Social and Collaborative Information Seeking: State of the Union        [Slides]

Chirag Shah

Increasingly, people are utilizing collaboration and sharing technologies to address needs in their work and personal lives. Information plays a key role in today’s world, and many problems require us to use social and collaborative ties to search for and locate information. Examples range from corporate teams doing business intelligence gathering to a couple planning their vacation to a diabetes patient looking for information and support regarding treatment options. This emerging area of scholarly inquiry that involves incorporating social and/or collaborative dimensions to information seeking/retrieval processes has attracted researchers, developers, and students from a wide variety of domains, providing a rich multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary ground in which many new ideas have flourished and problems have come forth. In this talk I will review some of these recent efforts, including my own, covering key theories, models, and tools. Going beyond individual search models, I will talk about how we ought to consider both social and collaborative dimensions under a larger umbrella that focus on communicative processes and social interactions to investigate and support social and collaborative dimensions of information seeking, retrieval, and use. The central thesis of my talk is that social and collaborative information seeking (SCIS) addresses some of the limitations of other information seeking methods by integrating individual, community-based, socially oriented, and small-group focused information retrieval and usage activities. I will draw on examples and applications from different domains to highlight when and how SCIS could lead to improvements, enlightenments, and failures. The talk will also provide an overview of the current state of research methods and evaluation techniques for SCIS.

About the speaker

Chirag Shah is an assistant professor in both the School of Communication & Information (SC&I) and the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers University. His research interests include information seeking/retrieval in social and collaborative contexts. Shah received a PhD in information science from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He directs the InfoSeeking Lab at Rutgers where he investigates issues related to information seeking, interactive information retrieval, and social media, supported by grants from National Science Foundation (NSF), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Google, and Yahoo!