Peter Ingwersen

Professor Emeritus, D. Ph., h.c.

■ Royal School of Library and Information Science,
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Adjunct Professor
■ Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark
■ Åbo University Academy, Turku, Finland

Information Retrieval Interaction, Taylor Graham, London, 1992
Scientometric Indicators and Webometrics—and the Polyrepresentation Principle in IR, ESS ESS Publications, Bangalore, 2012

research expertise


I carried out experimental research on cognitive aspects of task-based user-system interaction and served in several Esprit projects as expert consultant to the EU Commission. I participated in the three-year ESPRIT Long Term Research Workshop: MIRA on multimedia IR and evaluation. From 1996-2000 I was leading partner of the Centre for Informetric Studies (CIS), RSLIS. Together with the late Thomas Almind I instigated the research area of ‘Webometrics’ in 1997. Lately, I headed the TAPIR research group at RSLIS on text accessibility in interactive Information Retrieval as well as continuing the study of scientific communication patterns through citation analyses. I organized the 1992 ACM-SIGIR Conference in Denmark and served as its PC Chair twice. I am among the initiators of the CoLIS, IIIX and CHIIR Conferences.


full description

Until 1981 I participated in a research team at RSLIS that carried out research on indexing theory and cognitive aspects of information seeking and retrieval in public libraries involving ‘talking aloud’ methods and interactive investigations with actual users and librarians as intermediaries. During my stay at the European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy, my R&D activities were concerned with user-system interface improvements, the development of a new family of online support and retrieval tools, like the Zoom/RANK command facility, as well as systems management.


From 1984 my lines of research focus on three themes: Interactive Information Retrieval (IIR); Scientometrics and Webometrics; and Information Science theory. IIR is my main line of research throughout my career. It concerns studies of the relationships between the searcher of information in context of organizational, social and cultural factors and information (retrieval) systems such as libraries, scientific databases and lately web-based search engines, like Google. My research is based on cognitive approaches to information transfer, interaction and use, including interface issues, and I have developed task-based theories for IIR as well as empirical studies of scientific users’ search characteristics, interaction and relevance behavior. Together with Professor Kalervo Järvelin, Tampere University, Finland, I developed an internationally recognized research framework, including research design examples, for interactive IR and information seeking studies.

IR rock

Then, since the mid-1990s my research has concentrated more on the quantitative study of scientific information transfer, e.g. by means of publication patterns, citation analysis or download capture (Scientometrics), or the quantitative study of link structures, impact and graphs on the Web (Webometrics). This line of research Includes the evaluation of academic research output, by means of scientometric (or bibliometric) analyses of scientific publications, journals and web structures. In particular I am known for the initial investigating the properties of the so-called Web Impact Factor. I have subsequently conducted a range of research evaluation studies of various scientific fields as well as countries, most lately impact analyses on Renewable Energy (wind power and solar energy) research in EU, Spain and Germany – in collaboration with colleagues from University Carlos 3, Madrid, headed by Professor Elias Sans Casado.

South Africa

With respect to Information Science theory my main focus has been on development of and understanding the concepts of ‘information’ and ‘relevance’ seen from a user’s cognitive perspectives. These analyses bridges over to IIR. In my view Information Science theory also leads to a broader understanding of scientific communication patterns and thus associates to my third line of research on Scientometrics and Webometrics.

Among my published works are several research monographs on information retrieval interaction and research evaluation, as well as more than 170 peer reviewed journal, conference and book articles on information science, curriculum development, information systems design,Informetrics, including research evaluation, Scientometric and Webometric analyses and, in particular, on integrated cognitive approaches to interactive IR theory. In addition I have contributed articles on information science and retrieval to the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, USA, 1995 and 2010 and the International Encyclopedia of Communication, USA, 2010 and 2013. My first monograph, Information Retrieval Interaction, Taylor Graham, London, 1992, has sold more than 2000 copies worldwide and is also published in Japanese translation, 1995, as well as in Korean, 1998 and Persian, 2010. The original English version is available free on the web from 2002, and has been visited almost 20,000 times and cited more than 300 or 1100 times according to Web of Science and Google Scholar, respectively.


Together with Academy Professor Kalervo Järvelin, Tampere University, Finland, I published in 2005 by Springer my most recent research monograph: The Turn: Integration of Information Seeking and Retrieval in Context, which has been translated into Chinese by ISTIC, Beijing, 2007 and Japanese by Maruzen Publishers, 2008. This book is cited almost 300 or 1100 times according to Web of Science and Google Scholar, respectively.

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