The publication date for each issue of the journal seems to come round with increasing rapidity, causing panic as publication day nears. This was all the more evident in the case of this issue because of the ISIC papers that had to be included. On this occasion, members of the ISIC permanent committee helped out by vetting the html submitted by the authors and that certainly helped to reduce the workload in the final preparation. It may be tempting Providence to publish on the 15th December, when the World is due to end on the 21st (at least according to those who interpret the Mayan calendar as suggesting this), but I suspect that the Mayan calendar ends on that date, simple because the calendar makers figured that was far enough in advance to serve all practical purposes. So, I'll wish all readers and helpers a very Merry Christmas, fully believing that we shall all make it through to that date.

This issue

As noted above, this issue has the first tranche of papers from the ISIC conference held in Tokyo in September this year and there will be a further set of papers in the March issue. The range of topics dealt with is wide, as usual, ranging from Reijo Savolainen's exploration of the concept of information need, to Nalumaga's doctoral research on Information access and use by legislators in the Ugandan parliament. This was the first ISIC conference that I have not been able to attend in some long time - the last was that in Australia and even then, I appeared as a disembodied voice (courtesy of Skype) to answer questions after David Allen had delivered my paper. However, when one is 'retired' finding the resources to attend conferences in distant parts of the world becomes a problem. In 2014, I should be able to attend, as Leeds is only an hour's drive from my home in Sheffield.

What I have called the 'Regular papers' are six in number and begin with my own report on a recent survey of readers of the journal. The largest group of respondents were faculty members in the librarianship and information science field (32%) followed by library and information managers in practice (26%). Rather to my surprise only 3% of respondents were Masters' students - they account for about one third of the 'registered readers' of the journal and it is rather puzzling that such a small proportion have responded.

Next, an Anglo-Greek team report on image seeking in multilingual environments, noting that four 'contextual' factors appear to influence success in searching: these are, knowledge of language (which is only to be expected), query domain, search experience and knowledge of the system being used. They comment that system designers need to take these factors into account in designing systems.

Hea Lim Rhee explores the information seeking behaviour of historians and draws a number of conclusions from his research of relevance to archivists, librarians and system designers. In particular, he notes the preference of historians for browsing through search results, serendipitously discovering contextual information of value to them.

Many of us are probably accustomed to receiving e-mails from Amazon, or suggestions on its Web pages advising us of new books that may be of interest to us. Such systems are referred to as 'recommendation systems' which are underpinned by 'agents' that draw upon the information system's records of our behaviour in online shopping. These agents are the subjet of the paper by Ahn and Park, who, using an experimental shopping site, rather than an actual site, conclude that the designers of such agent systems need to take into account the user's existing level of expertise in the area.

In an original paper, drawing upon the communication model of Shannon and Weaver and incorporating other theoretical elements, Rodriguez and his colleagues from the University of Murcia, explore the ecosystem of information retrieval as a basis for the evaluation of information retrieval systems. They evolve the notion of 'balance' in a system: effectively the balance between the search strategies posed and the capability of the system to respond to those strategies. Thus, if inappropriate terms are adopted in a search, the system needs to be rebalanced in order to provide, for example, more thesaural links to aid retrieval.

Finally, in the 'regular papers', we have a report, again from Spain, on the development of multicultural library services in public libraries. Given the increasingly multicultural character of many European countries (something observed upon on the very day I am writing this, in reports on the output from the 2011 census in the UK) this is an interesting account of how at least some public library systems are seeking to serve the different communities.

As usual, we have a variety of book reviews on topics as diverse as information overload and avatars, trolls and puppets.


My usual thanks to the Associate Editors who help with seeing papers through the review process, the copy-editors who help authors to produce readable papers that observe the journal's Style Manual, and, by no means least, the referees who continue to support open access publishing by freely giving their time to the analysis of submissions. Thanks, too, to Pedro Diaz and José Vicente Rodriquez for the Spanish translation of the abstracts, which, on this occasion, was quite a task!

Professor Tom Wilson, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
December, 2012