Information in Context: The Mobile Environment
People are ever busier, they need their information in bite size pieces, and as easily accessible as possible. The use of the mobile combined with the techniques of information access and retrieval can rejuvenate the publishers’ existing offerings as well as suggesting new ones. But mobile is not just about location and publishers cannot simply cut and paste content to fit a small device.
We use mobiles in all aspects of our life: work, culture, and leisure, and publishers need to be aware of users’ different orientation depending on their modes and context of use. Mobile search is different from pc-based web searching. We will discuss the distinctive nature of mobile search. The success of digital publishing in the mobile environment will depend considerably on the mobile content design and presentation but also on the search facilities and their effectiveness. All of these aspects depend on context.
Context information provides an important basis for identifying and understanding people’s information needs. Information is a key part of our lives. However, the amount of digital information available continues to grow at a geometric pace along with the increasing diversity of channels. To mitigate the effects of information overload, we need to create paths through the information space for users to navigate and manage their needs. The key enabler for this is to use context information. It is a challenge to make more information accessible whilst also ensuring it is relevant and useful for users’ needs.
Context includes aspects of the situation such as the location and can also include the task, the environment, the device, personal interests, and social aspects. Additional reasons for the importance of context include: timely delivery, better match to user expectations and experience, and better potential for linking with advertising. This was evident earlier in web personalization and is increasingly clear in the mobile information environment.
It is important to test developed applications on real users and not to only make theoretical assumptions. User studies are useful to test new products and methodologies and also for refining the research questions in the first place. There is a need, however, for realism in experiments. Examples from travel and tourism will be given.
The future depends on refining our understanding of what constitutes mobile and developing innovative applications.
Dr. Ayşe Göker is a senior academic at City University London. Her research since the early 90s has focused on developing novel search techniques and environments, with an emphasis on personalized and context-sensitive information retrieval and management systems. These occur particularly within mobile and wireless computing, and also in bibliographic and web environments. Her skills are in identifying user needs and developing innovative systems that meet them. On the teaching side, Ayşe has developed course modules in information systems at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels.
She has been successful on international collaborations, with designing innovative projects and managing teams to implement them. She co-proposed and was project leader for the AmbieSense EU-IST project, whilst at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. AmbieSense was a large project on ambient, personalised and context-sensitive information for travelers and tourists. Ayşe followed the project through as co-founder to establish AmbieSense as a company. Other research projects have been in adaptive information systems, image retrieval, and contextual information retrieval.
She has a BSc Honours in Computer Science and a PhD in Information Science from City University London. After her PhD she went as an academic to Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. Later she obtained a readership in Aberdeen, Scotland before returning to City.
She has published widely in information retrieval, adaptive systems, machine learning, mobile and pervasive/ubiquitous computing, and interactive systems. She is on the Editorial Board of JASIST, and has recently edited a book in Information Retrieval: Searching in the 21st Century, by Wiley, 2009. She holds a lifetime Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise. More recently she was selected for the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Entrepreneurship Development Program in Boston, USA. In her profession, she has been the Chair of the British Computer Society’s Specialist Group in Information Retrieval, BCS IRSG, (2000-2005). She became a finalist in the Blackberry Women & Technology Awards (2005) for Best woman in technology (Academia).