Information Science Brown Bag

Fall 2005 Schedule

Meeting Friday 12:00-1:00 PM in large conference room, at 301 College Ave

Date Presenter Title and Abstract
Sep 2 Geri Gay Mobility and Computing
Sep 9 Carl Lagoze - Senior Research Associate, Computing and Information Science Creating a contextualized learning environment: Current work in the National Science Digital Library Project

The NSDL (National Science Digital Library) Project, in which Cornell CIS is a key participant, has been funded by the US National Science Foundation to create a networked information environment that advances the state of science, mathematics, and engineering education. There is a body of research indicating that teachers and students require more than the well-known search-and-access information paradigm (in the manner of Google or conventional digital libraries). This research suggests that contextualization of information - indicating by whom and how it has been used - is essential for its educational relevance. We are therefore investigating, designing, and implementing information architecture based on the notion of a network overlay, whereby information resources can be inter-related, augmented, and enhanced.
This architecture builds on results from the semantic web community and the Fedora architecture, invented at Cornell. We are also investigating the use of innovative tools such as focused web crawling, automatic categorization, and blogs as means of populating this rich information infrastructure.

Sep 16 Naomi Dushay Visualization of Bibliographic Metadata to Promote Resource Discovery

User interfaces for digital information discovery often require users to click around and read a lot of text in order to find the text they want to read, a frustrating and tedious process. This is exacerbated further due to limitations on the amount of readable text that can be displayed on a computer screen. Believing information visualization techniques can improve the user experience of computer mediated information discovery, I will present a number of explorations and relate them to the traditional library context, to NSDL objectives and to broader metadata analysis and resource discovery objectives.

Naomi Dushay is a programmer/analyst for the National Science Digital Library. She has been working in library information technology since 1991, contributing to projects such as NCSTRL, Fedora, and the NSDL.

Sep 23 Bill Arms Social Science Research using the Web Lab

An Information Science seminar last semester described the building of the Web Lab, using data from the Internet Archive's 40-billion page collection of Web pages. The lab is being built in the Cornell Theory Center as part of the NSF-funded Petabyte Data Store.

The NSF has now awarded Cornell another large grant under its social science's Next Generations Cybertools program. This is a joint project between Sociology and CIS. The aim is build an intelligent front-end that will make the Internet Archive data broadly accessible to social scientists, and to develop, test, and refine these tools through a specific research application: the diffusion of innovation and beliefs. The importance of this work extends beyond pure research to practical applications for business and government, e.g., to identify market trends, the rise and fall of demand, and the spread of consumer opinion.

This brown bag discussion will emphasize the challenges in building bridges between social science research, and the methods of high performance computing and large-scale data mining. There are questions of human computing interaction, legal concerns, and experimental design. But above all there are the cultural
differences: the social sciences and computer science look on the world through very different eyes.
Sep 30 -- no brown bag meeting
Oct 7    
Oct 14 Cancelled
Oct 21 Tom Bruce, Director, Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School The Legal Information Institute is a leading free-to-air provider of legal information, Cornell's most heavily-trafficked Web site, and generator of an inexhaustable supply of research and engineering problems. The LII's goal is to increase public access to legal information and to increase public understanding of law, particularly in places that are not well served by current commercial services (that is, practically anywhere outside large law firms). We service that set of aspirations with research and engineering aimed at creating sophisticated, low-cost information publishing and discovery technologies.

I'll present a long wish-list of research questions and engineering projects, but focus closely on four that are of immediate interest to us, and hopefully to some of you: linkage and network structures in the United States Code, large body of (XML-encoded) legislation; machine-learning approaches to the extraction of legal citations; named-entity recognition as a means of relieving privacy concerns pertaining to legal records, court proceedings, and so on; and a grab-bag of projects related to improving the interaction of non-experts with expert information. There will be ample time for questions.
Oct 28 Tracy Mitrano Three Big Issues in Information Technologies: Digital Copyright: The Grokster Decision; Government Surveillance: Communications Assistance Law Enforcement Act; and Information Security
Nov 4    
Nov 11 Carol Minton Morris, communications director of the NSDL and an Information Science research associate New NSDL User Services: "On Ramp," an NSDL Content and Communications System and "Expert Voices," an NSDL Blogging Project


Since 2000 the National Science Foundation has awarded over 190 grants in the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) program.  NSDL is a free and open public resource that serves as a nexus for educators, researchers, policy makers and the public by building bridges:

--Between private sector and public interests by providing access to resources such as publishers' journal articles, teacher-created lesson plans and real-time data sets from scientists

--Between the scientific, research and educational communities by applying advanced technologies to stimulate new ways for educators and learners to access and use scientific information

--Between teachers and learners at all levels, in all locations by supplying content and tools in open-access, non-proprietary formats in an easily accessible online environment.

NSDL Core Integration is exposing the bi-directional flow between and among these stakeholders in an NSDL Information Network Overlay (INO) to provide organized access to user-contributed contextual information about resources and tools in the Library.

This bi-directional flow, the representation of primary resources from the underlying raw data layer and contextual information from the upper layer, allows the INO to evolve over time into an increasingly rich information space. In the same way that is an information source that extends far beyond a product catalog, we expect that digital libraries built on the INO model will reflect expanding communities of knowledge built over the resources in the library. [1]

Two services that will enable the exchange of all types of contextual documents from publications to workshop materials, combined with an intellectual commons for the nimble contribution, distribution, and dissemination of user-contributed dialog about resources are in development. "On Ramp," a content and communications management system, and "Expert Voices," a blogging project, will provide avenues for contribution and content-sharing that leverage the rich FEDORA architecture underlying the NSDL Data Repository (NDR).

Surveys, use case interviews, and prototype walk-throughs have informed design and early implementation phases for both services. Results and alpha versions of On Ramp and Expert Voices will be presented and discussed. 

[1] Lagoze, C., What is a Digital Library Anymore? Dlib Magazine, Nov. 2005

Nov 18 Phoebe Sengers Affective Presence

(Joint work with Kirsten Boehner, Geri Gay and Jofish Kaye)

Our emotions and moods play a central role in our everyday experiences, but until recently computing systems have been designed as though people were purely rational beings. Computers are designed to be efficient, task-oriented, rational, and productive,
and in the process we users are expected to be the same. In order
to design interfaces that more adequately engage the full range of human experience, many researchers are advocating affective computing, in which computers automatically sense, process, and respond to human emotions.

While inspired by this research, we are grappling with several difficult ethical, technical, and design issues it raises. Much current work in affective computing explores how computers can become aware of and reason about human emotional states without the
active participation or awareness of human users. Substantial
privacy concerns arise when computers measure and report on intimate data without usersí explicit awareness and consent. In addition, it is extremely challenging to accurately sense emotions, since experienced emotions are complex and elusive, influenced by many physiological, individual, and cultural factors that may not be available to computational sensors. Finally, the need to simplify emotions in order to computationally model them may lead to interfaces that simplify, formalize, and flatten our emotional experiences, rather than helping us to experience and reflect on our emotions in their full everyday richness.

For these reasons, we have been advocating an alternative approach in which computing is used, not to acquire and reason about userís emotional states, but rather to provide opportunities for users
themselves to experience and interpret their own emotions. Our
systems reflect perceived affect in open-ended ways that trigger user reflection by demanding active interpretation. By shifting the center of interpretation and reflection from the system to the user, we can minimize intrusive sensing, address emotions that computational systems alone cannot truly understand, and focus our design efforts not on formalizations of affect but on rich, complex, idiosyncratic, and enigmatic emotional experiences.

In this talk, I will describe ongoing projects that explore how to computationally support affective experience without reducing it to its formalizations.


Organizer: Gilly Leshed