I have had to prepare this issue of the journal somewhat ahead of time because I shall be on holiday when it is supposed to go 'live' on the 15th June. This may mean, unfortunately, that someone who hoped to get a paper into this issue may be disappointed—sorry about that; however, there's another issue coming along in September, so it is not long to wait. On the other hand, the papers have been going on to the site since March, which means that they have been picked up by the search engines and have been getting hits before publication date.

I've also been working on changing the template for papers from xhtml to HTML5. We've been waiting a long time for this version of html because the World Wide Web Consortium was hoping that html would be replaced by xml as the Web standard. I always though that this was a somewhat desperate hope, since preparing an xml document type definition is a time-consuming business and doing the coding for an xml document even more time-consuming. Eventually, a group of developers at the Opera browser company decided to go ahead with a revision of html4 and that was picked up by others and now W3C has embraced the standard (which, however, is not yet formally accepted—work continues). If you have an old browser, some of the formatting may not work: so download the latest version of your favourite; most of them now handle html5 tags perfectly happily.

It is often claimed that one of the advantages of html5 lies in its semantic tags, but, let us be clear, there are no semantic tags in html5. Those that are claimed to be 'semantic' include 'article', 'section', 'header', 'footer', 'nav', and 'aside'; but it will be evident to anyone who understands the meaning of 'semantic', i.e., indicating meaning, that these tags have nothing to do with what the symbols between the start and end tags are about. There is nothing in the 'article' tag that tells anyone what the article is about, nothing in the 'aside' tag to tell us what information content is there. Clearly, tags such as 'header' and 'footer' have no semantic content, they simply indicate the position on the page occupied by the information.

Where this notion of 'semantic tags' came from is rather bewildering, I can only put it down to the practice in computer science of picking up words of which the meaning is not understood and using them in a particular context: 'ontology' comes to mind in this respect—it doesn't mean what the computer scientists appear to assume it means. The word they are looking for is 'classification'. Similarly with 'semantic': I can imagine a bunch of developers sitting down and trying to figure out what to call these tags: "Well," says one, "they tell us what kind of information is found between the opening and closing tags/" "Ah," says another, "that's semantics, isn't it?" A general rumble of approval goes round the table and 'semantic' is accepted. Having served on hundreds of committees in my time, I'm sure that this is what happened.

There are also other oddities with html5: for example, we might expect that 'section' will be part of an 'article', but this isn't the case: most writing on html5 appears to take the blog as the model Web page and an 'article' in that context is a blog entry, which may be part of a specific 'section' of a page; or, an 'article' may have several 'sections'. All this is rather woolly when one tries to apply html5 in a sensible way to a journal, since tags like 'article' and 'section' have no well-defined usage in this particular context and, because, these tags can be styled using Cascading Style Sheets version 3, they are used, not to indicate any hierarchical structure of a page, but simply to modify the appearance of what appears between them. For example, in this issue of the journal, the 'section' tag is styled in two ways: first to narrow the line length to make it more easily readable and then to expand the line to set the reference list at the same line length.

A final oddity is that there does not seem to have been much in the way of collaboration between W3C and Dublin Core, since not all of the latter's meta tags are now used and instead of, for example, 'dc.creater', we have 'author'(which I think is an improvement) and other 'dc' tags must now be called 'dcterms'

The result of all this is that you won't see very much of an impact from the switch to html5, which is, indeed, just as I would wish.

A final point to announce is that all papers in the journal now have a new link to Google Scholar to determine how many citations it has had. I had previously used a method that worked, but Google seems to have changed things so that they no longer work, so I've changed all of the papers to the new method. I'd be interested to know how often this link is used by people, since it can be a very useful way of finding out about more recent literature on the same subject. One of these days I shall get round to an analysis of several years' output and find out just what kind of citations Google Scholar is discovering. It's a tedious business to compile a list of the citations and analyse them, but I did this for Volume 12 No. 1, which happened to have some of the ISIC conference papers in it. The fifteen papers had a total of 170 citations, ranging from 0 for a couple of papers to 40 for another. Self-citation accounted for 14% of the total. The most frequently occuring journal was Information Research with 22 citations, followed by ARIST with 6, and JASIST and Journal of Documentation with 5 each. In total, 54 journals were cited, along with 15 conference papers (6 of which were in Proceedings of ASIST). Nine citations were found in books (usually compilations of chapters, rather than monographs) and there were 8 citations from articles in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Thirteen citations were found in PhD theses, and there was a sprinking in unpublished papers and PowerPoint presentations. Publications were in nine languages: Chinese, English , Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. A sign of the times, perhaps, was that the most-frequent, non-English language, was Chinese, with a total of six papers. I'll need a lot of spare time on my hands to take on the task of expanding this to an entire volume!

Doing this little bit of analysis has reminded me to mention that I am perfectly happy for Information Research to be used as a research resource: just let me know what you want to do and acknowledge the help you receive.

This issue

We have a diverse issue on this occasion, as usual, from the point of view of both topic and geographical origin. The topics cover health information needs, environmental scanning, the motivations for information seeking, call centres, Website evaluation, public response to news reports, and competitive intelligence failures. The geographical origin of the authors include: Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA. Another bit of analysis I may do on some occasion is to extend this analysis to all volumes so far published: it will be interesting to see how things have changed since volume 1 number 1.

There is the usual crop of book reviews and on this occasion we have something of an embarrassment of riches for the field of information behaviour. Not only is there a new edition of Donald Case's Looking for information, but we also have two new monographs by leading researchers in the field: Charles Cole presents a theory of information need, and Raya Fidel 'an ecological approach to information behaviour' based on cognitive work analysis. All three of these are essential reading for students and researchers of human behaviour in relation to information.


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.

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