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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Dennis Nicholson and Ali Shiri

This article is an introduction to the problem of interoperability in subject searching and browsing in distributed digital libraries. The aim is to provide brief advice…

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1002

Abstract

This article is an introduction to the problem of interoperability in subject searching and browsing in distributed digital libraries. The aim is to provide brief advice of practical value to those tackling the problem themselves. A general overview of problem areas is given and some current projects tackling key issues are described.

Details

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Dinesh Rathi, Ali Shiri and Catherine Cockney

The purpose of this paper is to propose an evidence-based environmental scanning model that will provide a methodological framework for conducting community-engaged and…

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2134

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an evidence-based environmental scanning model that will provide a methodological framework for conducting community-engaged and community-focused research, with a particular emphasis on northern communities in Canada.

Design/methodology/approach

The study has adopted a multifaceted environmental scanning approach to understand the Inuvialuit Settlement Region communities. The research design is informed by various environmental models as discussed in literature from a broad range of domains such as business, library and information science (LIS), and a sophisticated multimethod data gathering approach that included field trips, observations, surveys, as well as informal methods of community engagement.

Findings

The paper proposes an environmental scan model as a novel approach to community-focused digital library (DL) development. The paper identifies both macro- and micro-environmental landscapes as applicable to the development of a DL for communities in Canada’s North. The macro-environmental landscapes include: geographical, historical and sociocultural, political and regulatory, economic, technological, competition, and human resource. The micro-environmental landscapes include: stakeholder and community, linguistic, information resource, and ownership.

Originality/value

The environmental scanning model and its key components presented in this paper provide a novel and concrete example of a project that aims to organize information for increased access and to create value through the design and implementation of an infrastructure for a cultural heritage DL. The environmental scan model will also contribute to both research and practice in the field of Library and Information Science (LIS), particularly in the area of DL development for rural, remote, and indigenous communities.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 69 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2017

Tami Oliphant and Ali Shiri

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the long tail of topical search queries, including the influence of current events, posed to a large, urban public library…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the long tail of topical search queries, including the influence of current events, posed to a large, urban public library discovery system.

Design/methodology/approach

Search queries from the months of June, July, August and September 2014 (1,488,339 total queries) were collected from the Edmonton Public Library’s BiblioCommons database using Google Analytics and exported to Excel. The data were then analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequency counts and textual analysis to explicate the long tail of search, (including the most popular searches) and to explore the relationship between topical search queries and current events.

Findings

The findings support the long tail theory, as the aggregate tail of topical search queries comprised the vast majority of the total searches and current events exert some influence on the nature and frequency of topical searches.

Research limitations/implications

Data collection was limited to four months of the year; thus, comparisons across the year cannot be made. There are practical implications for public libraries in terms of marketing and collections, as well as for improving catalogue functionality, to support user search behaviour.

Originality/value

Not much research attention has been focused on the nature of topical search queries in public libraries compared to academic libraries and the Web. The findings contribute to developing insight into the divergent interests of intergenerational public library users and the topics of materials they are searching for.

Details

Library Review, vol. 66 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2019

Ying Cui, Fu Chen, Ali Shiri and Yaqin Fan

Many higher education institutions are investigating the possibility of developing predictive student success models that use different sources of data available to…

Abstract

Purpose

Many higher education institutions are investigating the possibility of developing predictive student success models that use different sources of data available to identify students that might be at risk of failing a course or program. The purpose of this paper is to review the methodological components related to the predictive models that have been developed or currently implemented in learning analytics applications in higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature review was completed in three stages. First, the authors conducted searches and collected related full-text documents using various search terms and keywords. Second, they developed inclusion and exclusion criteria to identify the most relevant citations for the purpose of the current review. Third, they reviewed each document from the final compiled bibliography and focused on identifying information that was needed to answer the research questions

Findings

In this review, the authors identify methodological strengths and weaknesses of current predictive learning analytics applications and provide the most up-to-date recommendations on predictive model development, use and evaluation. The review results can inform important future areas of research that could strengthen the development of predictive learning analytics for the purpose of generating valuable feedback to students to help them succeed in higher education.

Originality/value

This review provides an overview of the methodological considerations for researchers and practitioners who are planning to develop or currently in the process of developing predictive student success models in the context of higher education.

Details

Information and Learning Sciences, vol. 120 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5348

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2020

Ying Cui, Fu Chen and Ali Shiri

This study aims to investigate the feasibility of developing general predictive models for using the learning management system (LMS) data to predict student performances…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the feasibility of developing general predictive models for using the learning management system (LMS) data to predict student performances in various courses. The authors focused on examining three practical but important questions: are there a common set of student activity variables that predict student performance in different courses? Which machine-learning classifiers tend to perform consistently well across different courses? Can the authors develop a general model for use in multiple courses to predict student performance based on LMS data?

Design/methodology/approach

Three mandatory undergraduate courses with large class sizes were selected from three different faculties at a large Western Canadian University, namely, faculties of science, engineering and education. Course-specific models for these three courses were built and compared using data from two semesters, one for model building and the other for generalizability testing.

Findings

The investigation has led the authors to conclude that it is not desirable to develop a general model in predicting course failure across variable courses. However, for the science course, the predictive model, which was built on data from one semester, was able to identify about 70% of students who failed the course and 70% of students who passed the course in another semester with only LMS data extracted from the first four weeks.

Originality/value

The results of this study are promising as they show the usability of LMS for early prediction of student course failure, which has the potential to provide students with timely feedback and support in higher education institutions.

Details

Information and Learning Sciences, vol. 121 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5348

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2000

Ali Asghar Shiri and Crawford Revie

This article provides an overview of recent developments relating to the application of thesauri in information organisation and retrieval on the World Wide Web. It…

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2160

Abstract

This article provides an overview of recent developments relating to the application of thesauri in information organisation and retrieval on the World Wide Web. It describes some recent thesaurus projects undertaken to facilitate resource description and discovery and access to wide‐ranging information resources on the Internet. Types of thesauri available on the Web, thesauri integrated in databases and information retrieval systems, and multiple‐thesaurus systems for cross‐database searching are also discussed. Collective efforts and events in addressing the standardisation and novel applications of thesauri are briefly reviewed.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Abstract

Details

Library Hi Tech News, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0741-9058

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2009

Julie Mondoux and Ali Shiri

The purpose of this paper is to examine and provide an insight into Canadian post‐secondary institutional repositories (IRs) with respect to user interface features and…

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1141

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and provide an insight into Canadian post‐secondary institutional repositories (IRs) with respect to user interface features and knowledge organization systems (KOS) used.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to explore all Canadian post‐secondary institutions and their user interfaces to establish the type of searching and browsing features they have used and whether or not they have made use of KOS such as subject heading lists or classification schemes.

Findings

A directory of 27 IRs in Canada is created. Incorporation of KOS in institutional repository is evaluated. The examination is focuses on accessibility, searching, KOS use, and retrieval. Evaluation shows that few IRs have incorporated complex KOS such as controlled vocabularies. Browsing and searching options are available, but user interfaces are usually not modified to enhance information retrieval.

Originality/value

This is the first paper examining Canadian IRs from the perspectives of searching, browsing and the use of KOS.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 61 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2007

Kathleen P. Ismond and Ali Shiri

The purpose of this paper is to identify two medical digital libraries from each of the following three countries: Canada, the USA and the UK. It aims to discuss strengths…

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1789

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify two medical digital libraries from each of the following three countries: Canada, the USA and the UK. It aims to discuss strengths and weaknesses in system design in an effort to provide a basis on which to improve both the organisation of, and the access to, electronic, scholarly information.

Design/methodology/approach

Inclusion criteria for identifying the medical digital libraries were, those who: had primarily text‐based collections, intended for use by researchers or healthcare professionals; were freely accessible, and fulfilled the author's definition of a digital library as opposed to an online database. (Medical digital libraries with either a historical focus or that had primarily image/video collections were excluded.) To identify suitable medical digital libraries, the following resources were used: scholarly databases, online search engines, government and national library web sites, lists of online medical resources, and university web sites. Selection preference was given to those libraries with the most recent launch dates and service features. Each library was systematically evaluated, qualitatively and quantitatively, from the user's perspective in six distinct areas: administrative overview and site architecture, knowledge organisation, results management, interaction with the collection, additional information services, usability, and personalisation.

Findings

The study finds that each digital library had a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Each offered different services to help users identify relevant material and to quickly understand and assess their contents. However, this required that each library have a team of experts to obtain, assess, catalogue, and annotate the information. Where available, user comments were supportive of each effort and very positive.

Research limitations/implications

Medical digital libraries are an excellent conduit between authors and practitioners. However, they require intensive resources for establishment and maintenance. For these libraries to realise their full potential, emphasis must be placed on the currency and quality of their collections, maintaining pace with the technology employed by their users, providing services that facilitate the access and digestion of complex, scholarly information, and ensuring that online users are aware of the existence of these libraries.

Practical implications

This paper contributes to the overall improvement of existing and future medical digital libraries.

Originality/value

This is the first ever evaluation and comparison of freely available medical digital libraries from three countries.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Ali Shiri and Crawford Revie

This paper seeks to report an investigation into the ways in which end‐users perceive a thesaurus‐enhanced search interface, in particular thesaurus and search interface usability.

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2314

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to report an investigation into the ways in which end‐users perceive a thesaurus‐enhanced search interface, in particular thesaurus and search interface usability.

Design/methodology/approach

Thirty academic users, split between staff and postgraduate students, carrying out real search requests were observed during this study. Users were asked to comment on a range of thesaurus and interface characteristics including: ease of use, ease of learning, ease of browsing and navigation, problems and difficulties encountered while interacting with the system, and the effect of browsing on search term selection.

Findings

The results suggest that interface usability is a factor affecting thesaurus browsing/navigation and other information‐searching behaviours. Academic staff viewed the function of a thesaurus as being useful for narrowing down a search and providing alternative search terms, while postgraduates stressed the role of the thesaurus for broadening searches and providing new terms.

Originality/value

The paper provides an insight into the ways in which end‐users make use of and interact with a thesaurus‐enhanced search interface. This area is new since previous research has particularly focused on how professional searchers and librarians make use of thesauri and thesaurus‐enhanced search interfaces. The research reported here suggests that end‐users with varying levels of domain knowledge are able to use thesauri that are integrated into search interfaces. It also provides design implications for search interface developers as well as information professionals who are involved in teaching online searching.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 61 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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