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This house believes that A&I is RIP Opposing the motion Nick Woolley, Information Specialist, Kings College London November 2009 3.

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Presentation on theme: "This house believes that A&I is RIP Opposing the motion Nick Woolley, Information Specialist, Kings College London November 2009 3."— Presentation transcript:



3 This house believes that A&I is RIP Opposing the motion Nick Woolley, Information Specialist, Kings College London November 2009 3

4 Do our old axioms still hold true? Our are cherished constants still relevant given the Web and Web 2.0 / 3.0 / number of your choice? In theory there shouldnt be much to debate: - recall, precision - exhaustivity, specificity - information needs - information seeking behaviour - ontology, taxonomy Preaching to the converted? 4

5 Technology Findability Information overload User requirements Value for money (VFM) A&I perspectives and issues 5

6 Human and automatic, manual and algorithm Expert and amateur Controlled vocabulary and folksonomy Full text (web) and selective index Be a lumper and think metadata* * Of course, not all metadata is equal (or really meta!) A&I technology 6

7 Google is A&I, Google Scholar is A&I, so is Google Books Just not very good A&I* Bad metadata, ghost authors for citation data See - Peter Jascow Google Scholars Ghost Authors, Lost Authors, and Other Problems Library Journal, 9/24/2009 * From what we can figure out! Google A&I 7

8 Peter Moville's Ambient Findability (2005): Ambient findability describes a fast emerging world where we can find anyone or anything from anywhere at anytime. (p.6)..[ambient findability] is less about the computer than the complex interactions between humans and information.(p.13) The better the metadata the greater the findability Findability 8

9 Still display Anomalous States of Knowledge (ASK) Digital natives and similar myths Exhibit the cultural norm of instant gratification Want and expect full text now Paying more for the service Disintermediation is still a relevant concept, especially when ignorance is bliss (not Bliss) User requirements 9

10 Mooers law (1959) - original context was contradictory principle of behaviour not usability.. many people may not want information, and that they will avoid using a system precisely because it gives them information Where an information retrieval system tends not to be used, a more capable information retrieval system may tend to be used even less See Austin, B. 2001 Ignorance is bliss (theory) 10

11 The Rationally Ignorant Consumer Hypothesis Media and markets, imperfect and biased information provision People choose to be RICs McCluskey, J.J. & Swinnen, J.F.M. 2004, "Political economy of the media and consumer perceptions of biotechnology", American Journal Agricultural Economics, 86 (5) 1230-1237. Ignorance is bliss (real world example) 11

12 The haystack is getting bigger Negates labour-saving technology Less signal more noise, deflates precision and recall More RICs and ASKs get more anomalous? Futility Point Criterion decreases as % of total relevant records Information overload opposes findability. A&I becomes more important. Information Overload 12

13 End user generated metadata for free!* Do folksonomies enhance findability? Are tags and related activity a valid form of A&I? Can mob indexing solve information overload (or just add to it)? Personal versus shared worlds * Nothing is free! Wisdom of crowds? 13

14 The Long Tail thrives online Web 2.0 crowd A&I is still crude Little exhaustive or specific indexing so low recall Reinforcing homogeneity, dampening serendipity Even with good A&I not all documents are equally findable, but a degree of parity helps Can you conflate popularity with value? How do Tag clouds work? Losing the Long Tail? 14

15 LibraryThing 15 0 tags v ? (a lot) Can you guess the book on the right?

16 Single interface and aggregation Zipf and Mann - principle of least effort Familiarity Joins up institution resources Added value – not replacements One stop shops? 16

17 How do you value findability? Good A&I increases chance of uniting researcher with information they need This can translate into revenue far exceeding the cost of the service A&I contributes to the success of your institution VFM 17

18 Discovery or Access* Database expenditure < ejournals expenditure When budgets bite why go after the smaller slice? Controversial, e.g. – RIN ejournals report April 2009 – Perceived and / or real immediate need for information *Which would you choose – Pubget or EndNote X3? VFM 18

19 Back of an envelope calculation: Cost of database subscription pa = a Cost of staff time searching and supporting databases pa = b Cost of staff time searching Google pa = c a + b < c False economy and decline in standards? VFM 19

20 Look at the evidence: - Do your users use your subscription databases? - Which groups benefit most? - Do researchers rely on your databases? - Are you asked to provide details for grant applications? - Do you support systematic reviews? Imagine you have no paid A&I. What happens next? VFM 20

21 Education, education, education Information literacy, information skills Advocacy and marketing Identifying and demonstrating value Collaboration between publishers and information services Challenges 21

22 A&I carries on evolving – 90s new automated methods, 00s mob indexing, new interfaces and aggregation Whatever your bottom line (findability, VFM) A&I is essential Abandoning A&I can only be a false economy We need to face up to the challenges Integrating and joining up with new A&I is vital, nothing is mutually exclusive. Summary 22

23 A&I is alive and kicking! 23

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