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Soo Young Rieh earns honorable mention at CHIIR conference in Glasgow

Friday, 03/22/2019

 Soo Young Rieh
Soo Young Rieh

UMSI associate professor Soo Young Rieh and co-author Catherine Smith (Kent State University) took home an honorable mention award at the ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR) for a paper on search as learning.

The award was announced on March 12 at the CHIIR 2019 conference banquet in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The annual CHIIR conference provides a forum for the dissemination and discussion of research on user-centered approaches to design and evaluation of systems for information access, retrieval and use.

Smith and Rieh’s paper, “Knowledge-context in search systems: Toward information-literate actions,” discusses the benefits of including information-rich content in search engine results pages that can help the searcher develop critical thinking skills. 

The authors take a new perspective on search systems in which enriched knowledge-context – or the information searchers use when making sense of information displayed in search engine results pages – have potential for facilitating learning, critical thinking, and creativity by the enabling searchers to engage in variety of actions such as evaluating, comparing, and differentiating between information sources.

Previous research showed that when people search on the internet they come away with an inflated feeling of knowing, which means that using web search engines every day affects our awareness of what we actually know.

“One possible explanation for this inflated sense of knowledge is that we feel we know something when we believe a search engine can find it on the web, regardless whether or not we actually know it, or whether or not the search engine works well,” says Rieh.

These findings led the authors to consider how search system design affects long-term learning. If users are paying attention to information found during search, does it improve metacognition, or awareness of thinking? Is the information they find during search less available in long-term memory? If it is, how does that affect subsequent learning?

Smith and Rieh’s ultimate goal is the creation of search systems that help users develop better information literacy, encourage users to compare results from multiple sources, and help them to learn to assess results for credibility. 

“It is our belief that with a learning-centric search system, people searching for information can become more engaged in the information they find and will be better able to apply it,” says Rieh.

- Jessica Webster, UMSI PR Specialist