Archive for the 'Conferences' category

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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scio11: ebooks and the science community

Jan 16 2011 Published by under Conferences, publishing

Carl Zimmer, Tom Levenson, David Dobbs, John Dupuis

cz: ebooks have been discussed for a long time (like 25 years) – but we’ve been able to ignore them. There was a push in the net bubble, but now they’re back. Compare the growth graph to the more typical “sad gentle decline.” In the early days there was a lot of marketing about replacing a whole shelf of encyclopedia volumes with a cd-rom.

One model is to self-publish on Amazon.

cz also covers formats – like print or like an app. The example app has a lot of bells and whistles and moving things – pretty distracting.

tl: original Gutenberg. only about 10k books in Europe prior to the printing press, by the end of this period there were 10M. The rise of authors and the invention of copyright (UK), 1710.

dd: contracts and stuff

jd: how long did it take him to spend $10k on ebooks – one year – until Safari was available. He spends about 100k/year on ebooks, mostly in science and engineering. Publishers and authors don’t like this. They don’t like libraries because we make it so our patrons don’t have to buy their books. What is the ebook business model? Will it go like the music industry? Probably. People will still pay for books/content, but it will be more of an itunes model. He talks to publishers a lot and he tells them that the libraries are the last people standing who are willing to pay real money for high quality content. For these new content types – like apps. How can we share them? How long will they last? He’s interested in DRM – locking down content so people can’t do what they want with it. “I’m happy to pay. Think of libraries as the last people who are happy to pay.”

From the audience:

“we can control this market” (um, no. heh.) “work with a good designer but don’t let them drive the bus” (makes sense).

all of the different formats coming out at the same time, any apps should integrate with the other formats (in her opinion).

jd: the app is so seductive from the publishers point of view because they can monetize every reading transaction (he [and I] hates that). But think of the life of the app. Think of all of the platforms.

the textbook market has the expertise that would be needed for creating these high production apps.

what do editors do in this model? (they same thing they did in other times)

there’s the question about updating the app if there’s a correction or update. also do you lose your bookmarks, etc.

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scio11: blogging in the academy

Jan 16 2011 Published by under Conferences

Isis and Tom Levenson

If you’re in the academy should you blog. If you blog, what should you expect. Tom is now on the promotion and tenure committee at work.

At R1s, blogging is neutral. It doesn’t help or hurt. It only causes an issue if it is displacing the other work that should be done. Do assume that everyone is reading it. You don’t know who will be asked to write letters for your tenure case – be careful who you insult.

Isis started blogging when she came to her current institution. She talked to her boss and he basically said this isn’t a replacement for the job we hired you to do, but if you can do it in your spare time, that’s fine. Her blog has been beneficial, but not in a way she would put on her CV.

Your blog is never the place to complain about your colleagues or students. It will get out and it is hurtful. Do vent about the process. Do not vent about the people.

People at Isis’ place of work know who she is and that she blogs, it’s just that she doesn’t want her blog to come up when her name is googled. She wants to keep her science separate from her blog. Maybe before tenure isn’t the best time to reinvent the culture, etc., in your workplace. Consider if you are where you should be in your career with the funding and publications you should have before you raise a fuss about blogging.

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scio11: blogging on the career path

Jan 16 2011 Published by under Conferences

Sheril Kirshenbaum, Janet D. Stemwedel, Greg Gbur and John Hawks

This post is somewhat real time, but less stream of consciousness. The members of the panel all had very positive results from blogging. They got new collaborations, the blogs helped their tenure case, speaking gigs at conferences, and book/column offers. Three of them were anonymous or at least didn’t tell their work about the blog initially. They didn’t try that hard to hide it and their bosses ended up being very supportive.

How to put a blog in a tenure package? Janet selected her best posts, printed them, and introduced them. For her institution, global reach is a goal so she did indicate that she had readers and commenters from other countries. Greg put in page views and links from other blogs.

John says to read the university’s mission statement, and use that to explain how what you’re doing online supports the mission of the university. You should show how you are connecting with the local community. Use your blog to build communities (scholarly communities in smaller areas) where there wouldn’t be otherwise. He also indicates that, although his blog isn’t all that popular, he has more hits than public outreach efforts intended for broad audiences. He put a chart showing the comparison in his package.

Question from the audience about being on the job hunt. He tested the water first by mentioning other chemistry blogs, and that didn’t go over well. Janet answered that there are crap blogs in every topic area, so that might be part of the problem. If you are doing a thorough job, and are doing a good job explaining things as you would explain them to students, then . From John: the job market is tough, and you’ll have a 95% chance of encountering an asshole. That person will hold many things against you, so you really can’t prepare. If you say right off this is what I do, then you won’t have put them in the position where they’ve already said they don’t get blogs. If your research record is not what they’re looking for, then there’s nothing blogs can do to help.

Greg points out that many departments are starting to encourage blogging as a recruiting and outreach tool. (my doc program has started a blog).

From the audience, Tom suggests efforts to understand the culture of your institution  - this was jumping off of a question about weighing teaching and outreach with research while job hunting. It really does depend on the institution and even department if the outreach stuff will be of interest.

From the audience, a university PR person said that they were trying to locate the bloggers. Please contact your communications office  - they’d like to meet you.

John does keep his new ideas from his research area off his blog. Things he has mentioned on his blog have ended up in other people’s grant applications. He writes more about adjacent areas. Greg includes his blogging as part of his broader impact discussion. Janet was invited to join a grant application because one of her posts was on a topic of interest.

The sum up was basically that if everything else is going well – you can bring in money, you are published, and everything else – then the blogging won’t help or hurt.

As to the question about blogging while actually at work, as long as you are getting your work done. Also if you’re doing a lot of work at home anyway, just blog when you can. There are some caveats: if you are making money or if you are very political, these are things that could cause conflicts at work.

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scio11: Fun with citations

Jan 15 2011 Published by under Conferences

Difficult to deal with references in an article, they’re locked up, so that prevents some discovery.

Martin Fenner – need to have a semantic meaning for citations

Melody Dye – citations fall under a Zipfian curve. we like to think how we cite is logical, but it’s often the principle of least effort (a la Zipf).

CiTO – citation typing ontology

Q need citations in context, how do you do that? (part of CiTO does that)

A need also where in the text, there is a semantic web solution for that.

A2 swan project from Harvard – semantically marking up Alzheimer papers

Q: why can’t a citation say I disagree with this knowledge claim, not I disagree with this paper  - needs to point to a specific section

Q: citations have this level of respect so they provide a grassroots way to endorse non-traditional products – some journals scream but others don’t.BUT when you do that, the aggregators rip those out (like WoS getting rid of dataset DOIs). What does Mendeley plan to do?

A: Mendeley hasn’t approached this yet. They took out the reference extraction part, but they are putting it back – but this won’t change anything that’s in the original document.

Q: WoS and Scopus aren’t transparent – about open bibliography – is there a way we can build this openly.

Q: open bibliography – does it really matter if it comes from a commercial entity

a: I need to be able to devise open algorithms for evaluation using the open bibliography.

a: the algorithms and the data should be separate

mendeley’s business model will be to free these semantically marked up data but charge for some of the analytics

q: in terms of sentiment – is there evidence that scientists will be as critical in something that goes somewhere. Sentiment always appears more positive than it really is.

a: (from me) have been attempts to do machine sentiment analysis

q: there’s no real comprehensive theory of citation (he talked through Nicolaisen’s review). lots of reasons to cite  - how can we account for this in the ontology

q: about students – teaching them the meanings of citations

a: from Bonnie Swoger teach examples and talk about citation best practices

q: comment about hassle with number citations

a: can just have mouseover of the citation

q: maybe this current system is the best possible compromise. in the beginning of the web there was the whole idea of negative links and stuff and it fell out

a: technical easy. move to adding structure to links. google has said we can look at rdfa. if there’s a payoff, people will do the work.

there are less than 40 semantic markups that could be used, the swan project is looking at these.

q: why do we need 1000 citation styles

a: the humanities folks fight that idea. but even in science – who can make that change?

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