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Department of Information Science and Telecommunications


INFSCI 2140 - Information Storage and Retrieval

(Spring 2001, CRN 43826)

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Course Objectives

  1. to understand the dimensions of the information retrieval "problem";
  2. to understand the functions of an information retrieval system;
  3. to analyse the components of an information retrieval system;
  4. to consider the factors which optimize the information retrieval process;
  5. to examine current issues in information retrieval
Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students will:

Assessment and Grading

Components of the Final Grade

Course assessment includes some assignments that will be offered through the course, two paper projects, a midterm exam, and a final (group) project. You final grade has three components: work over the duration of the course, midterm exam grade, and final project grade. Each of these components will be evaluated separately using 100pt extended Letter Grade scale (0-20 is F range, 20-40 is D range, 40-60 is C range, 60-80 is B range and 80-100 is A range). After that the final grade will be calculated as 40% course + 30% midterm + 30% final project.

Grade for the work over the duration of the course is a sum of your assignment grades, quiz grades, paper project grades, and activity points. Your progress will be measured as a percentage of the max possible points: (assessment_points + quiz_points + activity_points)/(max_assessment_points + max_quiz_points) * 100%. Using this formula you can always check where you are standing. Score < 50% corresponds to F, 50-62.5 is D range, 65.5-75 is C range, 75-87.5 is B range, and 87.5-100 is A range. The formula to convert this score to 100pt extended Letter Grade scale is (X-37.5)/12.5*20.

Activity Points

You can earn bonus "activity points" for several things such as asking a good question in a discussion forum, providing a helpful answer in a discussion forum, helping during the lecture, finding errors in slides and examples. Activity points will be added to your assessment/quiz results.

Submitting and Naming

All assignments has to be submitted in paper form on the due date before or after the lecture. In addition, the electronic version of the assigment has to be submitted electronically using CourseInfo systems at any time by or on the due date (your submissions are time stamped). Naming conditions for electronic submissions are strict. The link should be named assignment_X where X is assignment number. You will lose 1/2 point for every misnamed link. All submitted work should bear the number of the assignment/quiz and the author's name in printed form. You will lose 1/2 point for every solution that lacks this data. By submitting work under your name, you are indicating that you have completed the assignment.

Course Policies

Academic Integrity

You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted as in the course group project. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.


Class attendance, while not mandatory, is required if you want to succeed in this course. While about 3/4 of the material covered by the lectures could be found in the Course Book, some material is not sufficiently covered by the book. Finally, several lectures include demonstrations. If you have missed the lecture, make sure you have a copy of the slides. Spare copies can be picked up from a folder near the instructor's office or printed from the Web.

Late Submissions and Resubmissions

The due date for assignments is strict. For extreme circumstances you have 5 late days to use at your discretion (i.e. you may use them on a single assignment, or distribute them over several assignments). Outside of this limit late assignments will not be considered.


If you miss a quiz or and assignment, you will receive a zero. There will be no make-up quizzes or assignments. Missed exams can be made up in cases of extreme circumstances.

Office Hours

Office hours are an opportunity for you to clarify details you may have missed in class or to resolve a serious problem you have encountered when working on an assignment. They are not a place to get a "second run" of the lecture.

Special Considerations

If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, please, notify both the instructor and Disability Resources and Services by the second week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify Disability Resources and Services, call 64807890 (voice or TDD) to schedule and appointment. The office is located in the William Pitt Union, Room 216,

Course Schedule

Thursday January 4Lecture 1
Thursday January 11No class meeting
Thursday January 18Lecture 2
Thursday January 25Lecture 3
Thursday February 1Lecture 4
Thursday February 8Lecture 5
Thursday February 15Lecture 6
Thursday February 22Lecture 7
Thursday March 1Midterm exam
Thursday March 8Spring Recess
Thursday March 15Lecture 8
Thursday March 22Lecture 9
Thursday March 29Lecture 10
Thursday April 5Lecture 11
Thursday April 12Lecture 12
Thursday April 19Lecture 13
Thursday April 26Project Presentation

Copyright © 2001 Peter Brusilovsky