Spring 2015 Talk Schedule

Exploring the Content, Structure, and Credibility of Online Reviews of Credence Services

May 5
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Kate Stewart, Associate Professor & Academic Director of the MSB/IS program, R.H.Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Exploring the Content, Structure, and Credibility of Online Reviews of Credence Services (Shannon Lantzy, Katherine Stewart, and Rebecca Hamilton)

Stewart-20Oct14-10Abstract: By definition, it is difficult or impossible for customers to evaluate credence services, yet consumers frequently post online reviews of credence service providers such as doctors and mechanics. What do they write in these reviews? We code real reviews of credence providers and experience providers (e.g., hair stylists and landscapers) for both content (what service attributes are discussed) and structure (what components of arguments are included). We find that credence and experience service reviews systematically differ in both content and structure. How do these differences influence consumers’ perceptions? We conduct a series of experiments manipulating the content and structure of reviews across credence and experience service providers. We find that the perceived credibility of reviews is sensitive to differences in content (discussion of credence vs. experience attributes) and structure (supported vs. unsupported claims). Consumers rationally discount the credibility of simple credence claims in a review, but more complex argument structure and the inclusion of experience data attenuate this effect.


Human Computation and Convergence

Apr. 28
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Pietro Michelucci, Executive Director, Human Computation Institute

Abstract: Humans are the most effective integrators and producers of information, directly and through the use of information-processing inventions. As these inventions become increasingly sophisticated, the substantive role of humans in processing information will tend toward capabilities that derive from our most complex cognitive processes, e.g., abstraction, creativity, and applied world knowledge. Through the advancement of human computation – methods that leverage the respective strengths of humans and machines in distributed information-processing systems – formerly discrete processes will combine synergistically into increasingly integrated and complex information processing systems. These new, collective systems will exhibit an unprecedented degree of predictive accuracy in modeling physical and techno-social processes, and may ultimately coalesce into a single unified predictive organism, with the capacity to address societies most wicked problems and achieve planetary homeostasis.

Bio: Pietro Michelucci directs the Human Computation Institute, a multidisciplinary innovation center that leverages the science of scalable, crowd-powered systems to address wicked societal problems. He is Editor-in-Chief of the 2013 Springer Handbook of Human Computation and Founding Editor of the journal Human Computation. An Indiana University trained cognitive scientist, Dr. Michelucci has pioneered such areas as Organismic Computing and Massively Distributed Problem Solving.  He has been advising federal research agencies since 2006 and continues to serve and bridge communities through cross-agency initiatives, talks, and workshops. In 2014, he led a CRA-sponsored visioning activity at the Wilson Center, which produced a national roadmap for Human Computation research.  He is currently spearheading two human computation initiatives: a crowd-powered research accelerator for Alzheimer Disease and a participatory solution for Electronic Health Record interoperability.


Computationally Recognizing Creativity: Intelligent tools for innovation workers

Mar. 31
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Kazjon Grace, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Creative work has been reshaped by the emergence of the digital world, reinventing the practice of fields both technical and artistic. What has remained largely unchanged, however, is the locus of creativity within such practice: designers bear the responsibility for ideation and innovation while the tools they use help represent, communicate and simulate their designs. My work explores how machine learning techniques could transform that relationship to one where creativity was shared between user and tool.  In this talk I will discuss the analytical methods that help us to recognize which designs disrupt domain expectations and may therefore be creative. I will also discuss the implications of those methods for the design of intelligent tools that can identify, critique and generate creative artefacts.


Combat Librarian: Knowledge Management at the End of the Iraq War

Mar. 10
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Caryn Anderson, The iSchool at Illinois, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

caryncuCaryn Anderson directed the “Knowledge Management (KM) Transition” in Iraq from 2010-2012. The KM Transition was a joint Department of State (DOS) and Department of Defense (DOD) effort to ensure that the intelligence, relationships, capacity building, and reconstruction developed by the United States Government (USG) over eight years in Iraq could continue to be leveraged by the U.S. diplomatic mission after the departure of the U.S. military in December 2011. This talk provides a general description of that effort, which involved hundreds of individuals from over 80 USG units from dozens of agencies to address the transition of ~500 information sources and ~40 critical software applications. The talk will then narrow to discuss the successes and challenges of the knowledge management effort through a social informatics framework. Principles from the field of computer supported collaborative work and COL John R. Boyd’s military strategies provide additional insight. Analysis reveals that many of the challenges mirror the socio-technical interdependencies identified in other organizational settings and suggests that lessons learned from this extreme case can be used to inform KM practices of information professionals in non-combat environments. The analysis was recently presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).

In addition to Knowledge Management Coordinator, Caryn Anderson also served as an Information Resource Officer in both Iraq and Pakistan and provided knowledge management consulting to coalition transition teams in Afghanistan. Prior to service with the Department of State, she managed inter-disciplinary research integration for the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS) at The Australian National University in Canberra, and managed doctoral programs for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston. She is currently a doctoral student and research information specialist at the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is developing text mining methods to improve automated synthesis of published research to support evidence-based foreign policy in conflict environments.


Computational Journalism Research using Twitter in Maryland’s CLIP Lab

Feb. 24
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Doug Oard, Jimmy Lin, Yulu Wang, Tan Xu and Mossaab Bagdouri, University of Maryland

Abstract: In this talk we will describe three projects in the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing Laboratory (CLIP) that are developing capabilities that could be applied in computational journalism.  In the first project, the TREC Microblog Track, we have built the world’s most widely used information retrieval test collection for Twitter.  This collection is used to evaluate two tasks: (1) find tweets that are on the topic of some user-written query about a news event, and (2) among those relevant tweets, find those which provide new information.  Our second project takes as a starting point a news story and performs three tasks: (1) find tweets on the same topic as that news story, (2) among those relevant tweets, find those which provide new information, and (3) among those novel and relevant tweets, predict which relevant and novel; information will actually appear in the next news story on the same topic from the same news outlet.  Both of these projects support passive news gathering by watching the tweet stream.  In our third project, we also explore other ways of using Twitter to answer journalists’ questions.  That project begins with identifying who in Twitter is a journalist and what kind of questions that they answer; we will present our work to date on those questions.  These are ongoing projects, and we would welcome feedback and the opportunity to make connections to other research.


Modeling and Measuring Team Knowledge

Feb. 20
10 am – 11 am
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Alberto Espinosa, Emma Nordbäck, and Mark Clark, American University


Join us this Friday, February 20th from 10-11am in Hornbake 2116 for a CASCI conversation with Alberto Espinosa, Emma Nordbäck, and Mark Clark from American University who will be visiting to talk about their work with measuring and modeling the nature and structure of team knowledge. Alberto has worked on empirical studies of teams for several decades and has done some very interested work focused on understanding how team knowledge, coordination strategies, and technology interact to affect performance in both distributed and collocated teams. Conversation will include discussion of this work and the teams recent effort to create tools and techniques for more nuanced assessment and modeling of team knowledge in software development.


Building a Community of Change Agents : Project and Plans for the Lilead Fellows

Feb. 10
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: Ann Weeks, Jeff DiScala, Christie Kodama, University of Maryland, College of Information Studies
“The Lilead Fellows Program will create a network of activists—school library supervisors who will work together and with others in their districts to bring about change in schools and communities. ”

Join us to talk with Ann, Jeff, and Christie about their efforts to build a community of change agents.  They will describe the design and outcome of a recent workshop and community building activity as well as the long term plans (and anticipated challenges) for larger scale community building efforts.
While many of the CASCI talks are empirical and theory-oriented research presentation, this discussion provides us with an opportunity to think about the project we are working on and the concepts from the CASCI reading group discussion might be useful (or not useful) for practical efforts to strengthen a specific community of professionals.


Organizing for ontological change: The kernel of an AIDS research infrastructure

Jan. 27
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: David Ribes, Assistant Professor, Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) Program at Georgetown University

Abstract: Is it possible to prepare and plan for emergent and changing objects of research? Members of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) have been investigating AIDS for over 30 years, and in that time, the disease has been repeatedly transformed. Over the years and across many changes, members have continued to study HIV disease while in the process regenerating an adaptable research organization. The key to sustaining this technoscientific flexibility has been the kernel of a research infrastructure: ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of resources and services that may be brought to bear in the investigation of new objects. In the case of the MACS, these are: specimens and data, calibrated instruments, heterogeneous experts, and participating cohorts of gay and bisexual men. This presentation will track three ontological transformations, examining how members prepared for and responded to changes: the discovery of a novel retroviral agent (HIV), the ability to test for that agent, and the transition of the disease from fatal to chronic through pharmaceutical intervention. Respectively, we call the work, technologies, and techniques of adapting to these changes, ‘repurposing’, ‘elaborating’, and ‘extending the kernel’.
The full paper is available here, with an STS audience in mind, and the CSCW version of this paper is available here, which has a more information-centered focus, and takes the kernel in a comparative direction.
Bio: David Ribes is assistant professor in the Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) Program at Georgetown University. He is a sociologist of science who focuses on the development and sustainability of research infrastructures (i.e., networked information technologies for the support of interdisciplinary science); their relation to long-term changes in the conduct of science; and, epistemic transformations in objects of research.  David has a degree in Sociology, but the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Information Studies are his first affiliations. His methods are ethnographic, archival and comparative. See davidribes.com for more.