This article combines two of my favorite library topics, collaboration and information seeking into one great piece, “Awareness in Collaborative Information Seeking.” The article by Chirag Shah and Gary Marchionini is still in the early view stages at Wiley. (Note that a subscription may be required to view the article.)
Abstract: Support for explicit collaboration in information-seeking activities is increasingly recognized as a desideratum for search systems. Several tools have emerged recently that help groups of people with the same information-seeking goals to work together. Many issues for these collaborative information-seeking (CIS) environments remain understudied. The authors identified awareness as one of these issues in CIS, and they presented a user study that involved 42 pairs of participants, who worked in collaboration over 2 sessions with 3 instances of the authors’ CIS system for exploratory search. They showed that while having awareness of personal actions and history is important for exploratory search tasks spanning multiple sessions, support for group awareness is even more significant for effective collaboration. In addition, they showed that support for such group awareness can be provided without compromising usability or introducing additional load on the users.