Living, Learning, and Business in Second Life

June 6, 2008 by

Randy Hinrichs is CEO of 2b3d, a virtual world company with offices in Second Life. He stopped by today to demonstrate the locales that they’ve built to help clients conduct business and do work online on Second Life.

We were treated to a tour of their office. Features included board rooms, employee training facilities and medical training facilities. These spots are augmented with communicative and training tools. For example, the board room includes slideshows, blackboards, and other live conferencing tools. Read the rest of this entry »


Building integrity for accountability in public information systems: Research from Africa and South Asia

May 30, 2008 by

Michael Hoyle, currently Project Manager and Lead Researcher at the International Records Management Trust. This is a London-based NGO which concerns itself with helping developing countries establish electronic records-keeping tools and wrestling with the obstacles that are related to this endeavor. Read the rest of this entry »

Growing a CyberSecurity Research Program within the Department of Energy

May 17, 2008 by

A late post from the week before. Also, I missed this last week’s conversation – apologies.

Deborah Finkle shared about the cyber security research program in the DOE here in Washington – how it is to run a research lab funded by the government and directed by their security concerns. Read the rest of this entry »

Public access to information and ICTs in different countries.

May 2, 2008 by

Rucha Ambikarare and Rebecca Sears from the Center for Information & Society are exploring the information needs in different countries. They report on the challenges of working with multiple research teams stationed globally and their initial findings. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Network effects on the popularity of Youtube videos

April 18, 2008 by

Anjana Susarla, from the School of Business at UW, is beginning to explore how social networks in Youtube (friends and subscribers) impact the rate in growth of “views” of freshly uploaded Youtube video. Read the rest of this entry »

On the iSchool undergraduate program at Syracuse University

April 4, 2008 by

Susan Bonzi, the director of the iSchool undergraduate program at Syracuse University, shared state of that program with us: its history, structure, and challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

Urban Archives

March 14, 2008 by

Giorgia Aiello and Tom Dobrowoky introduced us to a collection of media that captures the images, texts, and general experiences of public spaces in urban areas. Urban Archives houses a number of such student projects: a historical look at Aurora Avenue, an overnight report on Sunset Bowl, and an ethnography of two city bus lines (the 271 and the 7).

Our presenters shared the pedagogical utility of Urban Archives. By having (Communications?) students choose their own projects to contribute to the archive, the instructors showed them how to recognize their own interests as valid areas of academic inquiry. A student’s general interest in graffiti or a city district (e.g. the International District), under the coaching of the instructors, could be transformed into a valuable contribution to the Archive. Students discovered the resources that they had (finding insiders, etc…) and practice difficult tasks such as learning to write photo annotations that fit a descriptive genre. Photography for archival purposes, as another example, requires a particular mindset that is deliberate and reflexive. The photographer ought to be aware of context, a perspective that should be reflected in both the photos taken and the notes taken to accompany that photo.

The Urban Archive also acts as a bridge to the community. Giorgia and Tom relate how the community has often reconnected with the project: newspapers have reported on the site and artists of the archived works have contacted them (some with corrections to the annotations).

From an archival perspective, the project leaders, as editors, spoke of the future home for the Urban Archives: they want to contribute this to the larger University Library (I think). Quality of the photographs is another issue: the editors standards for a photograph require particular a particular resolution; this causes technical restrictions, for example, cellphone photography does not meet those standards. Meta-data and (quality) annotation is the major necessity that limits what materials enter the archive.

Electronic Piers Plowman: Implementing an Edition of a Six-Hundred-Year-Old-Poem for Twenty-First Century Students

March 8, 2008 by

Terry Brooks (iSchool) and Miceal Vaughan (UW Textual Studies) are collaborating on producing a digital version of Piers Plowman, a fourteenth century English poem that is the subject of textual studies and whose interpretation is taught to undergraduate and graduate students alike. The goal of the project is to make the variety of interpretations and versions of the poem digital accessible. Terry Brooks has developed and is refining an XML schema that is capable of encoding the different versions of the text and accompanying annonations to it.

In today’s talk, he presented the XML Schema as well as an XML editor that allows a scholar like Miceal Vaughan to add alternate versions of a word, write annotations, and, in essence, to create a master copy/archive of Piers Plowman in a digital format.

Note: [link to the Electronic Piers Plowman project page] Read the rest of this entry »

Online Conversations and Interventions for Long-Term Health Behavior Change

March 1, 2008 by

Michelle Garrison, PhD from the Child Health Institute, reported on the challenges of creating a system that helps patient effect behavior change. The institute is running a number of such projects. The current ones target asthmas information for parents and media choices for parents. Garrison presented two influential theories on the design of these persuasive systems, walked us through the system, and discussed some of the challenges.

The two theories that influenced the design of this system are “stages of change” and “social cognitive theory”. Read the rest of this entry »

Enriched Records for Art History Catalogues: Contributing and Retrieving

February 23, 2008 by

Gerald Benoit, Dept of Computer Science & Grad School of Library & Information Science
Simmons College

Gerald Benoit reported for us the rationale for a 3D-based interface for navigating the results from a search query of an Art History database of images. He reviewed other 3D interfaces, reported on the user-study of his own system (which, he admitted, was a rejection of their 3D approach), and discussed the test subjects interest in “ownership” of the catalogue and its meta-data. Read the rest of this entry »