B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology       Vol. 31, No. 2    December/January 2005

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What’s New?

Selected Abstracts from JASIS&T

Editor’s note: We invite JASIS&T authors to submit structured abstracts of their articles for possible inclusion in the Bulletin, particularly those that might be of interest to practitioners. ASIS&T would welcome reader feedback on the usefulness of this (or any other) Bulletin feature (bulletin@asis.org).

From JASIS&T v. 55 (13)

Clyde, L.A. (2004). Evaluating the quality of research publications: A pilot study of school librarianship, (1119-1130)

Study and Results: This study had two aims: to test the extent to which experienced research evaluators agree in their rankings of research articles in school librarianship on the basis of quality and to investigate the approaches to evaluation used by these evaluators. A qualitative, naturalistic research design was used, with the evaluators being asked to evaluate a set of five research articles and then to comment on their rankings and on the evaluation process. Responses were analyzed using content analysis plus statistical techniques. The evaluators ranked the articles very differently; although the means and modal rankings suggest some level of agreement about three of the articles, it was nevertheless the case that an article ranked highest by one evaluator could be ranked lowest by another. Cluster analysis revealed that evaluators were influenced by a factor tentatively called “value perceptions.”

What’s New? Evaluation of research is becoming increasingly important in the field of library and information science, especially with the emergence of ideas about evidence-based practice in librarianship. This study shows that even expert evaluators will come to very different conclusions about a research article, although sometimes they may appear to be using the same criteria. How, then, are practitioners with little experience of research to evaluate research evidence? More work is needed to answer this question.

Limitations: The findings related to “value perceptions” are preliminary and will need to be tested through further research.

Schloegl, C.; & Stock, W. G. (2004). Impact and relevance of LIS journals: A scientometric analysis of international and German-language LIS journals: Citation analysis vs. reader survey, (1155-1169).

Study and Results: The goal of the present study was to investigate international and German-language periodicals in the field of library and information science (LIS), especially how they relate to each other. This was done by means of a citation analysis and a reader survey. For the 40 international periodicals, data were collected from ISI’s Journal Citation Reports (JCR); the citations of the 10 German-language journals were counted manually. The survey investigated the relevance given to the journals by information specialists from Germany , Austria and Switzerland . A total of 257 question­naires were analysed.

The citation analysis revealed big differences between the German-language and the international LIS journals concerning the values for impact factor, citing half-life and number of references per article. The mapping of the journals showed only a low level of (unidirectional) information flow between the German-language and the international periodicals. This was confirmed by the expert survey, which indicated that German-language information professionals read and publish primarily in their mother tongue. The relevance rankings of the journals varied among the different occupational LIS groups (scientists vs. practitioners, librarians vs. documentalists vs. LIS scholars). However, the results reflect the dominance of librarians and LIS practitioners in German-speaking countries.

What's New? As far as we know, our study is the first comprehensive scientometric analysis of German-language LIS journals. This allowed us to investigate how German-language LIS journals are connected to international journals in the field. Having both citation and readership data, we could investigate questions like: Does reading behavior correlate with the journal impact factor or with the number of references per article?

Limitations: The study is only descriptive in nature. Some parts try to provide some explanations. As a consequence, the study generates hypotheses as well.

Lucas, W. & Topi, H. (2004). Training for Web search: Will it get you in shape? (1183-1199).

Study and Results: Whether searching the Web, a corporate intranet or any of numerous information services, the success of the search will ultimately rest on the effectiveness of the underlying search engine and the ability of the searcher to use that technology effectively. Our study focuses on the user and investigates the effects of training in Boolean logic and in the use of an assisted search interface on the user's ability to search. In our study, a total of 145 participants divided into six different categories used a search engine similar to those found in corporate and research repositories to find answers to six information requests. We found that the most successful searchers were those who either used the simple interface and received logic training or those who used the assisted interface and had no logic training. Interface training was not a factor.

What's New? This study has major implications for corporations who rely on search for critical aspects of their operations. Devoting resources to Boolean training for their employees and to an assisted search interface for their website could ultimately be a valuable investment.

Limitations: The training participants received was of short duration, which may have affected its absorption.

Cyr, D. and H. Trevor-Smith (2004). Localization of Web design: An empirical comparison of German, Japanese and U.S. website characteristics, (1199-1208).

Study and Results: A research investigation was conducted analyzing sites in Germany , Japan and the U.S. (30 municipal sites in each country) to explore issues of user interface design, including culturally preferred design elements. Various design elements considered are use of symbols and graphics, color preferences, site features (links, maps, navigation and search functions, page layout), multimedia elements, and language and content. Differences are found among countries for all design elements tested, with the exception of preferences for multimedia.

What’s New? This research provides statistically significant evidence to support other work that design preferences differ across cultures. This finding likewise supports a general call for localization of Web content and provides some directions related to specific cultural preferences in Web design. Further, it would be expected in the e-business domain that appropriate website design across cultures contributes to development of online customer trust, loyalty and satisfaction.

Limitations: Although the variables tested illustrate significant differences, some limitations to the research exist. These include a sample of websites limited to three countries and use of municipal sites (that avoid product or company branding effects), but which may limit generalizability of the data to other contexts such as corporate sites.

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