We are pleased to announce the publication of a new book by Dr. Ali Shiri, Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.


Powering Search: The Role of Thesauri in New Information Environments

By Ali Shiri


Published on behalf of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

by Information Today, Inc. (ASIS&T Monograph Series)


This book provides a comprehensive treatment of the role of thesauri in search user interfaces across a range of information search and retrieval systems—from bibliographic and full-text databases to digital libraries, portals, open archives, and content management systems. It takes a new approach to thesauri by examining, analyzing and synthesizing perspectives, projects, practices, and services from a variety of communities who share an interest in thesauri, including search behavior, usability studies, search user interfaces, information architecture, and interactive information retrieval. The book addresses and examines the ways in which information retrieval thesauri, with sophisticated semantic networks, have been and are currently being used in a wide variety of web-based search and browsing user interfaces. Furthermore, the book provides a detailed discussion of empirical evaluations as well as usability studies that have made use of thesauri by a broad range of users, from online search specialists, indexers, and catalogers to end-users.


Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Thesauri: Introduction and Recent Developments

Chapter 2: Thesauri in Interactive Information Retrieval

Chapter 3: User-centred Approach to the Evaluation of Thesauri: Query Formulation and Expansion

Chapter 4: Thesauri in Web-based Search Systems

Chapter 5: Thesaurus-based Search and Browsing Functionalities in New Thesaurus Construction Standards

Chapter 6: Design of Search User Interfaces for Thesauri

Chapter 7: Design of User Interfaces for Multilingual and Meta-thesauri

Chapter 8: User-centred Evaluation of Thesaurus-enhanced Search User Interfaces

Chapter 9: Guidelines for the Design of Thesaurus-enhanced Search User Interfaces

Chapter 10: Current Trends and Developments


"I'm really impressed! A unified vision of the enhancement of searching vocabulary throughout the current information technology world. Beautifully written, comprehensive, and revealing of the many possible uses of vocabulary enhancement in improving online searches." —Marcia J. Bates, editor, Understanding Information Retrieval Systems.

"A brilliant synthesis that explains how controlled vocabularies and thesauri can be integrated with search systems to dramatically improve findability and the overall user experience. ... a must read for all information architects!" —Peter Morville, co-author, Search Patterns: Design for Discovery.

"This book is a significant contribution to the information management literature. As a reference book it is extremely well documented; lots of examples; covers the latest developments and research. Will be a useful resource for user interface developers."—Marjorie M. K. Hlava,
president, Access Innovations, Inc.

"After 50 years of evolution the thesaurus remains a potent tool. With experience of relevant practice-oriented research, Ali Shiri's account of the design, use, and evaluation of thesauri for interactive and web-based search and browsing is useful and readable." —Alan Gilchrist,
Cura Consortium.


October 2012, 336 pp. hardbound/ISBN 978-1-57387-454-0

Available from, amongst other stockists,




Sophia Sherman, Office Administrator
School of Library and Information Studies
3-20 Rutherford South
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2J4
Phone: (780)492-4578, Fax: (780)492-2430
E-mail: [log in to unmask]


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