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International award for Strathclyde Information Science Professor

View of John Anderson Campus from the north

An Information Science Professor at the University of Strathclyde has won an international award in recognition of his research into information retrieval.

Professor Ian Ruthven has been announced as the 2020 winner of the Tony Kent Strix Memorial Award by the UK electronic information Group (UKeiG). The award is presented annually for outstanding practical innovation or achievement in the field of information retrieval.

Professor Ruthven leads the Strathclyde Information School Research Group (SISRG), which operates across the boundaries between information and computer sciences and has established an international reputation for research excellence.

He met the award criteria in several categories, primarily: the advancement of understanding of information retrieval methods, experimentation and evaluation, at either theoretical or practical level; the provision of leadership in education, training, community development and/or collaboration to advance information retrieval at local, national or international level, and the development and management of systems, networks or services.

Professor Ruthven said: “Many of the previous recipients have been inspirations to my research and some very close personal colleagues. Keith van Rijsbergen was one of my PhD supervisors and I remember how touched he was to receive this award in 2004; now I know how he felt. I look forward to being able to deliver the Strix Memorial lecture next year.”

UKeiG Chair David Ball said: “The nominations this year were excellent, and the judging panel would like to thank everybody who submitted for their interest in this prestigious international award. There was unanimous agreement that Professor Ruthven's research has enormous potential for improving the quality of search and end-user satisfaction.

“His research on marginalised groups was particularly interesting. Information poverty, refugee integration, homeless people and young first-time mothers asking for information and support online, for example.”

Professor Ruthven was nominated for the award by his colleague in Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Dr David McMenemy.

Dr McMenemy said: “Since its inception, SISRG has become a popular and respected research team within the international research community. Professor Ruthven has contributed to its success by developing extensive national and international collaborations.

“His personal research is focused on the human experience of interacting with information, particularly on finding information. This involves understanding how people approach the task of seeking information, designing appropriate interactive search systems, and developing human-focused approaches for evaluating information systems.”

Professor Ruthven’s award has received international acclaim.

Professor Nick Belkin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Department of Library and Information Science of Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: “I believe that he is an exemplary recipient of this award. Professor Ruthven’s research on information need, interactive information searching behaviour, the design of interactive information retrieval systems and evaluation of interactive information retrieval has been groundbreaking and fundamental.”

The Tony Kent Strix Award commemorates Dr Tony Kent, a past Fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists, who died in 1997. It was inaugurated in 1998 by the Institute of Information Scientists and is now presented by UKeiG in partnership with the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK, the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG).