Clips & Pointers

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


[Note: This table of Contents includes a new feature. You will note that entries include a new item, "Published online 6 July 2000" after the page number. This refers to Wiley's "Early View" feature, posting articles as soon as they are approved. ASIS members who wish electronic access but didn't so elect can contact <>.]


In this issue
Bert R. Boyce
Page 969


  • A Usability Assessment of Online Indexing Structures in the Networked Environment
    Carol A. Hert, Elin K. Jacob, and Patrick Dawson
    Page 971. Published online 6 July 2000

    Hert et al. used metrics developed from Liddy and Jorgensen's back of the book index work to compare variations of the FedStats web site index and to attempt to gain an understanding of user's difficulties with such indexes. For comparison a similar index with HTML title information added to each index term was used (group 2), as were two newly created indices, one where an indexer added see references to the original A-Z index for the pages identified as relevant (group 3), and a second where synonymous terms were added as entry points (group 4). Twenty students at Indiana University were video taped as they used the index structures and asked to think aloud so that they could be recorded. Five were assigned to each index variation. A demographic survey preceded the searching and a satisfaction questionnaire and a semi-structured interview followed. Five search tasks were given to the subjects to perform in varying orders. Number of clicks in each index was collected as was number of terms selected for a search, and time spent in the index. Success was marked by the researchers when pages with appropriate information were identified on a 0 to 1 scale. Subjects also rated their perception of success on a 1 to 5 scale, and their reactions to the system on a scale of one to nine. In terms of clicks, terms used, and time in index, the Group 4 index was strikingly superior although no statistical analysis is done. Group 4 was also most successful in researcher evaluated success and in user perceived success although no level of significance is provided. Group four also has a numeric lead position in satisfaction measures. This would appear to once again indicate that increased depth of indexing increases performance and satisfaction.

  • Interactive Query Expansion: A User-Based Evaluation in a Relevance Feedback Environment
    Efthimis N. Efthimiadis
    Page 989. Published online 6 July 2000

    Using questionnaires, search logs, and evaluated printouts of results of 25 searches by students and faculty Efthimiadis investigates interactive query expansion in a user centered environment. Users made topical relevance judgements on a relevant, partially not relevant (not included as relevant), partially relevant (included as relevant), and not relevant scale. Precision and number of relevant and retrieved were recorded.

    After the initial search was run, and the on-line results judged, terms for expansion were extracted from the top 5 relevant documents and presented as a ranked list. Users evaluated the list choosing good terms, the top 5 of which were used for expansion. After a research, questionnaire data was collected and offline printouts evaluated. Reasons for term selection were solicited. Terms were chosen 88% of the time that were thought to be related in some way, and in 64% of the time as actual synonyms. New ideas not related to the original query were chosen 44% of the time. About 75% of term associations fall within a hierarchical relationship. Single posted terms were chosen by users in 42%of the searches although they had come from an already retrieved document record. About one third of user chosen terms are potentially useful. On the average expansion produced nine highly relevant documents beyond the three highly relevant ones found in the initial search. Precision increased slightly.

  • Aging, Obsolescence, Impact, Growth, and Utilization: Definitions and Relations
    Leo Egghe and Ronald Rousseau
    Page 1004. Published online 6 July 2000

    Egghe and Rousseau clarify the relationships among several traditional bibliometric concepts. Growth can mean production in a year, cumulative production, or the increase in production between time periods. Aging implies that citation rates change over time. Since impact is citation count relative to number of sources, impact can be viewed as relative aging. Growth and aging are modeled in a similar fashion but growth influences aging in that more articles provide more sources and competition becomes heavier to appear in the reference lists of new articles. Growth, however, does not cause aging.

  • Network Organizational Development in the Public Sector: A Case Study of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)
    Robert Ward, Gary Wamsley, Aaron Schroeder, and David B. Robins
    Page 1018. Published online 6 July 2000

    Ward et al. examine the view that Information Technology is an agent for change within the organizational hierarchy that will lead to more effective and responsive administration. Existing organizational theory research shows that management uses technology to preserve existing control and centralization. An examination of the Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) experience in adopting an information network reinforces this view. The National Preparedness Directorate, one of the five major areas of FEMA, did not support the other areas which were left without technology guidance or integration. The NPD produced a very advanced telecommunications network for disaster response which was not available for dealing with civilian disasters. The hurricane Hugo and Andrew disasters and the Loma Prieta earthquake swamped the civilian paper based systems and led to sever criticism. Clearly the IT effort was used by upper management to maintain their own objectives. More than sophisticated IT is necessary to provide a more effective and responsive administration. Later the Information Technology Services Directorate was removed from NPD, centralized, and new models and geographical information systems were designed under contract. By 1998 a real time system was in place integrating available data with direct feed from the disaster area and providing the location of food supplies and shelter and contact with supporting agencies. Clearly management change had driven the use of technology, not the technology by its own existence.

  • Using Kintsch's Discourse Comprehension Theory to Model the User's Coding of an Informative Message from an Enabling Information Retrieval System
    Charles Cole and Bertie Mandelblatt
    Page 1033. Published online 11 July 2000

    Cole and Mandelblatt model the retrieval interaction as a Shannon like process where the integration function of the destination is considered to involve perception and comprehension understood in terms of Kintsch's four-layer propositional-language theory. To stimulate the comprehension process a form requires the subject to list four questions about her topic, answer these questions, label four concepts for each question answer pair, and then supply a weight indicating the probability the this alternative will be the final thesis used. It is claimed that this form's use brings to the fore the user's tacit knowledge and enables the user to create a real thesis for the essay to be produced.

  • Translingual Alteration of Conceptual Information in Medical Translation: A Crosslanguage Analysis between English and Chinese
    Shaoyi He
    Page 1047. Published online 11 July 2000

    Using 200 English to Chinese title translations from JAMA and Archives of Ophthalmology, and 200 Chinese to English title translations from the National Medical Journal of China and the Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology, Shaoyi He had two bilingual MDs identify concept pairs and unlinked concepts, generating a list of concept pairs. Differences in the pairs were noted and rated on a scale of 1 (identical) to 5 (quite different). Cohen's Kappa indicated a strong reliability of inter-judge agreement. 3.66 concepts per title were identified in English and 3.54 in Chinese. Conceptual addition as well as conceptual omission takes place in both directions but addition is more frequent. Conceptual alteration is almost twice as common in Chinese to English as in English to Chinese, and in both cases general rather than medical concepts seem to be those more often altered.

Book Reviews

  • New Organizational Designs: Information Aspects,, by Bob Travica
    Patricia F. Katopol
  • Information Visualization: Perception for Design, by Colin Ware
    Terrence A. Brooks
  • Information Retrieval: Algorithms and Heuristics, by David A. Grossman and Ophir Frieder
    Hugh E. Williams
  • The Internet Public Library Handbook, by Joseph Janes, et al.
    Billie E. Walker

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