New Trends in Informatics Research - NTIR

May 2, 2008 The University at Albany | State University of New York

Poster Presenters


Yu-Hui Chen, Carol Anne Germain, Huahai Yang, Informatics

Web Usability in Academic Libraries: The Next Step


The advent of web technology significantly effected information organization and retrieval. The manner in which documents are arranged, labeled, and presented on the Web (the site's "information architecture") can have a major influence on how users effectively navigate Web sites and accurately access information. Past research recommends that implementation of proper usability guidelines/policies/standards (GPSs) contributes to user satisfaction and thus strongly affects a Web site's success.

The researchers collected data on usability GPSs, testing, staffing, and oversight from members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) with a survey instrument. The initial results indicate a strong agreement in the importance of Web usability; the data also reveals difficulties with developing, implementing, and maintaining GPSs; getting content-creators to follow GPSs; and the limited resources, including staffing, training, and time.


Yu-Hui Chen is a doctoral student in the Information Science Program. She is also the Bibliographer and Outreach Librarian for Education at the University at Albany. Her research interests include information organization, Human-Computer Interaction, Web usability, and user studies. She attended the 2007 Usability in Practice three-day workshop led by Jakob Nielsen, the world-renowned scholar on Web usability in Washington D.C. Since then she has been chairing the University at Albany Libraries’ Web Usability Committee.

Carol Anne Germain is the Networked Resources Education Librarian at the University at Albany . In this position, she teaches UNL 205 (the Libraries' credit-based information literacy course) and other course-related sessions; develops web-based instruction; and provides reference services at the University Library. Her research interests include the persistence of URLs in academic resources, Web usability and instruction. Her articles appear in the peer-reviewed journals, College & Research Libraries, portal, and the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Huahai Yang joined the Albany faculty on September 2003 after earning his doctoral degree in Information from School of Information, University of Michigan, with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. Previously, he obtained a master degree in human factors and engineering psychology from Chinese Academy of Sciences. He went to college in East China Normal University at Shanghai, China. Dr. Yang work and publish in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction, information retrieval, databases, and cognitive psychology.


Anna Arzrumtsyan, Informatics

Geographic Information Resources on the Web: toward an effective use in academia


This research proposal describes a pilot study focused on geographic information and knowledge needs of academicians at the State University of New York, the University at Albany. The information will be obtained through a pilot structured interview and online survey of professors from different schools and departments. Additional information will be collected from secondary data sources. It is hypothesized that faculty from different occupations have differing knowledge, need and use of Geographic Information Resources (GIResources) available on the web. This study aims to identify relationships between occupation and level of awareness and use of available GIResources for research, teaching and personal use. Additional hypotheses target the need for increased information and training sessions organized throughout the various schools and departments at the university. The aim is to raise awareness about Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities and increasing online resources available to help the teaching, research, as well as planning and decision making processes.


Anna Arzrumtsyan is a second year Ph.D. student at the College of Computing and Information, University at Albany. She completed her M.S. in Library and Information Sciences at St. John’s University, NY. Her research interests are in various applications of geographic information systems, including education and government.


Karen Trivette Cannell, Informatics

Spoils of War, Shapers of Policy: Archives as Cultural Heritage, the Case for an Internationally-Respected Protection Policy, and the Special Role for IT


Given the tragedies and failures in human history and current events, it is critical for humanity's survival and success to preserve its collective memory. Collective memory is knowledge that is gained through experience, constructed by society (in whole or in part), deemed historically valuable, and retained to be shared over time. Archives are the storehouses for collective memory. Archives are the materials created or received by an entity in the conduct of its affairs and preserved because of the enduring research, evidential, or informational value contained in the material. Archives serve as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of the materials' creator. To protect the world's archives is to preserve our collective memory, thus allowing us to learn from and hold ourselves accountable for our actions. This doable and critical endeavor is not being carried out in modern society. Indeed historically, archives tend to be the first, certainly the eventual casualties of armed conflict or spoils of war. George Orwell presented the gravity of the situation in 1984: "Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past...Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon." This poster discusses the crisis -- one that human beings continually create for themselves -- and possible solutions built upon existing agreements that are international in scope and information technology being used in analogous applications.


Karen Trivette Cannell is a first year PhD student in Informatics at the University at Albany-State University of New York with a primary specialization in Knowledge Organization and Management (KOM) and secondary specialization in Information, Government, and Democratic Society (IGDS). She is currently a member of the International Council on Archives, the Society of American Archivists, the New York Archives Conference, and the Capital Area Archivists (N.Y.). Her research interests includes archives and records management practices in francophone Africa, preserving archives and records at risk (especially due to armed conflict), and archives and records descriptive practices (especially as they relate to information representation). Karen has a B.A. in Art History from UNC-Chapel Hill (N.C.) and an M.L.S. with a concentration in Archives and Records Management from the University at Albany-State University of New York.


Mohammed Gharawi, Informatics

Issues and Challenges in Conducting Cross-National E- Government Comparative Research


The International Research Program in Cross-boundary Information Sharing is a program that focuses on building new knowledge about cross-boundary information sharing in an international context. However, there are a few barriers that may impede the success of this effort. The comparative nature is one of the most substantial barriers that should be constantly considered to ensure successful outcomes.

This research addresses the challenges that Cross-National E-government researchers encounter while conducting comparative research in this area. The research explores the literature of e-government and other related domains to figure out these challenges. Then, these challenges are used as a framework to analyze how researchers in the area have dealt with these challenges, and to what extent the quality might be affected by ignoring any of these challenges as they described in the literature of the related domains.


Mohammed Gharawi is a first year PhD student in the Information Science program at the University at Albany. His primary area of specialization is Information, Government, and Democratic Society (IGDS). He got his Master degree in the area of Computer Science in 2001 from the University of South Florida. Since that time, he has been working for the Institute of Public Administartion (IPA) in Saudi Arabia as a trainer and consultant for government agencies.

Currently, he is interested in understanding the impact and interactions that Information technology brings to government and the public sector. In addition, he is participating in a research project of Center for Technology in Government (CTG) in modeling cross-boundaries information sharing and integration. His future career objective is to continue working for the IPA as trainer and consultant when he obtains his degree.


Sherly E. Abraham, Informatics

Social Engineering Email Attack Strategies: Identifying an Overlooked Risk


Social engineering continues to be an increasing attack vector for the propagation of malicious programs via email. This poster investigates the major attack strategies employed by email worms that challenge current preventive and detective mechanisms. Malware incidents reported from 2000-2007 are analyzed. Our analysis shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of social engineering email incidents reported since 2000. The findings of our study show that the majority of social engineering email worms currently active were discovered back in 2004/2005. This testifies to the longstanding lack of basic protection on many computers. One of the fundamental concepts of security is to identify risk and mitigate its effects. The poster identifies a high risk group of Internet users, viz. residential broadband internet users. Organizations cannot neglect the tremendous threats that exist to their networks from compromised residential computers. The poster emphasizes the need for organizations, government and end users to work together to make the Internet a safer place.


Sherly Abraham is a first year PhD student in Informatics at the University at Albany with a primary specialization in IA (Information Assurance) and a secondary specialization in DAPS (Decision & Policy Sciences). Sherly Abraham is also working as a Telecommunications Administrator at the University at Albany. Her research interests includes: Organizational information security policies; Malware behavior and patterns; End user security technology adoptions. Sherly Abraham has a B.S in Computer Engineering from Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand and an M.S. in Telecommunications from SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica, NY.


Xiaowen Song, Informatics

The Resolution for the Problem of Lack of Transportation in Columbia-Greene County


The poster is about the problem of lack of transportation in Columbia-Greene County. The responsibilities of the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Columbia-Greene Counties include helping unemployed people to get jobs, with a focus on individuals with disabilities. During their work, they find that transportation issues often pose major barriers for their clients to obtain employment.

In 2007 the MHA served approximately 275 clients, 95% of whom did not own their own vehicles. The majority of these unemployed people live in rural areas that lack public transportation, which further complicates the task of getting to the work place. The MHA usually search jobs for clients within a range of 50 miles, and sometimes they have to encourage people to move for the work.

Investigation about the current transportation resources around Columbia-Greene County, an investigation questionnaire, and research on some possible resolutions for the problem will be included in the poster presentation.


Xiaowen Song is the first year student in Informatics of University of Albany. Her primary specialization is Geographic Information Science (GIS), and the second specialization is Information Assurance (IA). Xiaowen has a Bachelor degree in Library Science of Anhui University (CHINA) and Master Degree in Management Information System of East China Normal University (CHINA). Currently, she is interested in the Geographic Information System’s application and impact in the transportation, and is going to continue her research in this area.


Dawit Demissie, Informatics & Devendra Potnis, Informatics

Barriers to Socio-economic Opportunities in Africa: An e-Government Perspective


E-Government is not only a programmatic tool for offering government services effectively but also a participatory tool for citizens to get actively involved into government. Various non-government organizations (NGOs) attempt to evaluate e-Government initiatives through the combination of indices that heavily rely upon the level of information and communication technologies (ICTs) deployment. As a result of United Nations’ longitudinal evaluation of e-Government initiatives for more than 191 member states, e-Government has been identified as a medium to offer better socio-economic opportunities for citizens. However, other than technology related factors, there seems to be a range of other factors which significantly affect the rate of generating socio-economic opportunities through e-Government initiatives all around the world.

Using grounded theory approach, this research attempts to identify a comprehensive set of factors that are intimately associated with the success of offering better socio-economic opportunities, in the context of e-Government initiatives offered by governments in Africa. This study builds a new theoretical framework by comparatively analyzing 40 scholarly publications in the areas related to ‘socio-economic opportunities in Africa and e-Government’. The theoretical framework resulted by combining inductive and deductive approaches is expected to establish connections between socio-economic opportunities offered through e- Government and various influential factors categorized into political, social welfare, economic, and ICTs related domains. The proposed framework would be helpful in devising better metrics for measuring e-Government initiatives.


Dawit Demissie is a second year student in the Information Science Ph.D. (INF PHD) Program at the College of Computing and Information (CCI), University at Albany. He received a BS degree in Computer Science from The State University of New York at Oswego, and an MS degree in Telecommunications & Network Management (TNM) from Syracuse University. His primary and Secondary Specialization areas in the INF PHD program are Information, Government, and Democratic Society (IGDS) and Business Information & Decision Systems (BIDS) respectively.

Before joining the INF PHD program, he had been a Software Test Engineer and prior to that, he served as a System Consultant to the University community on computing issues at SUNY-Oswego. He also had been an adjunct IT Instructor at Hudson Valley Community College, UAlbany, Bryant & Stratton College-Albany Campus, SUNY-Oswego, Le Moyne College and Onondaga Community College.

His research interests include empirical testing of models and theories of information technology (IT) use, acceptance, and adoption; human technology interactions; IT issues in cross-cultural environments; knowledge management; and e-government.

Devendra Potnis is a second year doctoral student at the Information Science program offered by the College of Computing and Information, State University of New York at Albany. He is passionate to be a part of a team pursuing Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations and the World Bank. His academic journey has been influenced by the notion of equity and equality for all through effective technology solutions, policy framework and management practices.His doctoral dissertation studies role of mobile technologies in shaping information behavior of disadvantaged women from rural India.

Devendra received his Bachelor of Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India, and Master in Computer Science from the University of Louisiana, and Master in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College, SUNY at Albany. Currently, he is working on three research publications that focus on barriers to socio-economic opportunities in Africa, the ways in which information and communication technologies enable rural India for sustainable development, and measuring e-Government through innovation management measurement framework.


Tao Xu, Informatics

Query Refinement and Optimization for a generic natural language interface


In this poster, we are intended to seek an effective approach to refine and optimize the query of natural language, using a natural language interface. This work is based on a generic natural language interface for an XML database - NaLIX (Li 2005; 2006a). NaLIX can accept an English language to be a query input from users. This query is translated into an XQuery expression and then obtains results. The previous work has proved that such a system is able to process complex database queries in plain English. However, due to the limitations of the system, when a query is complex enough to input, it might be reformulated according to the system’s feedback so as to apply to NaLIX. Undoubtedly, it will increase the difficulty of retrieving or searching. Generally, in query refinements approaches, a user inputs a search query and then is shown search results plus or modifying possible new search queries. New search results will replace the current results. The goal of refining queries is to encourage users who are not satisfied with the search results to query again rather than quit searching task. In our study, we assume that queries after refining and optimizing are more effective than original queries. We are doing a pilot study to verify our assumption, whose results prove that approaches of query refinement for NaLIX are feasible and effective. In future work, if possible, we will continue to conduct two groups of experiments to further improve our assumption.


Tao Xu is a first year PhD student in Informatics of University at Albany, a primary specialization in KOM (Knowledge Organization and Management). His research interests include information visualization, usability testing, query refinement and feedback, and search engine evaluations. XU has a M.S. in Information Science from Peking University (CHINA) and a B.S. in Information Science from Heilongjiang University (CHINA).


Kuang-Yuan Huang, Informatics

Tracking Patient Status with Adjective Information


The purpose of this project is to use NLP to analyze patients’ medical discharge summaries. This project comprises five stages: 1. Locate the information that marks the status of various entities, e.g., patient’s overall health, medications and their dosages, test results, etc. 2 Relate the status information to associated entities such as [patient]-[afebrile], [aspirin]-[500mg], [distress]-[acute]. 3. Build up relations between [entity]-[status] pairs such as {[distress]-[acute]}-{[aspirin]-[500mg]} (i.e., use 500mg of aspirin as medication for acute distress), where the identification of the relation is not trivial. 4. Generate a temporal model based on previous results showing the change in status over time. 5. Summarize all extracted information, based on the [entity]-[status] pairs, their inter-relations, and temporal information.

In the poster I discuss an overview of our project, highlight the proof-of-concept accomplishments to date, and present future work. We are currently in the process of identifying types of adjectives that bear status information. I hypothesize that the so-called “non-predicating adjectives” is status-bearing. Manually tagged medical discharge summaries using this type of adjective confirm this hypothesis.


Kuang-Yuan Huang is a first year PhD student in Information Science at the University at Albany. His primary specialization is Knowledge Organization and Management (KOM), and his secondary specialization is Information Assurance (IA). Huang’s research interest includes Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval, and Information Seeking Behavior. Currently he is conducting research in extracting information from medical discharge summary. Huang has a B.S. in Computer Science from National Chiao-Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan and an M.S. in Computer Science from National Dong-Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan.