Collaboration is often required or encouraged for activities that are too complex or difficult to deal with for an individual . Many situations involving information seeking also call for people working together. Twidale and Nichols  argued that introducing support for collaboration into information retrieval systems would help users to learn and use the systems more effectively. Morris  showed, from a survey of 204 knowledge workers, that the majority of them wanted to collaborate.
Despite its natural appeal and situational necessity, collaborative information seeking (CIS) is an understudied domain. The nature of the available information and its role in our lives have changed significantly, but the methods and tools that are used to access and share that information in collaboration have remained largely unaltered. Shah  argued that our understanding of how people work in collaboration on information intensive projects, and the tools that support such activities are inadequate.
Within the CSCW community, the area of collaborative information seeking/retrieval/behavior (CIS/CIR/CIB) has drawn a new stream of interest to it in the recent years. This has been possible due to involvement and initiatives of several prominent researchers from various fields, such as IR, HCI, LIS, and CSCW. This workshop is aimed to take these efforts to the next level by focusing on theories and models that are grounded in the literature and existing empirical studies, as well as applications and tools that help us advance the field further. We are interested in bringing together a group of researchers working on various conceptual and technical aspects of CIS for addressing a wide range of challenges in the field.
We envision addressing the following objectives in the workshop:
Identify and discuss theories and models from various fields that help us understand and evaluate different aspects of CIS processes.
Demonstrate or review existing CIS systems, and discuss design sketches for the future tools.
Share ideas about current and future applications of CIS, and how the theories and systems discussed before could help us in facilitating those situations.
In general, we want to keep the workshop lively with discussions, where the participants will be encouraged to share not only their own research, but also review relevant work from other researchers and venues.
We are seeking participants from academia and industry who are conducting research in CIS/CIR/CIB. This includes conceptual and technical research on collaborative information seeking, search, retrieval, and sensemaking. Any work related to one of the themes of the workshop is relevant. You can submit work-in-progress or even an earlier published work. This workshop will provide an excellent opportunity to seek valuable feedback from your fellow researchers and start or strengthen collaborative endeavors.
Workshop position papers should be two to four pages long in ACM format. Please email .pdf or .doc versions to Chirag Shah by 5:00pm PST on September 30, 2010.
Participants whose papers are accepted will need to prepare a 10-minute presentation. The presentation should include important research questions that remain unanswered, where they see the research headed in the next few years, and their personal research agenda in this area.
Dr. Chirag Shah is an assistant professor in the School of Communication & Information (SC&I) at Rutgers University. He has been actively involved in research related to collaborative information seeking, leading to his PhD dissertation at UNC Chapel Hill on “A Framework to Support User-Centric Collaborative Information Seeking.” With Jeremy Pickens and Gene Golovchinsky at FXPAL, he won the best paper award at ACM SIGIR 2008 conference, with a paper on algorithmically mediated collaborative information retrieval. He is interested in developing new models and systems for supporting CIS in online information seeking environments.
Dr. Madhu Reddy is an associate professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. He has been conducting research in the area of collaborative information behavior for the past 10 years and has published this research in various conferences and journals. He is particularly interested in understanding how people work together to find needed information through field research in healthcare settings as well as through the development of technical prototypes.
Dr. Michael Twidale is a professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include computer supported cooperative work, computer supported collaborative learning, human computer interaction, information visualization, and museum informatics. His 1997 paper “Browsing is a collaborative process” was one of the first to consider in depth various collaborative aspects of information seeking. His research approach involves the use of interdisciplinary techniques to develop high-speed low cost methods to better understand the way people learn, struggle, cope, combine and innovate with computer applications.