Dr. Zhitomirsky-Geffet Maayan

Zhitomirsky-Geffet Maayan
502/4, Room 14
Office hours: 
By Appointment



Post-Doctoral Research Associate- Computer Science Dept. Bar-Ilan University, 2005-2006.
Research project in the area of Semantic Information Retrieval, funded by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Supervisor: Prof. Ido Dagan.

Ph.D.- Computer Science in the area of Computational Linguistics and Statistical Natural Language Processing, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 2006. 
Thesis: Refining the Distributional Similarity Scheme for Lexical Entailment
Prof. Ido Dagan, Computer Science Department, Bar-Ilan University,
Prof. Dror G. Feitelson, School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University

M.Sc.- Computer Science in the area of Information Retrieval, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Magna Cum Laude), 2000.
Thesis: Automatic Hierarchical Indexing and Document Classification
Supervisor: Prof. Dror G. Feitelson, School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University

B.Sc.- Computer Science, BA- Linguistics - Magna Cum Laude, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 1998.

Grants and Awards

2014-2015: Israeli Ministry of Agriculture (with Prof. Bar-Ilan)

2007-2011: Israeli Science Foundation (with Prof. Bar-Ilan and Prof. Snunith Shoham)

2005-2007: Israeli Ministry of Defense (with Prof. Ido Dagan)

2004-2005: Pascal European Network student award

2001-2004: Israeli Ministry of Science student scholarship

2000: Hebrew University Dean's award

1999: Chaim Ben-Noach student award

1995: Hebrew University Humanities student award

1995-1996: Israeli Ministry of Absorption sholarship


Work Experience

2012-present: Bar-Ilan University, Information Science Department

Assistant Professor

2006-2012: Bar-Ilan University, Information Science Department

Instructor-doctor teaching courses on: Ontology Construction and Semantic Web, Web sites construction, Databases and data organization, Searching in Digital Libraries, Introduction to Programming in C# , and Advanced Programming in C#.

2005-2006: The Open University
External Teacher in the Operating Systems course and UNIX laboratory, Computer Science Department

2003-2005: The Hebrew University in Jerusalem
External Teacher in the Information Retrieval course, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies

2004-2005, 2000-2001: Jerusalem College of Engineering
External Teacher in the Data Structures, Java Programming and Operating Systems courses and UNIX laboratory

2000-2004: The Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Teacher Assistant in the Programming Languages course, School of Engineering and Computer Science

1999-2001: Hadassah College of Engineering
External Teacher in the Operating Systems course and UNIX laboratory, Computer Science Department

1998-2000: Amdocs Israel Inc., Jerusalem
C and Java Programmer

1997-1998: Softel, subsidiary of IBM, Jerusalem
C/C and Perl Programmer

Referee for:
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Journal of Engineering and Computer Innovation
Information Technology Research Journal
Coling Internation Conference for Computational Linguistics


Contact Information

27 HaSharon st., apt.4

Personal Information

Marital Status: Married to Benjamin and mother to Elchanan, Yael, Rachel and Noam 
Languages: Hebrew, Russian, English.



  • Ontologies and Semantic Web
  • Crowdsourcing and its Applications for the Semantic Web
  • Digital Humanities
  • Social Networks
  • Information Retrieval on the Web and in Digital Libraries
  • Ontology Research
  • Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics


Ontologies and Semantic Web

Ontologies are the building blocks of the semantic web. They allow to add semantics to the data and resources on the web and define a shared knowledge representation for both humans and machines. I am particularly interested in designing new ontological models for controversial domains which convey different viewpoints of the users and experts on the domain of knowledge and can be applied at multi-viewpoint information retrieval. I am currently involved in several ongoing projects focusing on ontology modeling and construction in different fields, such as Israeli politics and Jewish cultural heritage, health and diet, and agriculture.  I also explore application of crowdsourcing technologies for ontology construction.


Natural Language Processing

The goal of natural language processing is to make the machine “understand” natural (human) language. This include applications such as automatic translation, text categorization and information extraction. Typically, such algorithms are based on statistical methods, machine learning and lexical-syntactic patterns. As part of my PhD dissertation I developed algorithms for automatic recognition of terms that semantically entail each other’s meaning. My recent project in this field is applying text categorization methods for automatic political profiling in various text genres.


Information Retrieval

Information retrieval includes several sub-fields of research, such as indexing, search, result ranking and query expansion. I am interested and have done research in all these fields. Thus, my MSc thesis was in the field of information retrieval where I developed a new algorithm for hierarchical indexing and document matching in bibliographic catalog. Then I studied the use of ontology for query expansion and retrieval enhancement of images in the domain of Jewish cultural heritage. Another work in the area of result ranking that proposed automatic mining of query subtopics from social tags. Currently, I explore the level of consistency over time in user ranking of the best search engines results.      


  1. Weinberger, M., M. Zhitomirsky-Geffet, andD. Bouhnik.(2017).Gender disparity in attitudes towards online privacy and anonymity among students in Israel. Information Research.

  2. Weinberger, M., D. Bouhnik and M. Zhitomirsky-Geffet. (2017). Factors Affecting Students’ Privacy Paradox and Privacy Protection Behavior. Open Information Science, 1(1), DeGruyter. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opis-2017-0002.

  3. Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. and Zadok A. (2017). Risk analysis and prediction in welfare institutions using a recommender system. AI & Society, Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-017-0735-2.

  4. Weinberger, M., Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., and D. Bouhnik. (2017). Factors affecting users' online privacy literacy among students in Israel. Online Information Review.

  5. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. (2017). Ontologies in Information Science and Approaches for their Construction. Meidaat (in Hebrew).

  6. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Bar-Ilan J., & Levene M. (2017). Analysis of change in users' assessment of search results over time. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST).

  7. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Bar-Ilan J., & Levene M. (2016). Testing the stability of “wisdom of crowds” judgments of search results over time and their similarity with the search engine rankings. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 68(4), 407-427.

  8. Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. & Blau, M. (2016). Cross-generational analysis of predictive factors of addictive behavior in smartphone usage. Computers in Human Behavior, 64, 682-693.

  9. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Bar-Ilan J., & Levene M. (2016). A Markov chain model for changes in users’ assessment of search results. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0155285. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155285

  10. David, E., Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Koppel M., & Uzan H. (2016). Utilizing Facebook pages of the political parties to automatically predict the political orientation of Facebook users. Online Information Review.

  11. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Erez E. S., &  Bar-Ilan J. (2016).  Towards multi-viewpoint ontology construction by collaboration of non-experts and crowdsourcing: the case of the effect of diet on health. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). DOI: 10.1002/asi.23686

  12. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., David, E., Koppel M., & Uzan H. (2016). Utilizing overtly political texts for fully automatic evaluation of political leaning of online news websites. Online Information Review, 40(3). 

  13. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. & Prebor G. (2016). Towards an ontopedia for historical Hebrew manuscripts. Frontiers in Digital Humanities, section of Digital Paleography and Book History, 3, 3. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fdigh.2016.00003.
  14. Zhitomirsky-Geffet  M. & Bratspiess Y. (2015). Professional information disclosure on social networks: The case of Facebook and LinkedIn in Israel. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), 67(3), 193-204.

  15. Zhitomirsky-Geffet  M. & Daya Y. (2015). Mining query subtopics from social tags, Information Research, 20(2), 1-15, 2015‏.

  16. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. & Bratspiess Y. (2015). Perceived effectiveness of social networks for job search, Libri, 65(2), 105-118, 2015.

  17. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Prebor G., & Bloch O. (2015). Improving proverb search and retrieval with a generic multi-dimensional ontology. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). DOI: 10.1002/asi.23573.

  18. Zhitomirsky-Geffet  M. and Judit Bar-Ilan. 2014. Towards maximal unification of semantically diverse ontologies for controversial domains. Aslib Journal of Information Management, special issue on semantic search. Ed. by Dirk Lewandowski and Fran Alexander, Vol. 66(5), pp. 494 – 518.

  19. Zhitomirsky-Geffet  M. and Eden S. Erez. 2014. Maximizing agreement on diverse ontologies with "wisdom of crowds" relation classification. Online Information Review Vol. 38(5), pp. 616 - 633.
  20. Zhitomirsky-Geffet  M. and Yigal Maman. 2014. "Wisdom of the crowds" and online information reliability: A case study of Israeli real estate websites. Online Information Review. Vol. 38(3), pp.417 – 435.
  21. Judit Bar-Ilan, Zhitomirsky-Geffet Maayan, Yitzhak Miller, and Snunith Shoham. 2012. “Tag-based Retrieval of Images through Different Interfaces - A User Study”. Online Information Review.
  22. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., J. Bar-Ilan, Y. Miller and S. Shoham. 2010. “A Generic Framework for Collaborative Multi-perspective Ontology Acquisition”. Online Information Review. Vol. 34(1), pp.145 - 159. 2010.
  23. Lili Kotlerman, Ido Dagan, Idan Szpektor and Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet. “Directional Distributional Similarity for Lexical Inference”. Special Issue of Natural Language Engineering on Distributional Lexical Semantics, Issue 4(16), pp. 359-389. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  24. Judit Bar-Ilan, Zhitomirsky-Geffet Maayan, Yitzhak Miller, and Snunith Shoham. “The effects of background information and social interaction on image tagging”. The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), 61(5), 940-951. 2010.
  25. Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. and I. Dagan. “Bootstrapping Distributional Feature Vector Quality”. Computational Linguistics Journal. Issue 3(35), pp. 313-343. 2009.
  26. Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M., E. Frachtenberg, Y. Wiseman, and D. G. Feitelson. “A Unified Strategy for Search and Result Representation for an Online Bibliographical Catalog”. Online Information Review, Issue 3(33), pp. 511-536. 2009.
  27. Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. (2009). What are words with similar meaning and how do they assist information retrieval?  The Israeli Journal of Information, Meidaat, 5, 59-69.
  28. Geffet M., Y. Wiseman and D. G. Feitelson. “Automatic Alphabet Recognition”. Kluwer Journal of Information Retrieval, Vol. 8(1), pp. 25-40, 2005.

Chapters in Books

  1. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., J. Bar-Ilan, Y. Miller and S. Shoham. 2012. “Exploring the effectiveness of folksonomy based tagging vs. free text tagging”. Book Chapter in 9. Indexing and Retrieval of Non-Text Information. Ed. by Rasmussen Neal, Diane. Series: Knowledge and Information / Studies in Information Science.




  1. Prebor G., Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., and Y. Miller. (2017, November). A Large-Scale Data-Driven Analysis of Censorship of Hebrew Manuscripts in Italy. ASIS&T digital library: Maryland US, Crystal City, Washington D.C., US.
  2. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. and Blau, M. (2017, March). Predictive factors of information seeking behavior of smartphone users from different generations. I-Conference 2017, Wuhan, China. 
  3. Weinberger M., Bouchnik D., Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. (2017, March). Predictors of Online Privacy Paradox Behavior among Students (poster). I-conference 2017, Wuhan, China.
  4. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Prebor G., & Feigeinboim A. (2016, July). Towards a cross-generation social network of the Jewish sages. Digital Humanities 2016 - The annual International conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), Krakow, Poland.
  5. Erez E.S., Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., & Bar-Ilan, J. (2015, November). Subjective vs. objective evaluation of ontological statements with crowdsourcing. Poster in Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science, St. Louise, MO, USA. ASIS&T digital library: Maryland, USA.
  6. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., Bar-Ilan J., & Levene, M. (2015, November). How and why do users change their assessment of search results over time? Poster in Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science, St. Louise, MO, USA. ASIS&T digital library: Maryland, USA.
  7. Prebor  G. & Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. (2015, July). Towards the ontopedia for Hebrew historical manuscripts. Digital Humanities 2015 - The annual International conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), Sydney, Australia.
  8. Uzan, H., David, E., Koppel M., & Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. (2015, January). Automatic political profiling in heterogeneous corpora.  In Proceedings of the ICAART Conference on Artificial Intelligence, (pp. 476-481), Lisbon, Portugal. SciTePress 2015.
  9. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M. & Erez E. S. (2014, July). Collaboratively maximizing inter-ontology agreement for controversial domains: a case study of Jewish cultural heritage. Digital Humanities 2014 - The annual International conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), Lausanne, Switzerland.
  10. Bar-Ilan, J., Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M., Miller, Y. and Shoham, S. “Tag cloud and ontology based retrieval of images”. In Proceedings of the Third Symposium of Information Interaction in Context (IIiX), 2010, pp. 85-94.
  11. Lili Kotlerman, Ido Dagan, Idan Szpektor and M. Zhitomirsky-Geffet. “Directional Distributional Similarity for Lexical Expansion”. In Proceedings of ACL-IJCNLP. Singapure. 2009.
  12. Zhitomirsky-Geffet M., J. Bar-Ilan, Y. Miller and S. Shoham. “A Generic Framework for Collaborative Multi-perspective Ontology Acquisition”. The 17th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2008). Beijing, China. 2008.
  13. S. Mirkin, I. Dagan and M. Geffet. “Integrating Pattern-based and Distributional Similarity Methods for Lexical Entailment Acquisition.” In Proceedings of the 3rd Joint COLING/ACL-06 Conference, pp. 107-114, Sydney, Australia. July, 2006.
  14. M. Geffet and I. Dagan. “Distributional Inclusion Hypotheses and Lexical Entailment”. In Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2005), pp. 107-114, Ann Arbor, Michigan. June, 2005.
  15. M. Geffet and I. Dagan. “Feature Vector Quality and Distributional Similarity”. In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (Coling 2004). pp. 247-253, Geneva, Switzerland. August, 2004.
  16. A. Prior and M. Geffet, “Mutual Information and Semantic Similarity as Predictors of Word Association Stength". In F. Schmalhofer, R. Young & G. Katz (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1st European Cognitive Science Conference (EuroCogSci-2003). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2003.
  17. Maayan Geffet, Yair Wiseman and Dror G. Feitelson, “Automatic
    Alphabet Recognition”, The 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (SCI 2002/ISAS 2002), pp. 122-128, Orlando, Florida, July 2002.
  18. Maayan Geffet and Dror G. Feitelson, “Hierarchical Indexing and
    Documents Matching in BoW”, In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2001), pp. 259-267,
    Roanoke, VA. June, 2001.



Department of Information Science,

Bar-Ilan University,

Ramat Gan, Israel




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Course no. 35-746: Seminar on Semantic Web Technologies

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Course no. 35-879: Introduction to the Semantic Web