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2nd Annual Research Symposium of the
Special Interest Group on Information Needs, Seeking, and Use (SIG USE)
of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST)

Saturday, November 16, 2002, 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia, PA


Call for Participation

In 1999, Yuan and Meadow ( JASIS, 50(2), 140-150) completed a study of the variables used in research related to online searching and information retrieval system use.  Variables related to search behaviors included the search commands (types of commands, sequences/chains of commands, and search moves), errors, search cycles (number, items retrieved), search termination, records retrieved and viewed, amount of time and effort expended, comparisons between search strategies, search outcomes (relevance/utility), and search value.  They reviewed examples of user studies that included measures of search behaviors as a basis for developing this typology.  The 2002 SIG USE Research Symposium will focus on methods for measuring these variables.

The symposium will begin with an introductory presentation by Charles Meadow, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto.  The remainder of the symposium will consist of informal discussions of the methods that participants have used (or are planning to use) in studies of search behaviors.  Participants will work in small groups to critique particular methods currently in use or develop proposals for new methods that can be used to measure particular searching behaviors.  The intended outcome of the symposium is a set of recommendations for researchers embarking on investigations of users' interactions with retrieval systems.

Those wishing to participate in the symposium should submit a brief (1-2 page) synopsis of their current work or interests that are pertinent to the symposium topic.  Experienced researchers are invited to participate; the submitted synopsis should summarize current or past research experiences that involve the measurement of search behaviors.  Those interested in this area, but not experienced in it, are also invited to participate; the submitted synopsis should describe current research interests and how measurement of search behaviors is pertinent to those interests.  Formal papers are not expected; the symposium format will be that of a seminar, focusing on participant discussion. 

The brief synopses of participants' research experience/interests will be posted to a symposium web site in advance of the meeting and will be used to further organize the small-group discussion session(s).Overviews/introductions should be submitted to Barbara Wildemuth,, in electronic form.  They are due by August 15, 2002; participants will be notified by August 30.  Participation will be limited to 40 people; participants will be expected to register for the symposium (registration fee: $50).

Symposium organizers:  Barbara Wildemuth, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,, and Eileen Abels, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland,

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