Spring 2014 Talk Schedule

Our grief is unspeakable: Automatically measuring the community impact of a tragedy

May. 28
2 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
(Not an official CASCI talk)

Speaker:
Kimberly Glasgow, Doctoral Student at the iSchool

Abstract:
Social media offer a real-time, unfiltered view of how disasters affect communities. Crisis response, disaster mental health, and—more broadly—public health can benefit from automated analysis of the public’s mental state as exhibited on social media. Our focus is on Twitter data from a community that lost members in a mass shooting and another community—geographically removed from the shooting—that was indirectly exposed. We show that a common approach for understanding emotional response in text: Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) can be substantially improved using machine learning. Starting with tweets flagged by LIWC as containing content related to the issue of death, we devise a categorization scheme for death-related tweets to induce automatic text classification of such content. This improved methodology reveals striking differences in the magnitude and duration of increases in death-related talk between these communities. It also detects subtle shifts in the nature of death-related talk. Our results offer lessons for gauging public response and for developing interventions in the wake of a tragedy.

 

Organizational Timing Norms: Evidence From Email Time-to-Responses

May 13
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker:
David Kirsh, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Abstract:
In this paper, we explore a new construct, organizational timing norms, norms that govern the temporal dimension of organizational interactions. Building on theories of norm formation, we examine mechanisms such as reciprocity, learning, and uncertainty to answer questions about how organizational timing norms emerge, under what conditions do timing norms matter more, and do organizational timing norms guide the timing of specific behaviors. We answer these questions by exploring the communication patterns of email exchange and time-to-response of emails within an organization. Empirically, we analyze synchronization of email time-to- responses between organizational members and convergence to organizational mean time-to- responses among 41,168 replies made within an organization. Study 1 examines how organizational timing norms are endogenously generated and exogenously triggered. In Study 2, we reformulate our sample to model inboxes where reply priority decisions among sets of emails are made. We test how repliers adjust their priority in choosing which email to reply to in order to comply with timing norms.

 

Microfinance 101: Fundamental Concepts, Challenges, and Opportunities

Apr. 29
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker: Devendra Potnis, Assistant professor, School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Abstract: 
Access to finance is a pre-requisite condition for graduating over 2.5 billion poor out of poverty. Microfinance alleviates poverty by providing financial services to the poor who are not served by banks. The prefix micro highlights the distinct feature of these services: they involve small amounts of money, frequently less than $100. The unmet need of the poor for financial services spawned over 30,000 microfinance institutions (MFIs) across the world by 2012, but 90% of them are small with fewer than 10,000 clients.
Capital, cost, and capacity are the three major challenges faced by the MFIs to scale their operations. For instance, commercial capital investors in the West often force MFIs to charge high interest rates, threatening them to deviate from their social mission of serving the poor. However, recent advancements in information and communication technologies led to several innovative solutions for MFIs to partially address the major challenges. For instance, social media-based online microlending (e.g., Kiva) created a new alternative to commercial capital, where individuals from anywhere in the world can invest or donate as little as $25 to help the poor.
Community and information scholars can undertake research inquiries that involve microfinance stakeholders to make the existing business processes more effective and invent efficient business models that will help MFIs achieve the double bottom line of “doing well by doing good.”

 

Resilience and decision-making in a coastal socio-ecological system responding to sea-level rise

Apr. 15
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speakers:
Brian Needelman, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland
Michael Paolisso, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland
Katherine J. Johnson, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland

Abstract:
Coastal habitats and communities are facing degradation and increased vulnerability in the Mid-Atlantic region due to sea-level rise and other stressors. In this project, we are using the coastal peninsula of Deal Island, MD as a case study of a community with a strong coastal heritage that is facing ecological and social stresses from sea-level rise. We are using collaborative learning and integrated anthropological, economic, and ecological investigations to better understand and improve the resilience of this socio-ecological system. In this presentation, we will focus on the status and prospects of resilience in this socio-ecological system and how this is influenced by decision-making processes within the stakeholder community. We will discuss our preliminary findings and future plans including issues related to defining, measuring, and influencing resilience and decision-making. We are looking forward to the questions and comments of the CASCI group and are interested in exploring potential collaboration opportunities.

For more information on the Deal Island Peninsula Marsh and Community Project, please visit our project website at www.DealIslandMarshandCommunityProject.org

 

School District Governance, Knowledge-Fit, and Decision Rights: How School Districts Recruit and Hire School Librarians

Apr. 8
2 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker:
Jeffrey DiScala

Abstract:
In school district administration, principals are often given decision rights regarding recruiting and hiring school librarians. Research indicates those with the specific knowledge of school libraries at the administrative level, namely school library district supervisors, often are not consulted about these decisions.

Through comparative case studies of three to five school districts, this dissertation research will look at the decision-making processes concerning the recruiting and hiring of school librarians. It will use a theoretical lens based on research in IT governance that determines decision rights based on knowledge-fit. Data will be collected through interviews with principals, individuals in human resources, library supervisors, and school librarians.

Currently, data from a preliminary survey is being analyzed to determine how to group school districts based on the school district library supervisor’s participation in the recruiting and hiring process. Previous research by the Lilead Project at UMD indicates different levels of involvement, but not at the nuanced level required to group school districts and then choose districts as case studies representative of different groups (e.g. districts where the supervisor indicates no involvement in hiring, little involvement in hiring, some involvement, or complete control).

Contributions of the study include recommendations regarding the organizational structure surrounding recruiting and hiring decisions of school librarians, policy suggestions for more effective recruiting and hiring, and strategies to help library supervisors become more involved in the process as advocates and leaders for their school librarians.

Speaker Bio: Jeffrey DiScala is a Ph.D. candidate at the iSchool. He completed his MLS with a focus in school librarianship at the University of Maryland before becoming a middle school librarian in Prince George’s County. His research interests include the evolving role of the school librarian and school library programs; information, technology, and education policy and standards; and social media and technology in education. When he grows up he wants to be an apocalyptic fiction writer.