Research Projects

Credibility Assessment in the Participatory Web Environment funded the MacArthur Foundation Role: Principal Investigator. $430,000. Project Period: September 2008 – August 2012.

This project investigates what new sets of heuristics of credibility assessment have emerged in the participatory Web environment (Web 2.0). The heuristics are comprised of general rules used to make judgments of credibility across a variety of information use situation. The project addresses two main research questions: (1) how people assess the credibility of user-mediated news content (UMNC)-the summarized, edited, and commented versions of the original published news content; and (2) what heuristics the participatory users (content contributors) employ to make credibility judgments when creating user-generated content (UGC).

Making Institutional Repositories a Collaborative Learning Environment (MIRACLE) funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). National Leadership Grants. Role: Principal Investigator. Co-investigators: Karen Markey & Elizabeth Yakel. $510,205. Project Period: October 2005-September 2009.

This research project investigates the development of institutional repositories in colleges and universities to identify models and best practices in the administration, technical infrastructure, and access to repository collections. The main goal of the project is to identify specific factors contributing to the success of institutional repositories and effective ways of accessing and using repositories from the perspectives of both users and administrative staff.

BiblioBouts Project funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Role: Co-Principal Investigator (Karen Markey is a PI). $649,941. Project Period: October 2008 – September 2011.

Researchers at the School of Information (SI) of the University of Michigan (U-M) have partnered with the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University to conduct the BiblioBouts Project, a 3-year project, to support the design, development, testing, and evaluation of a computer game to teach incoming undergraduate students information literacy skills and concepts.

College Students’ Credibility Judgments in the Information Seeking Process Project Period: June 2006 – May 2008.

This project examines college students’ credibility assessments with respect to a wide range of information resources that the students consult in their diverse information seeking activities. Using web-based diaries and interview methods, 245 information episodes were reported by the participants. Various factors involved in credibility assessment and information seeking strategies were uncovered by looking at a wide variety of information seeking activities that draw upon a diverse set of channels, media, and systems.

Credibility: A Multidisciplinary Framework. With David Danielson, July 2004-February 2006
This purpose of this project is to examine various conceptualizations of credibility across multiple disciplinary boundaries and to identify multiple perspectives of credibility with respect to its applications to the Web. This research aims to develop a multidisciplinary framework of credibility.

Amount of Invested Mental Effort in Information Seeking and Retrieval (with Karen Markey and Yong-Mi Kim), November 2003-October 2005
This research explores how users’ preconceptions of information systems and self-confidence affect the amount of mental effort when they interact with the features and functionalities of the systems. It also examines how mental effort invested into online searching is related to searching behavior by comparing people’s perceptions and behavior on the Web and the library system.

Digital Reference Service in IPL. with Maurita Holland, September 2002 – August 2004
This study is intended to understand the search process of Internet Public Library (IPL) reference staff in the course of answering the clients’ questions, and further to identify desirable strategies and critical skills and knowledge that they need learn to provide efficient information service. To achieve these goals, this study examines the factors that influence their decision in selecting IPL questions to answer, the basis for choosing particular resources, and the strategies for answering each question. It also investigates the types of additional information that the staff wish to have from the clients as well as knowledge and skills that they wish to have.

Web Searching across Languages: Preference and Behavior of Bilingual Academic Users (with Hae-Young Rieh), June 2001 – December 2002
On the Web, people can access information written in various languages. The language issues in information retrieval has long been discussed within the context of Cross-language information retrieval (CLIR), which is primarily concerned with automatic translation techniques. This is a case study which explores bilingual Web users’ behaviors and preferences in natural settings with respect to the capability of the Web as multilingual information resources. Twenty-eight academic users were recruited from Myungji University in Korea. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews and observations and content analyzed. The findings showed that the subjects did not always prefer Korean as a language for query and documents. The selection of language for Web searching was closely related to types of task (academic tasks vs. personal interests). The subjects wanted to have various user control features over integrated multilingual Web searching. The implications of findings for CLIR field and multilingual search engines are discussed.

Web Searching Behavior in the Home Environment – Excite@Home Project, January 2001-September 2001
The objective of this study was to characterize the home as an information use environment and to identify a range of information seeking and Web search behaviors at home. Information seeking behavior has been analyzed in terms of four levels: home environment, information seeking goals, information retrieval interaction, and search query.

Multiple Query Reformulations in Web Searching – Excite@Home Project (with Hong Iris Xie), January 2001-August 2003
This research examines multiple query reformulations on the Web in the context of interactive information retrieval. The objectives of the study are to characterize the facets of query reformulations and to identify patterns of multiple query reformulation in terms of sequences. This research also explores the ways in which search engines can support query reformulations more effectively.

Information Quality and Cognitive Authority in the World Wide Web, Dissertation Research at Rutgers University School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies, 2000. (Advisor: Nicholas J. Belkin)
The purpose of this study is to identify and understand the various factors which influence people’s judgments of quality and authority of information on the Web, and the effects of those judgments on selecting behaviors. Two kinds of judgments were identified: predictive judgments and evaluative judgments. The study found that, in predictive judgments, the subjects made predictions that reflected what they expected when they opened a new page. In evaluative judgments, they made value judgments by which they expressed preferences about the web page with respect to use. Factors influencing judgments of quality and authority were found including characteristics of information objects, characteristics of sources, knowledge, situation, ranking in search output, and general assumption.