Skip navigation

Library Science

  • Page 2 of 3
Experiment and Evaluation in Information Retrieval

The Text REtrieval Conference (TREC), a yearly workshop hosted by the US government's National Institute of Standards and Technology, provides the infrastructure necessary for large-scale evaluation of text retrieval methodologies. With the goal of accelerating research in this area, TREC created the first large test collections of full-text documents and standardized retrieval evaluation. The impact has been significant; since TREC's beginning in 1992, retrieval effectiveness has approximately doubled. TREC has built a variety of large test collections, including collections for such specialized retrieval tasks as cross-language retrieval and retrieval of speech. Moreover, TREC has accelerated the transfer of research ideas into commercial systems, as demonstrated in the number of retrieval techniques developed in TREC that are now used in Web search engines.

This book provides a comprehensive review of TREC research, summarizing the variety of TREC results, documenting the best practices in experimental information retrieval, and suggesting areas for further research. The first part of the book describes TREC's history, test collections, and retrieval methodology. Next, the book provides "track" reports—describing the evaluations of specific tasks, including routing and filtering, interactive retrieval, and retrieving noisy text. The final part of the book offers perspectives on TREC from such participants as Microsoft Research, University of Massachusetts, Cornell University, University of Waterloo, City University of New York, and IBM. The book will be of interest to researchers in information retrieval and related technologies, including natural language processing.

Bringing the World Wide Web to Its Full Potential

As the World Wide Web continues to expand, it becomes increasingly difficult for users to obtain information efficiently. Because most search engines read format languages such as HTML or SGML, search results reflect formatting tags more than actual page content, which is expressed in natural language. Spinning the Semantic Web describes an exciting new type of hierarchy and standardization that will replace the current "web of links" with a "web of meaning." Using a flexible set of languages and tools, the Semantic Web will make all available information -- display elements, metadata, services, images, and especially content -- accessible. The result will be an immense repository of information accessible for a wide range of new applications.This first handbook for the Semantic Web covers, among other topics, software agents that can negotiate and collect information, markup languages that can tag many more types of information in a document, and knowledge systems that enable machines to read Web pages and determine their reliability. The truly interdisciplinary Semantic Web combines aspects of artificial intelligence, markup languages, natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation, intelligent agents, and databases.

Rethinking the Digital Divide

Much of the discussion about new technologies and social equality has focused on the oversimplified notion of a "digital divide." Technology and Social Inclusion moves beyond the limited view of haves and have-nots to analyze the different forms of access to information and communication technologies. Drawing on theory from political science, economics, sociology, psychology, communications, education, and linguistics, the book examines the ways in which differing access to technology contributes to social and economic stratification or inclusion. The book takes a global perspective, presenting case studies from developed and developing countries, including Brazil, China, Egypt, India, and the United States.

A central premise is that, in today's society, the ability to access, adapt, and create knowledge using information and communication technologies is critical to social inclusion. This focus on social inclusion shifts the discussion of the "digital divide" from gaps to be overcome by providing equipment to social development challenges to be addressed through the effective integration of technology into communities, institutions, and societies. What is most important is not so much the physical availability of computers and the Internet but rather people's ability to make use of those technologies to engage in meaningful social practices.

Social Practice in Design and Evaluation

The contributors to this volume view digital libraries (DLs) from a social as well as technological perspective. They see DLs as sociotechnical systems, networks of technology, information artifacts, and people and practices interacting with the larger world of work and society. As Bruce Schatz observes in his foreword, for a digital library to be useful, the users, the documents, and the information system must be in harmony.The contributors begin by asking how we evaluate DLs -- how we can understand them in order to build better DLs -- but they move beyond these basic concerns to explore how DLs make a difference in people's lives and their social worlds, and what studying DLs might tell us about information, knowledge, and social and cognitive processes. The chapters, using both empirical and analytical methods, examine the social impact of DLs and also the web of social and material relations in which DLs are embedded; these far-ranging social worlds include such disparate groups as community activists, environmental researchers, middle-school children, and computer system designers.Topics considered include documents and society; the real boundaries of a "library without walls"; the ecologies of digital libraries; usability and evaluation; information and institutional change; transparency as a product of the convergence of social practices and information artifacts; and collaborative knowledge construction in digital libraries.

On Research Libraries is the formal report of the Committee on Research Libraries, appointed and sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies in 1967. The Committee, formed to investigate the problems facing research libraries, created a list of recommendations in the areas of national library policy, copyright, and technology, along with supporting reports.

Edited by Ralph W. Conant

The public library as a "community facility dedicated to. . .service to everyone" is finding it impossible to meet the increasing demands made by a varied and shifting clientele—students require more space, more copies of books, more specialized services; educators wish to exploit the public library as a means of improving the educational and cultural opportunities of low-income groups; sophisticated industrial complexes demand high-level reference services and research resources; general readers want to retain the traditional image of the public library as a "refuge for the bookworm and the browser." Each of the distinguished contributors to this volume has dealt with an issue directly related to his or her own field of specilization, providing insights into the educational, cultural, demographic, political, and financial aspects of the urban public library.

This book serves as an important beginning point in a necessary re-examination of the role of the public library in a changing urban scene and should prove to be basic reading for the librarian, the library administrator, and the sociologist. The book will also be of value to social and political scientists, city planners, and economists who are concerned with the character of cities and the future of libraries whose milieu is the city.

A Study in Typology

One natural outcome of the educational reform movement of the 1840s was the growth of the American public library. Though the first public libraries were housed in post offices and town halls, even in local drug stores, growing book collections soon forced cities and towns to recognize the need for larger, more appropriate buildings. Some 450 public libraries were built in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The most important and influential architect of the era who built librairies was Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886), perhaps best known for his design of Boston's Trinity Church.

The primary focus of Kenneth Breisch's Henry Hobson Richardson and the Small Public Library in America is on Richardson's designs for public libraries in Woburn, North Easton, Quincy, and Malden, Massachusetts, as well as an unbuilt proposal for the Hoyt Library in East Saginaw, Michigan. In addition to placing them within the broader history of American library design, Breisch offers a close examination of these buildings as participants in the cultural, political, and economic developments of the period. Since more than 80 percent of the public libraries built in the latter half of the nineteenth century were privately endowed—as were all of Richardson's library commissions—his discussion of the role of philanthropy, in particular, illuminates the perceived meaning and function of public libraries to the monied classes, as well as their function as memorials to deceased family members.

Breisch also examines the role played by the library profession in the development of modern library planning theory during this period, a role that often clashed with the goals of the architects commissioned to design the library buildings. Although this conflict eventually led the American Library Association to condemn Richardson's buildings as unsuitable for library work, his designs still had enormous influence on the architectural vocabulary of the institution. The fact remains that Richardson invented and refined a significant prototype for the smaller American public library building.

Access to Information in the Networked World

Will the emerging global information infrastructure (GII) create a revolution in communication equivalent to that wrought by Gutenberg, or will the result be simply the evolutionary adaptation of existing behavior and institutions to new media? Will the GII improve access to information for all? Will it replace libraries and publishers? How can computers and information systems be made easier to use? What are the trade-offs between tailoring information systems to user communities and standardizing them to interconnect with systems designed for other communities, cultures, and languages?This book takes a close look at these and other questions of technology, behavior, and policy surrounding the GII. Topics covered include the design and use of digital libraries; behavioral and institutional aspects of electronic publishing; the evolving role of libraries; the life cycle of creating, using, and seeking information; and the adoption and adaptation of information technologies. The book takes a human-centered perspective, focusing on how well the GII fits into the daily lives of the people it is supposed to benefit.Taking a unique holistic approach to information access, the book draws on research and practice in computer science, communications, library and information science, information policy, business, economics, law, political science, sociology, history, education, and archival and museum studies. It explores both domestic and international issues. The author's own empirical research is complemented by extensive literature reviews and analyses.

Beyond Knowledge Management

The field of knowledge management focuses on how organizations can most effectively store, manage, retrieve, and enlarge their intellectual properties. The repository view of knowledge management emphasizes the gathering, providing, and filtering of explicit knowledge. The information in a repository has the advantage of being easily transferable and reusable. But it is not easy to use decontextualized information, and users often need access to human experts.This book describes a more recent approach to knowledge management, which the authors call "expertise sharing." Expertise sharing emphasizes the human aspects--cognitive, social, cultural, and organizational--of knowledge management, in addition to information storage and retrieval. Rather than focusing on the management level of an organization, expertise sharing focuses on the self-organized activities of the organization’s members. The book addresses the concerns of both researchers and practitioners, describing current literature and research as well as offering information on implementing systems. It consists of three parts: an introduction to knowledge sharing in large organizations; empirical studies of expertise sharing in different types of settings; and detailed descriptions of computer systems that can route queries, assemble people and work, and augment naturally occurring social networks within organizations.

Classic and Contemporary Works

This book provides an introduction to the field of knowledge management. Taking a learning-centric rather than information-centric approach, it emphasizes the continuous acquisition and application of knowledge. The book is organized into three sections, each opening with a classic work from a leader in the field. The first section, Strategy, discusses the motivation for knowledge management and how to structure a knowledge management program. The second section, Process, discusses the use of knowledge management to make existing practices more effective, the speeding up of organizational learning, and effective methods for implementing knowledge management. The third section, Metrics, discusses how to measure the impact of knowledge management on an organization. In addition to the classic essays, each section contains unpublished works that further develop the foundational concepts and strategies.

  • Page 2 of 3