Educational Software for Teaching and Learning Information Retrieval

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Project Summary

This project addresses two related instructional problems: the difficulty which students encounter in trying to understand the basic underlying retrieval models; and the need for access to a body of existing resources or tools with which students can build systems and system components in order to implement these models. The goals of this project are to build upon, organize and distribute interactive software tools to improve instruction in the field of information retrieval:

  • To develop simulation and visualization tools which will aid students in information retrieval courses in the School of Information Sciences to understand the models underlying information retrieval systems;
  • To evaluate rigorously the usefulness of the developed tools in the context of teaching information retrieval;
  • To identify, organize and assess other interactive tools for instruction in information retrieval in order to provide an index of available tools;
  • To expand awareness in different departments and libraries of the University of Pittsburgh as well as in other universities and libraries of the resources developed and/or identified by the project.


The project is funded by University of Pittsburgh | Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence in 2003.


Information Retrieval

More information


Jae-wook Ahn


  • Brusilovsky, P. (2002) Web-based Interactive Visualization in an Information Retrieval Course, In: Barker, P. and Rebelsky, S. (eds.) Proceedings of ED-MEDIA'2002 - World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, Denver, CO, June 24-29, 2002, AACE, pp. 198-203.
  • Brusilovsky, P., Ahn, J.-w., and Rasmussen, E. (2010) Teaching Information Retrieval with Web-based Interactive Visualization. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 51 (3), 187-200.