demonstrated skills in PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, and other graphics software; excellent organizational, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, familiarity with content management systems.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Heavy Snow

This is a real winter here. It has been snowing since yesterday and by now everywhere is covered by snow which is very nice. However, the weather is so cold and it is difficult to walk or drive. I just post this entry today to remember how cold it is now and not complain in summer about the high temperature!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

My Academic Life in 2007

If I want to describe my academic life in 2007 by words, it will be something like this: Teaching, ILISA, invisible web, grounded theory, information literacy, academic writing, database design, web searching, information seeking, evaluation of information, reference services, e-learning, research methods, qualitative research, knowledge management, thesauri, ontologies, statistics, strategic plans in research, blogging, educational roles of libraries, Dublin core, metadata, Recall and Precision, IR, user-oriented studies, fuzzy logic, webometrics, and learning. You might ask how on earth these concepts may connect to each other?! This is exactly my question too!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 Arrived

Happy New Year to everyone! Today I made a new folder in my PC for 2008. It means the new year arrived. In terms of blogs and blogsphere, this is the fifth year that I am blogging. Although my first weblog which was created in 2003 disappeared in 2005, I did not give up and made this weblog in 2005. I had a very busy year in 2007 but in general I am happy that I managed to survive!