Information Access & Retrieval: The Web, Users, and Interaction





Minitrack in the
Digital Media: Content and Communication Track of the
44nd Hawai’i International Conference on System Science, 2011


This minitrack reflects the reality of information access in the context of the Web by addressing the essential question of how to help the user access and make use of digital data. Our goal is to bring together the common threads of research in this area and to provide a forum for researchers in which emerging topics can be fostered.


                        Submission Date: June 15, 2010

                        Submission Process:



Topics addressed by the  Minitrack


This Minitrack elicits papers in information retrieval, web retrieval search and effectiveness, user experience, and HCI issues related to web access as well as emergent related topics.


Information Retrieval and Web search: Information Retrieval supports the computerized search of large document and digital media collections (millions or billions of items) to select small subsets of those documents relevant to a user's information need.  Such algorithms are the basis for internet search engines and question-answering systems.  In this minitrack we will examine both theoretical and application issues related but not limited to the following areas:


·         Information Retrieval Language Models, Algorithms and Tools

·         Fact-based Open-domain Question Answering

·         Web-based Information Retrieval

·         Topic Detection and Tracking over time

·         Geographic Information Retrieval, gazeteers

·         Information Visualization

·         Text Categorization and Summarization

·         Cross Language Retrieval

·         Image and Video Retrieval

·         Persistent conversation.



User Experience and HCI Perspectives: While we have learned a great deal about creating large document spaces and accessing these spaces, we know relatively little about the users who deal with a multi-billion-page Web and design factors for improving the user experience with these systems. Further research is needed to address the user issues related to effectiveness and quality of experience when interacting with Web search engines and when designing new applications in this area. A focus on the users from an HCI perspective allows us to align the user focus and the system focus in a multi-disciplinary forum that includes theoretical foundations, evaluation measures, methodologies, case studies and user study results.


Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • User-based Web search engines effectiveness measures
  • Evaluation of Web search tools in information seeking problems
  • Human design issues and evaluations of web applications
  • Profiles and personalization to enhance Web search
  • Effect of task on information seeking behavior on the Web
  • Log analysis
  • Individual differences in Web search



Target Audience: These topics are of prime interest to researchers, developers, interface designers, and information managers. We will target researchers and system developers working on new interfaces and search algorithms, and information managers concerned about increasing the value of Web access to information. The multidisciplinary nature of this emerging area allows us to welcome a wide range of participant interests, including human computer interface design, information seeking behavior, search algorithms, and information management. We will reach the audience mainly through targeted email lists, previous participants, and MiniTrack notices in selected venues.


mini-track co-chairs:


Ray Larson

School of Information

University of California, Berkeley

102 South Hall #4600

Berkeley, California 94720-4600



Phone: (510)642-6046

Fax:   (510)642-5814



Carolyn Watters

Faculty of Computer Science

Dalhousie University

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada B3H 3W5



Phone: 902-494-6723



Relevant Background of Co-chairs


Ray Larson is a Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Information, where he specializes in the design and performance evaluation of information systems, and the evaluation of user interaction with those systems.  His research has concentrated on the design and evaluation of information retrieval systems, with an emphasis on online library catalogs, digital libraries and Geographic Information Retrieval. Prof. Larson has been a participant, chair and co-chair of minitracks at HICSS since 1997. He was also technical program chair for the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries for 2007, and has participated as a program committee member and as a chair and speaker for Information retrieval evaluations and conferences including SIGIR, TREC, CLEF, INEX. Prof. Larson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Carolyn Watters is a Professor of Computer Science at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada and the co-director of the Web Information Filtering Lab. She has published widely on topics in Information Retrieval, Web Retrieval, and Effective Web Retrieval using mobile devices. She has been a workshop leader for many workshops including previous WWW conferences in the Hypertext Functionality series of workshops and co-chair of the WWW2004 Workshop on Measuring Effectiveness: The User Perspective as well as co-chair of panels at the WWW8 conference held in Toronto. Most recently she was co-chair of HICSS minitrack Search Effectiveness: User Perspective.