University libraries and WWW image search
Paul.Nieuwenhuysen @ vub.ac.be B-1050 Brussel BELGIUM
Introduction: Problem statement: Methods:
Academic information can be found How useful and efficient is WWW The test subject domain is one in
and accessed increasingly image searching nowadays to which images are important:
through the WWW, while discover information sources, classical, ethnic African art.
information in physical besides other discovery services Queries were submitted to public
documents and library services offered by academic libraries? access WWW image search
remain important. More concretely: engines and for each query the
One of the functions of academic 1. How high is the precision of 20 individual results that were
librarians has become results from search systems with ranked highest have been
evaluating, selecting, offering reasonable queries? evaluated quantitatively.
and recommending information 2. Is the danger of misinformation For each search, the scoring method
discovery services on the WWW an issue (beyond the presence of leads to a positive score related
to their clients. neutral irrelevant search results to precision between 0 and 20
Searching for images on the WWW that lower the precision)? and to a negative score related
has become an attractive 3. Does WWW image searching to misinformation between 0 and
starting point to find relevant reveal specific html documents minus 20.
information sources, in with images, which have been Data were collected, analyzed and
particular in fields where visual placed on an academic library plotted, using a spreadsheet
information is relatively WWW site by the program on computer.
important besides textual investigator/author?
Results: Conclusions &
1. Most positive scores related to retrieval precision were much lower than recommendations:
the ideal maximum, even though the queries contained very specific words 1. Information retrieval from the
and names as formulated by a user familiar with the subject domain, and WWW through image searching is
the query syntax was simple and correct. attractive, simple and fast, but
far from perfect.
Image searching deserves a
place in the offerings of
academic libraries and in
particular in those domains
J J where visual information is
2. Misinformation in WWW
searching cannot be neglected.
Therefore libraries should
include this problem in their
efforts to increase the level of
information literacy of their
3. Libraries can create digital
information sources and the
chance that these can be
retrieved with current general
2. Beyond irrelevant, neutral results that lower the precision of a search, a WWW search engines is high.
significant number of search results may even mislead users who are Of course they should pay
unfamiliar with the selected subject domain. attention to those aspects of
3. WWW image searching functioned well for specific HTML documents with their procedures that influence
images, which have been placed on an academic library WWW site by the the chance that the information
investigator / author. source is found through WWW
searching and more particularly
through image searching.
Partly published in P. Nieuwenhuysen
WWW image searching delivers high precision and no misinformation: reality or ideal?
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, Vol. 7, pp. 109-131. ISSN: On-line 1547-5867; CD 1547-5859; Print
1547-5840, peer reviewed journal,
available online free of charge from http://iisit.org/Vol7/IISITv7p109-131Nieuwenhuysen770.pdf
5th UNICA Scholarly Communication Seminar: « Find it, Get it, Use it, Store it » Lisboa/Lisbon, Portugal 2010-11