University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) alumna Hilary Zelko (MSLS ’13) is the recipient of the 2013 Pratt-Severn Best Student Research Paper Award offered by the American Society of Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). Her master's paper, for which she also received a SILS "Distinguished Achievement Award" for best master's paper for the 2012/2013 academic year during the spring commencement ceremony, is titled “Reasoning about Relevance.”
“My paper was focused on the process of relevance assessment,” said Zelko. “It was fascinating to see how people develop relevance models based on a variety of different criteria which can change as they gather information and learn about a topic.”
As recipient of this competitive award, Zelko will receive a certificate, round-trip travel to Montreal, Canada in November 2013 for the annual ASIS&T conference and up to $500 paid registration. Her paper may also be submitted to the Journal of the Association for Information Science for publication.
"Hilary and her research are most deserving of this award," said Dr. Diane Kelly, associate professor at SILS. "Her research was about a classic topic in information science, relevance, that, to this day, still presents many research challenges. Hilary did an excellent job finding and describing past research on this topic, and using it to motivate her research. Hilary's research was ambitious, thorough and rigorous. She collected data from 36 participants, each of whom judged the relevance of 48 documents. These 36 participants made nearly 1500 'relevance' comments, all of which she analyzed for her research."
“It is incredibly exciting and a tremendous honor to receive this award!” Zelko said. “I am really looking forward to attending the conference and am especially excited to hear talks about mobile technologies and how they are impacting the way we organize, retrieve and interact with information. A big thanks goes to my advisor Dr. Diane Kelly who was the inspiration for this work!”
The award is intended to "encourage student research and writing in the area of information science." It was established in 1972 and since 1996 the award has been sponsored by the Pratt Institute, School of Information and Library Science, in honor of David Severn.
Zelko is currently working at Research Triangle International with a team of programmers and data managers as an IT project manager on a large public health survey.