Chirag Shah


Associate Professor


Rutgers University School of Communication & Information



Graduation year:

"I couldn't be where I am without SILS."

At Rutgers, Chirag Shah (PhD ’10) directs the InfoSeeking Lab, as well as special interest groups on collaborative information seeking, social information seeking, and sensor-aware information seeking behavior.

His research interests include studies of interactive information seeking, especially in the context of online social networks and collaborations, contextual information mining, and applications of social media services for exploring critical socio-political issues. He served on the board of Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) as the Director of the Chapter Assembly and received the James M. Cretsos Leadership Award from ASIS&T.

Shah has published and talked extensively on topics related to social and collaborative information seeking, interactive information retrieval, and social media. He serves as a consultant to the United Nations Data Analytics on various Data Science projects involving social and political issues, peacekeeping, climate change, and energy. He has received best paper awards for his research from ACM SIGIR, JCDL, and ASIS&T SIG USE.

Shah received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Google to support his research in the spring of 2016. The IMLS 2016 National Leadership Grants for Libraries award is providing $491,973 for a three-year project titled “Online Q&A in STEM Education: Curating the Wisdom of the Crowd.” The project addresses the growing need for investigating people’s online question-answering (Q&A) behavior and the quality assessment method applied by experts to augment learning experiences of students, specifically in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. It will serve libraries and librarians, as well as students and educators in STEM classes.

Shah also received a Google Award worth $62,813 for a project titled "Predicting Search Behavior Using Physical and Online Explorations.” Shah had previously received awards and grants from the National Science Foundation and IMLS, including the IMLS Faculty Early Career Award, as well as from private organizations such as Amazon, Google, and Yahoo.

In addition to his PhD from SILS, he holds an MTech in computer science & engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, India and an MS in computer science from University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst.

"I couldn't be where I am without SILS," Shah said when asked how his time at UNC-Chapel Hill prepared him for a career of teaching and research. "My professional training was strengthened by courses and especially research activities at SILS. Courses such as the doctoral seminar, human-information organization, and the seminar on college teaching helped me shape my thinking and career for academia. I was also very fortunate to have worked with Gary Marchionini, Diane Kelly, and Jeffrey Pomerantz, among other prominent faculty, who not only supported my research, but also encouraged me to pursue it as a career."

For more about Shah and his research, visit