Archive for the 'Conferences' category

Post I wish I had time to write: Scientific meetings and motherhood

Feb 24 2015 Published by under Conferences, scholarly communication

I was reading Potnia's new post on meetings - why to go to them - and nodding my head vigorously (ouch) and connecting that to the part of the dissertation I'm writing now on tweeting meetings and the research over the years on how scientific meetings work and contribute...

and I got very sad. I'm a real extrovert and a magpie of all sorts of different kinds of research, but I can't justify spending my limited time reading articles that aren't pretty directly relevant to my job or my dissertation. When I went to bunches of meetings, I could soak a million little tidbits up, meet the people doing the work, browse lots of posters and talk to their authors. It's really a very efficient way to see what's up with a field.

and now... I haven't been to a conference since I was in my first trimester with my twins :(   Sure, I've listened in to some webinars and followed some tweets. It's not enough.

Would childcare at a venue help?  I don't know... I'd still have to get them there, I'd have to trust the childcare (what if I got there and checked them out and didn't like what I saw?), and I'm paying for childcare at home even when I go and money is super tight now with my income being the only one in our household for more than a year.  I thought about bringing my sister along and then we could see the sights together outside of hours. My work would pay my travel and my room and so I'd just have to pay her travel and everyone's food. But I can't really even swing that right now....


So yeah... at least there's twitter. The post I'd like to write actually cites references and what not.

And I'm only the 10 millionth person to have this issue this year so I  know I'm not a special snowflake but that doesn't mean I can't still bitch about it.

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ASIST2012: Metrics 2012

Oct 31 2012 Published by under bibliometrics, Conferences

I attended two days of the ASIST annual meeting. I'm actually quite bummed because I was sure I wasn't going to get to any conferences for a long time because of the twins, but this one was local so I thought I could go. Unfortunately, the superstorm Sandy shut down daycare and also caused Baltimore to shut the streets down :(   I did make it in for a workshop on Friday and most of the day on Sunday. Lesson learned - ASIST is more than happy to arrange a room for any mothers who need to pump, but you do need to ask in advance.

Metrics 2012: Symposium on Informetric and Scientometric Research

This is the second time this was held. It's a nice small group that discusses works in progress and recently completed work.

Kate McCain presented on "Assessing obliteration by incorporation" - I've been trying to remember the name for this phenomenon. This is when some concept becomes so ingrained in the field the original article is no longer cited - there's no citation for when the concept is mentioned. A similar idea is "palimpsestic syndrome" - that's when a newer article or review article is cited for a concept instead of the original source because that's where the person read about it and they're unaware of the originator of the idea. The way to find bibliometric evidence is to look for noun phrases with references. In the past this has been done 3 ways:

  • using only the metadata and citations from WoS (record level searching)
  • using the metadata and citations but then pulling the f/t and reviewing that (record level searching and text analysis)
  • now using the f/t

The problem with the first two ways is that you miss a lot of things that use the concept but not in the metadata, only somewhere down in the full text.  She looked for "bounded rationality" using JSTOR's collection - Drexel's subscription. This is somewhat limiting because they only have some JSTOR collections and the coverage of psychology is not good.

Dietmar Wolfram talked about journal similarity by incoming citing journal topicality. He did this for LIS because it annoys us all that the MIS and health informatics journals top the category in JCR - when they really maybe should be in another category. This seemed to work except for small journals or orphan journals (ones that are not cited).

Other things of interest:

  • lots of use of gephi
  • lots of student interest
  • open position at Drexel if anyone is interested

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ASIST2011: Post-Conference Symposium on Informetric and Scientometric Research

Oct 14 2011 Published by under Conferences

I attended almost all of this symposium – unfortunately, I had to leave at 2:45 to get to my flight. I guess it probably ended early anyway, because certainly two of the speakers in the last part didn’t show.

I wish I had a copy of the slides –maybe one will be provided later. The talks were mostly early summaries of work in progress, with little methodological detail.

Kate McCain provided additional detail on her location of the core journals in health informatics. Her analysis included picking out themes within health informatics.

Stasa Milojevic looked at the whole field of LIS from 1955- to look at citation and recitation practices.

Bei Wen talked about triangulating journal, paper, individual bibliometrics to better understand the field of water research… I found this incredibly confusing.

Kun Lu compared two methods of looking at author relatedness. He brought in information retrieval methods like vector space modeling and latent Dirichelet allocation. The problem with using ACA for author relatedness is when there aren’t a ton of citations to use. They found that the topic model worked fairly well – once again, difficult to get enough details from the presentation so hopefully an article will be forthcoming

Dangzhi Zhao extended her earlier work looking at all author co-citation analysis to look at author bibliographic coupling. Author selection is very important but once you do that, first/last/all author bib coupling is great for an overview.

Chaoqun Ni spoke very quickly about research diversity and intensity using LIS research.

Judit Bar-Ilan did a study of the tag bibliometrics in CiteULike and Mendeley. Seems like there are really some problems with getting good data from both of these services. She didn’t use the fairly new Mendeley API, but she found that some of the searches mentioned in the help didn’t work (I think the main one was searching for tag: ). The other thing is that she didn’t search on a journal or on free text nor did she expand the query to other related terms.

Jason Priem talked about his most recent work with Heather Piwowar and Brad Hemminger. The abstract has a lot more detail and is online here:


As for posters, Jason and Kaitlin Costello’s poster was already shared on read/write web so it probably had more mileage than anything else from this conference. It’s at

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ASIST2011: Miscellaneous sessions

Oct 14 2011 Published by under Conferences

I’m reconstructing these a couple of days later as I just wasn’t able to really live blog this conference.

Tenure and Promotion in the Age of Online Social Media

Anatoliy Gruzd presented.

This is certainly a question we all ask: to what extent and how does social media impact promotion and tenure? They surveyed and interviewed researchers at ASIST and AOIR about this. I tweeted some notes. Seems like a lot of people agree with me that it all depends and should be on a case by case basis. Some scholars are using their social media to talk about their work or popularize it whereas others are using it for personal reasons and would not want that information to count toward their tenure.

Analytic Potential of Scientific Data

Carole Palmer presented.

She talked about cataloging books for the potential uses; that is, asking what searches should this come up under? what information needs could this satisfy? For this she cited Hjorland in 1997, but clearly it wasn’t new when Soergel wrote about it in his 1985 book! Anyhoo, her point was that data should be cataloged this same way. Librarians can work with data producers and data consumers to get an idea of what other groups might find data useful.

Using Information Obtained through Informetrics to Address Practical Problems and Aid Decision-Making

I have my own answers to the above, clearly, because in my day job I do apply informetrics to real world issues (and not promotion and tenure!). The speakers generally gave an overview of their recent work and some of that was for government or industry. Besides such things as evaluating institutions, groups, and individuals, they mentioned understanding the sub-areas of a field to design an academic program, evaluating journals for selection in a library, and looking for collaboration partners.


Personal Information Management (session)

The speaker everyone wanted to see – the one about duplication – wasn’t there :(  The second speaker just gave a tutorial on survey design. I have no idea how this made it through review when so few papers were selected. The third group of speakers had an interesting piece on the PIM of teachers. That should be useful for helping to design systems for them.

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ASIST2011: Our session & poster: Shaking it up and Shaken & Stirred

Oct 14 2011 Published by under Conferences

As mentioned earlier, Heather Piwowar rounded up a bunch of people to do a more innovative session on open science, new forms of scholarly communication, new research outputs, and new forms of metrics. The panel was first thing on Monday, 8am, and the poster was presented at 6:30pm that evening.

The group included: Heather, me, Alex Garnett (UVic), Kim Holmberg (Åbo Akademi), Jason Priem (UNC), and Nic Weber (UIUC).

We started with a neat exercise that Jason and Heather borrowed from a session they attended in Europe. We made a controversial statement, and then had people line themselves up along a continuum to make a histogram of where they stood on it. The moderator for this part, Jason, then asked people to volunteer their reasons for standing where they did. I took notes on these but they didn’t make it on to the poster.

Next, we each spoke for a few minutes on our topics. See the submission for a brief discussion of each of our talks. We provided a survey handout and also an online version and asked the audience to react to each of our talks.

The results from the two activities were reported out on our poster.

The companion site for the talk is at: . if you go there, you can see our slides, the description of the panel, and hopefully, we’ll soon have the poster up. We had tons of positive feedback on the poster even though it was hand-colored and hand-drawn :) One attendee said it was the best panel he ever attended at ASIST and he’s been going to ASIST for years.

The hashtag for the session was #infoshake


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ASIST2011: Metatheoretical Snowmen II

Oct 14 2011 Published by under Conferences

Starting out with a definition of metatheory

socio-cognitivism, cultural studies, ethnography, bibliometrics ….. (world view, paradigm… hm what others would call epistemologies? plus, I would argue bibliometrics and user-centered design are methodologies (and method) not epistemologies)

Introduction: central to our field is “what is information” and if you’re asked that in an interview say it depends on your metatheory. define yours and then you can define information. See Talja, Tuominen, Savolainen – ISMS in information science JDoc 2005.

5 panelists who will describe their metatheory in terms of a thought experiment regarding snowmen.

Furner – philosophical analytic – bleh. don’t get it… aboutness of the snowman, i guess.

Rieh – user-centered design – a la Norman… really a theory?

Olsson – critical studies (but perhaps post-modern?) – information is not neutral, who do we privilege, who do we exclude. Rabinow “no external position of certainty, no universal understanding that is beyond history and society”  (the winner)

Bates - evolutionary approach

Belkin – cognitivism

discussant – Andrew Dillon


In the end, I don’t think the snowman was a good way to describe these metatheories. I’m also still not sure what a metatheory is, but it looks a lot like an epistemology. I probably won’t go to the next one in this series.

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At ASIST 2011

Oct 11 2011 Published by under Conferences

I will be blogging the conference this year, but maybe with less coverage than some years for reasons I will probably describe soon.

I did not live blog the opening keynote because my computer had inadvertently turned itself on in transit and was very, very hot so I gave it a rest when I discovered that. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. There wasn’t anything new or thought provoking about it in my opinion. It was Tom Wilson, for whom I have a tremendous respect, but talking about preservation which is something he’s worked on a bit in retirement but which is not what he’s famous for. He talked about how well stone carvings, wood inscriptions, and other physical media have lasted. He then talked about the quantities of digital information and emulation vs. migration… all stuff you’ll see in any introduction to the subject.


I missed some of the first session, but came in on the discussion of Social Voting (which was about Amazon and IMDB) and then the discussion of Task Complexity (which wasn’t terribly generalizable because it seems like a lot was due to the fact that her participants were undergrads searching outside of their native language)

Technology Adoption and Use Theory Review for Studying Scientists’ Continued Use of Cyber-infrastructure

Youngseek Kim (with Kevin Crowston)

This is a review of 10 theories and creation of a framework (very cool, didn’t know this type of paper could get accepted here). They reviewed 600 papers from information science and related journals.

Cyber-infrastructure constellation of ICTs that support communication and data management for researchers

hpc, tools to support lifecycle of data, assemblage of diverse technologies

cyber infrastructures are adopted not really deployed (so not a cookie cutter, I think he’s saying

He then described what ICT adoption and use are (so these are the standard from lots of MIS and other studies).

They reviewed a lot of different adoption theories (like the standard ones TRA, TPB, TAM, UTAUT… etc) Most of the papers they found were about the adoption, and not post-adoption. TPB (theory planned behavior) did have some post adoption discussion (seems like Rogers talks about post adoption, too… but anyhoo)

(makes me feel good because i know all these theories :) yay Maryland and Dr. White)

Post adoption theories are new – ECT, expectation confirmation theory (Oliver, 1980)

Their model has small triangle for adoption within a larger continued use triangle… worth digging up the paper.

Audience questions – you can tell we’ve all read this literature, too!

My Q was about more social and network affects and this is something they intend to add in the future

Another question was about habit vs. ability to personalize/customize.

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Woo-hoo Shaking it up was accepted at ASIST

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Conferences

Our panel proposal described at: was accepted! Great feedback, too.

Our team rocks.

In sad news, my AAAS proposal with Bora, Marie-Claire, and Jason was not accepted - maybe next year.

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Shaking it Up: our ASIST 11 Submission

Jun 01 2011 Published by under Conferences, scholarly communication

A bunch of us answered Heather Piwowar’s call on Twitter to submit a panel for the annual meeting. Here’s the result:

Shaking it up: embracing new methods for publishing, finding, discussing, and measuring our research output

Alex Garnett, Heather Piwowar, Kim Holmberg, Jason Priem, Christina K. Pikas, and Nicholas Weber

There are a number of cool things about this session. First we’re going to have an ice breaker that gets people moving around an asserting opinions on the topic at hand. Second we’re going to have fast presentations from the panelists. Third, we’re going to have people fill out surveys and that will become part of a poster in a later session.

Should be fun, I hope the reviewers agree.

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scio11: wrap-up and intro

Jan 17 2011 Published by under Conferences

Well, typically I have a post in which I announce that I will be going to a conference. Once I’m at the conference and live blogging, I’ll note at the top of each post that I’m taking stream-of-consciousness notes. This time I just jumped in and never once mentioned any of that.

So I went to Science Online ‘11. This is my fifth one of these and I had been considering sitting this one out. I’m soooo glad I didn’t because this one was probably the best one ever. They’ve always been well run, and had interesting people talking about interesting things, but this was even more so.  Some of my favorite bloggers were missing, but I also met many new people. Also – the swag – typically some interesting things. This time 3 amazing books (including Greg’s on Mathematical Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering, which is perfect for MPOW and is going to become one of the very few print books we have on our shelves).

I took those notes – I’ll probably look them over to make sure there aren’t any things that desperately need cleaning up. The Drupal post does need fixing – apparently my computer went offline in the middle of posting and Live Writer has now overwritten my notes with the current post. Boo.

Some other thoughts:

  • the ebook session was really quite different than I expected. John did a phenomenal job and I couldn’t agree more with his points. Turns out that the writers and consumers of books in the audience really didn’t know much if anything about the ebook world as it is seen from the library world. All the DRM and the licensing and the different formats and the preservation issues as well as our frustration with these were all new. Also didn’t seem like the audience got that most ebooks are just another format – as if publishing would really be that different. I guess some are – like apps – but most are like audiobooks are to the print.
  • the network session was a bit disappointing. A rapid fire exchange among the panelists would have been fabulous. Everyone was so darn polite. After there was a decent intro, there was only time for like 2-3 questions. My question – about diversity – was completely ignored. I guess I understand why, but still disappointing. If anything, I thought the session would be rowdy.
  • taping the sessions and having participants skype in was probably a mistake. the point of a conference – and not a webinar or video conference – is to get the most out of the spark between the people in the same room. Rapid fire discussion, with great ideas and questions coming from anywhere in the room. I’ve had the benefit of watching conferences from my desk and I really appreciate the opportunity. It’s definitely a good thing to broadcast sessions. Some how, we need to find a way to do that such that the people in the room in an unconference aren’t stifled.
  • a famous blogger tried (unsuccessfully) to pick a fight – seems that person doesn’t like British people, because that’s the only thing in common with the last fight I saw this blogger pick. It does take two to get into a big fight as well as people cheering from the sidelines  - so that didn’t happen
  • on the British note – lots more representation from that country and it was great!
  • I also very much enjoyed having folks trained in social studies of science and information science/bibliometrics and who knew the lit much better than I. I learned stuff!
  • Sciseeker has a lot of promise – I think it will develop into something really useful.
  • the opening keynote by Krulwich was amazing. I love RadioLab – I catch it whenever I can. I guess it was new to many in the audience – that’s surprising.
  • Finally, but most importantly, Heather gave me a big pep talk about my dissertation and I see from this conference that there is still more to learn about scientists and social computing technologies. So I’m going to get back to work. And then she’s going to buy me a beer :)

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