Journal of the Association for Information Science



Bert R. Boyce




Evaluating the Quality of Learning in Computer Supported Co-Operative Learning
 D.R. Newman, Chris Johnson, Brian Webb, Clive Cochrane 

Can learning quality be maintained in the face of increasing class size by the use of Computer Supported Co-operative Learning (CSCL) technologies? In particular, can Computer-Mediated Communication promote critical thinking in addition to surface information transfer? We compared face-to-face seminars with asynchronous computer conferencing in the same Information Management class. From Garrison's theory of critical thinking and Henri's critical reasoning skills, we developed two ways of evaluating critical-thinking: a student questionnaire and a content analysis technique. We found evidence for critical thinking in both situations, with some subtle differences in learning style. This article provides an overview of this work.




Factors that Influence the Use of Electronic Networks by Science and Engineering Faculty at Small Institutions. Part II. Preliminary Use Indicators
 Peter Liebscher, Eileen G. Abels, Daniel W. Denman 

The results reported in this article are part of a study that examined factors influencing the adoption and use of electronic networks by science and engineering faculty in six small universities in the south-eastern U.S. Part of that study gathered data on the purpose, type, and extent of electronic communications. Data were gathered by mail questionnaire and by follow-up site visas. This article reports on five types of network use, E-mail, electronic discussion groups, accessing remote databases, accessing remote computer facilities, and file transfer, For each service, data are reported for frequency of use by purpose-research, teaching administration, social and current awareness. The report outlines preliminary use indicators for each service in terms of heavy and moderate use.




Internet Use by Faculty Members in Various Disciplines: A Comparative Case Study
 Susan S. Lazinger, Judit-Bar-LLan, Bluma c. Pertiz 

The purpose of this study was to examine and compare use of the Internet among various sectors of the faculty, in order to verify the influence of a number of parameters on this use, e.g.: (1) The field and research interests of the faculty members; (2) formal training in the use of the Internet via courses, workshops etc.; (3) self-instruction in the use of the Internet by means of manuals, how-to-books, etc.; (4) general use and knowledge of computers; and (5) perceived need for the information this network can provide. Questionnaires were sent to faculty members in all departments and professional schools of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a total population of 918 for both the pilot project and the main study. Results indicated that Internet use is consistently higher among faculty members in the science and agriculture ("Sciagr") than those among the humanities or social sciences ("Humsoc"), suggesting that, among other things, the connectivity level of the Humsoc group may be lower than that of Sciagr group. The humsoc group also showed a higher demand for courses in Internet use. Suggestions for raising the level of Internet use among the various disciplines of the faculty are included.




Using Context to Promote Learning from Information-Seeking Tasks
Ron Oliver, Helen Oliver

Children in schools frequently engage in information seeking tasks either for personal interest or as part of some instructional activity. In most instances, an assumed and implicit purpose of the information seeking is that some form of learning will occur. But this is not necessarily the case. Research into the use of electronic information sources has demonstrated that while students can demonstrate successful information retrieval skills and strategies, they can often fail to learn and retain the information and knowledge with which they have been engaged. The purpose of this study was planned to test the hypothesis that information seeking activities based on contextual and social purposes would lead to higher levels of knowledge acquisition and learning that those achieved through activities where the purpose and context was absent. The results from this study provide tacit support for this hypothesis. Our study found that when students participated in information-seeking activities and tasks, the amount of knowledge gained and retained was influenced by the context and purpose of the activity.




Studying the Value of Library Information Services. Part I. Establishing a theoretical Framework
Tefko Saracevic, Paul B. Kantor

This report is derived from a large study sponsored by the council on Library Resources. Two of the objectives of the study were to develop a taxonomy of value-in -use of library and information services based on users assessments and to propose methods and instruments for similar studies of library and information services in general. The corresponding results are reported in two parts. In this, the first part, we discuss underlying concepts related to value that must be clarified in order to proceed with any pragmatic study of value, and we establish a theory of use-orientated value of information and information services. We examine the notions of "Value" in philosophy and economics and in relation to library an information services as well as the connection between value and relevance. We develop two models. One related to use of information and the other to use of library and information services. They are a theoretical framework for pragmatic study of value and guide for the development of a Derived Taxonomy of Value in using Library and Information Services. In the second part of this report, we present the methodology employed in development of the Taxonomy, the Taxonomy itself, and the results of testing the Taxonomy. We believe that the Taxonomy covers most dimensions of value related to use of library and information services. In the second part we also present suggestions for pragmatic applications of the Taxonomy.




Studying the Value of Library and Information Services. Part II. Methodology and Taxonomy
Tefko Saracevic, Paul B. Kantor

This report, presented in two parts, is derived from a large study sponsored by the Council on Library Resources. Two of its objectives were to develop a taxonomy of value-in-use of library and information services based on users assessments and to propose methods and instruments for similar studies of library ad information services in general. In the first part of this report, we discussed the underlying concepts related to value, which must be clarified to proceed with any pragmatic study of value. This established a theoretical framework, i.e.., a theory of use-orientated value of information and information services. The theory drives the models used for the pragmatic part of the study resulting in a Derived Taxonomy Value in Using Library and Information Services. In this, the second part, we deal with the specifics of the study: importance of a taxonomy; the method used for gathering data on user assessments of value in five research libraries, involving 18 services and 528 interviews with users; development and presentation of the taxonomy; and statistics and tests of the Taxonomy. A novel aspect is the division of value information services into three general classes or facets: (I) Reasons for use of a service in the given instance, (ii) quality of interaction (use) related to that service; and (iii) worth, benefits, or implications of subsequent results from use. We conclude this paper with suggestions for applications in practice, particularly in evaluation of services, and general discussions regarding the principles of taxonomic development.




Price Index and Its Relation to the Mean and Median Reference Age
L. Egghe

This article consists of two parts. In the first part, we assume the simple decreasing exponential model for aging. In this case, we prove that the price index ( the fraction of the references that are not older than a certain age) is a function of the mean reference age and also a function of the median reference age. Both functions are convexly decreasing, are in 1 and 0 and tend to zero for the argument tending to infinity.

The second part, the more realistic lognormal aging model is used. We now show that the Price Index is not a pure function of the mean or median reference age, but a well-defined relation in the form of a typical cloud of points. This cloud, (as, e.g., discussed in a 1995 article of W. Glanzel & U. Schoepflin) is explained using results from probability theory and statistics. New data (about reference ages in Journal of the Association for Information Science( are produced that confirm the theoretical findings.




The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age
by Allucquere Rosanne Stone
reviewed by: Davide Mattison



Developing User Interfaces: Ensuring Usability Through Product and Process
by Deborah Hix and H. Rex Hartson
reviewed by: Patty Curthoys

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Last update: November 06, 1998