Journal of the American Society for Information Science (JASIS) -- Table of Contents

Contributed by
Richard Hill
American Society for Information Science
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA


CONTENTS (Number 5)

In this issue
Bert R. Boyce


  • Interaction with an Enabling Information Retrieval System: Modeling the User's Decoding and Encoding Operations
    Charles Cole

    We begin this issue with Charles Cole's attempt at a generic model of the information processing operations that occur when a user receives an informative message from an information retrieval system. He also briefly describes a task intervention device that a small test indicates may stimulate such cognitive operations. The model involves first a visual perception of a message, then an understanding and comprehension of that message, followed by an interpretation based upon intended or unintended use by the recipient.

  • Performance Investigation of Hamming Distance Bit Vertical Counter Applied to Access Methods in Information Retrieval
    Eyas ElQawasmeh and Ismail Hmeidi

    The Hamming distance bit vertical counter, an algorithm for counting the ones in a matrix vector, is said to be faster then the normal, or horizontal, approach. Using randomly generated simulated document vectors, experiments by ElQawasmeh, and Hmeidi show that the increase in speed using Hamming is affected by the number of qualifying attributes, the number of vectors, and the vector size. Holding the number and size of the vectors constant and using random numbers of attributes, one observes, except for the extreme cases, a slight decrease in speedup as the probability of attributes increases. As the number of documents increases the speedup also decreases. The closer the number of bits in the vertical counter approximates the number of bits in the document vector the more speedup in processing occurs and as long as log2 of the number of documents is less than the number of bits in the vertical counter, the vertical approach will be faster. Using the big O notation, the horizontal approach gives O(number of documents * document vector size) and the vertical approach O((log2 number of documents) * number of documents + number of bits in the vertical counter).

  • The Web as an Information Source on Informetrics? A Content Analysis
    Judit BarIlan

    Barrllan illustrates that web searching for bibliographic citations, while a complex multistage process, can provide material not found in commercial databases, and in numbers often greater than these sources. The terms "infometric" and "infometrics" were searched on 6/7/98 using AltaVista, Excite, Hotbot, Infoseek, Lycos, and Northern Light. The six multipage lists of hits were saved and processed to produce a Union list of URLs and titles, and the 942 documents referenced were recovered and saved over a one week period.. Examination removed 135 documents that did not contain the terms, used the terms in an other than information science context, or could not be found. Identical documents with different URLs were permitted to remain. Of 325 URLs containing bibliographic references 89 are duplicates except for the URL itself. Publication lists of individuals and organizations are the largest document type. From these pages 259 distinct references were extracted, and a top ten author list(unique authored papers) and a top ten cited author list (document appearances), were compiled, as well as a top source list which was dominated by conference proceedings, and a list of top cited papers. Similar searches on commercial databases are shown to locate less and to some extent different material than that found in the web compiled database.

  • Name Collection by Ph.D. History Students: Inducing Expertise
    Charles Cole

    Historians scan read vast amounts of secondary and primary source material in search of information relevant to and fitting their model of a project. Past studies have show that proper names are the most common access points for historians. Cole's observation of Ph.D. history students indicates they use, and are encouraged to use by their mentors, a name collecting technique whose purpose is to induce the formulation of a thesis and original thought. Transcribed interviews with 45 students were analyzed. Names were collected in a list by 20 of the subjects, scan reading carried out looking for the names, and certain aspects associated with one name were spliced together on 3 x 5 cards with the same aspects of other names. This collection serves as a structural element in the construction of the students thesis, and mimics a domain expert's recognition mechanism for the novice. The process may induce expert thinking.

  • Usability, User Preferences, Effectiveness, and User Behaviors When Searching Individual and Integrated FullText Databases: Implications for Digital Libraries
    Soyeon Park

    Despite past literature indications that users prefer performing a single integrated search on multiple databases, Park finds evidence that argues for multiple searches using a common interface. Twenty eight student subjects conducted three different searches of six TREC5 topics using the Congressional Record of the 103rd Congress, the Federal Register, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal databases on both a common interface multiple search version of INQUERY 3.2 and a single integrated search version.. Extensive structured interviewing was carried out and the subjects were encouraged to think aloud during the process. There was a statistically significant preference for the multiple search common interface and a significant perception that it was more useful, but not that it was easier to learn or easier to use. Control over the ability to select only the desired databases appears to be the main reason for the preferences. Searchers used more interactive features with the multiple search common interface version. Aspectual recall, a measure of how well searchers duplicate TREC assessors identification of important aspects of a query, was also significantly higher for this version.

  • Tropes, History, and Ethics in Professional Discourse and Information Science
    Ronald E. Day

    Day contrasts Otlet's view of documentation as a science to that of Briet. The concept of science as universal knowledge is replaced by knowledge as institutional discourse and the idea of bringing the world to Europe's understanding is replaced by the concept of bringing Europe's knowledge to the world. As a source of standardization, Briet sees documentation as a symbol of science and modernity. The term science in professional discourse provides, among other things, social legitimation for the profession in modern society. Day believes in a more critical ethical approach which questions the limits imposed by the information profession's founders and is not bound by the linguistic constraints of dominant social forces.

  • The Impact of Interdisciplinary Research in the Environmental Sciences: A Forestry Case Study
    Thomas W. Steele and Jeffrey C. Stier

    Steele and Stier measure impact by a paper's average annual citation rate; and to measure interdisciplinarity they begin by enumerating the diversity of influences upon it. Subject diversity was generated by classifying each paper into primary and secondary classes, and assigning a zero value if these were the same, a value of 0.1505 if they were different but subclasses of the same broad discipline, and 0.3010 if they were in distinct broad disciplines. Author diversity was based upon joint author affiliation and cited literature diversity was based upon journals, cited authors, their affiliations and location. Brillouin is used as the diversity index, since it increases with the number of citations to an article and with a more even distribution among categories and because it is appropriate for census data and nonrandom samples. Regression analysis indicates six to twenty percent of the variation is explained by interdisciplinarity The statistical significance of journal diversity indicates that papers drawing from a more diverse set of journals are more cited. Since other interdisciplinary variables were not significant, journal diversity seems a sufficient measure of interdisciplinary borrowing.

Brief Communication

  • How Good Are The Best Papers of JASIS?
    Terrence A. Brooks

    In a brief communication Brooks examines the citation record of the twenty-eight JASIS Best Paper Award winners between 1969 and 1996, using a contrast group of papers published physically immediately following the award paper (20) or if that was not available, immediately preceding it (8). Best papers tend to be single author papers, nearly twice as long as the contrast group papers, cited significantly more that contrast group papers, and self cited significantly more than contrast group papers. JASIS itself is the largest source of these citations. The top best papers by citation rank are focused on the design, evaluation and use of document retrieval systems.

Book Reviews

  • The Impact of Information on Society: An Examination of Its Nature, Value and Usage, by Michael W. Hill
    Sara R. Tompson
  • The Weightless World: Strategies for Managing the Digital Economy, by Diane Coyle
    Mike Steckel
  • Modern Information Retrieval, by Ricardo BaezaYates and Berthier RibeiroNeto
    Terrence A. Brooks
  • How Classifications Work: Problems and Challenges in an Electronic Age, by G.C. Bowker and S.L. Star
    Byrn Lewis
  • The Organization of Information, by Arlene G. Taylor
    JensErik Mai
  • The Media and the Internet, Final report of the British Libraryfunded research project by David Nicholas, Peter Williams, Helen Martin, and Peter Cole
    Dale A. Stirling
  • The Invisible Computer: Why Good Products Can Fail, the Personal Computer Is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Solution by Donald A. Norman
    Alan T. Schroeder, Jr.



Note:[ Into the Table of Contents below, edited contents from Guest Editors Chaomei Chen, Mary Czerwinski, and Robert Macredie's introduction has been cut into the Table of Contents, along with Bert Boyce's "In This Issue."]



  • In This Issue
    Bert Boyce

Special Topic Issue: Individual Differences in Virtual Environments
Guest Editors: Chaomei Chen, Mary Czerwinski, and Robert Macredie

  • Individual Differences in Virtual Environments--Introduction and Overview
    Chaomei Chen, Mary Czerwinski, and Robert Macredie

    In this special issue, we are interested in exploring issues related to individual differences, especially in terms of how individuals differ in their abilities to capture, recognize, and make effective use of abstract, implicit, and changing structures found across many large information systems and virtual environments. In particular, we hope articles in this special issue will help us to understand better how to accommodate these differences. We highlight questions that are likely to make a significant contribution to the field. Articles in this special issue address some of these questions in depth. On the other hand, many questions can only be adequately addressed when a critical mass of users of virtual environments emerges and virtual environments with substantial content become available. The four broad questions are:

    1. What are the predominant human factors concerning the design of a virtual environment?
    2. What is the role of individual differences in the use of a virtual environment?
    3. How do we assess the effectiveness and usability of a virtual reality application?
    4. How do we account for users' cognitive and behavioral experiences in a virtual world?
    A wide range of specific issues must be addressed in order to answer these questions.

    Five articles included in this special issue address a number of important aspects of the study of individual differences. A common theme that underlines all the articles in this issue is how to strike the balance between individuals' abilities and the demanding task for understanding, interpreting, and utilizing structural information conveyed through virtual environments.

  • Individual Differences and the Conundrums of User-Centered Design: Two Experiments
    Bryce Allen

    Allen (1999) focuses on the theme of how to optimize the match between users and system configurations in order to optimize their search performance. A key user interface feature in Allen's experiments is a word map. It is a multidimensional scaling model of 100 most frequently occurring words in a collection of bibliographic references. In this case, the intrinsic structure is reflected through the interrelationships in this bibliographic collection. The word map and a multi-window display are referred to collectively as design features in his article.

    Allen's article is thought provoking. It demonstrates the power of theories and methodologies developed in (Egan & Gomez, 1985; Stanney & Salvendy, 1995; Vicente & Williges, 1988). More importantly, it shows how one can adapt and apply these theories and methods to the new generation of systems with greater emphasis on individual differences in virtual environments. Further work is necessary to clarify why high spatial individuals were found to perform better without the word map, as in Allen's experiments, and without the spatial-semantic virtual world, as in Chen's experiments. An ideal user interface design would not only compensate for low-spatial users, but also help high-spatial users to improve their performance.

  • Spatial-Semantics: How Users Derive Shape from Information Space
    Andrew Dillon

    The ability to perceive structure in abstract information spaces is crucial to navigation and search performance. Dillon's article distinguishes the role of spatial and semantic cues and explains why this conceptualization may lead to new insights into existing and emerging data. Dillon also introduces the concept of shape as the structural component of the working model of an information space. This is most apparent in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) but is less obvious or conceptualized in abstract information environments. Dillon's article delineates the argument between top-down versus bottom-up approaches with a range of empirical evidence found in the literature.

  • Individual Differences in a Spatial-Semantic Virtual Environment
    Chaomei Chen

    The central theme of the special issue is how individuals differ in their performance in a virtual environment which requires an in-depth understanding of its underlying structure. Chen's article presents two studies of individual differences in searching through a spatial-semantic virtual environment. Qualitative and process-oriented studies are therefore called for to reveal the complex interaction between individuals' cognitive abilities, domain knowledge, and direct manipulation skills. A call of an investigation of deeper knowledge structures is made based on previous studies of similar knowledge-intensive displays, e.g., (Rewey et al., 1991; Stanney & Salvendy, 1995).

  • Cognitive Styles and Virtual Environments
    Nigel Ford

    Nigel Ford's article focuses on the distinction between holists and serialists in learning, and its implications for supporting individual users through user interface design. Of particular interest to the theme of this special issue, Ford addresses some interesting behavioral patterns of holists and serialists. While holists like to use concept maps, serialists prefer keyword indices. A concept map, or the overview of an underlying structure, is designed for global orientation regarding the overall structure of the subject matter.

    Having recognized the fuzzy nature of identifying individuals' cognitive styles and learning strategies, Ford introduces a modeling approach based on Kohonen self-organizing feature maps, an artificial neural-network based classification technique. This self-organized approach has potential as a possible route for further research and development of adaptive virtual environments. Virtual environments provide a wider framework for integrating and directly manipulating global and analytic aspects of an information space.

    Ford's article also draws our attention to the connection between field-dependence and cognitive styles in terms of individuals' behavioral patterns in navigation of hyperspace. Like holists, field-dependent individuals use overview maps more often than field-independent individuals. In the next article, Palmquist and Kim examine the effects of field-dependence in Web search.

  • Cognitive Style and On-Line Database Search Experience as Predictors of Web Search Performance
    Ruth A. Palmquist and Kyung-Sun Kim

    The Web has captured the imagination of millions of users all over the world. It is crucial for Web designers and indeed for all of us to understand how individuals with different cognitive style, different cognitive abilities, and different background in information systems interact with the vast amount of information presented on the Web. At the heart of the organization of information on the Web, it is the notion of association, as manifested through hyperlinks connecting information that is associated in one way or another. Once again, the ability to understand an abstract structure of information, or derive a coherent structure by articulating fragmented documents becomes a challenge to individuals' ability to find and make the best use of the information available. The significance of accommodating individual differences on Web search is clear.

    Palmquist and Kim examine the effects of cognitive style, namely field-dependent and field-independent, and online database search experience on Web search. An interesting finding of their study is that online search experience can greatly reduce the effect of field-dependence on Web search performance.


  • The Tale of Two ERICs: Factors Influencing the Development of the First ERIC and Its Transformation into a National System
    Lee G. Burchinal

    Burchinal reviews the early history of ERIC from the initial study by Tauber and Lilly recommending a special information service for educational media and a later study by Kent recommending a centralized service covering all educational research materials, through the conceptual years, 1959 to 1963, until 1964 when personal relationships among Office of Education bureaucrats led to it becoming a branch of the Division of Educational Research, abstracting and indexing the reports of research funded by that agency and providing consultation services. While planning for a centralized ERIC facility it became clear that while a decentralized model of selection and representation of documents would be more expensive and offer less control, it seemed far more politically feasible. The new plan called for subject based semi-autonomous clearinghouses, operated by Universities or professional associations, and centralized computer and reproduction services handled by commercial contractors. When the Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed in 1965, ERIC got a million dollar budget, and a real start. In May of 1966 North American Aviation got the contract to integrate the material from the clearinghouses into one database, and in July of 1967 clearinghouse documents appeared in Research in Education.

  • Differences between Novice and Experienced Users in Searching Information on the World Wide Web
    Ard W. Lazonder, Harm J.A. Biemans, and Iwan G.J.H. Wopereis

    Next, Lazonder, Biemans, and Wopereis observed 25 fourth grade students divided into novice and expert classes on the basis of self reported World Wide Web experience and a proficiency test. No significant differences were found among the subjects in domain expertise (based on standard test performance), gender or ethnic background. Each subject preformed three 13 minute search and browse assignments where site location and information location were treated separately. Time and success were recorded, combined to produce an efficiency value, and the number of actions carried out to correctly solve a task was recorded as effectiveness. Experts preformed significantly faster and better on search engine search for sites than did novices. However, no differences were apparent in the search for information within the sites using the hypertext links available. This argues that user training should concentrate on site location, and only touch on hypertext browsing.

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