New Trends in Informatics Research - NTIR

April 9, 2010 The University at Albany | State University of New York

Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on Academic Libraries

Dima Kassab

With the massive amount of information on the Web, the easy accessibility and simple interface Google provides, Amazon reviews and ranks for books, and social tags systems on LibraryThing that allows its patrons to mark their resources and organize them by their own ways and language; it is predictable to hear an undergraduate student saying "if my professor did not get bothered, I would cite Wikipedia in my research papers." You might also face, as a librarian, the questions "Do you think that libraries will disappear?" "Are we still in need of libraries while we have the option of massive easily-accessed information and applications on the Web?" "Will libraries attract their patrons again after they got enchanted by the charm of Google?" In some manner, all of these questions and behaviors are related to the influence the ever-evolving technologies have on our patrons’ expectations and information needs. Indeed, these questions call for further insights into academic libraries' mission, services, facilities and resources and re-assuring for academic libraries' significant value.
The present research discusses the effect emerging technologies may have in different aspects of academic libraries and their patrons, the need for re-design in the light of these changes, the options available for academic libraries to follow up with these new technological trends, and finally, the obstacles academic libraries should overtake in this concern.

Challenges Faced in Identifying Organic Molecules in Space

Brian Nathan (1), K. H. Knuth (1,2), and Duane F. Carbon (3)

1. Department of Physics, University at Albany (SUNY), Albany NY
2. Department of Informatics, University at Albany (SUNY), Albany NY
3. NASA Advanced Supercomputing Div, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field CA

The presence of organic molecules in space has significant implications for the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe. In the last twenty years, scientists have found that red giant stars produce organic molecules, and that these molecules are ubiquitous throughout the interstellar medium. A great number of these organic molecules are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are composed of rings of carbon and hydrogen. These PAHs can be detected by recording infrared spectra from astronomical objects. However, such recorded spectra consist of mixtures of spectra emitted from many PAHs in addition to other sources. In order to isolate PAH spectra, first one needs to remove the background signal. To date, the removal of this background signal has been largely arbitrary and subjective. We have developed a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm, which accurately estimates the concentration of PAH species in synthetic spectra. Using this algorithm, we are comparing different methods for elimination of the background spectrum and evaluating the impact on the estimated PAH concentrations. It is expected that this work will enable researchers to more accurately identify and characterize organic molecules in the interstellar medium.

Brain Robotics Interface

M. Asim Mubeen

Previous research in brain computer interface (BCI) has demonstrated that people can interact with a computer by varying features of different neural sensorimotor rhythms which are detected using electroencephalography (EEG) . These brain computer interfaces can be extended to enable brains to directly control robots, which in turn interact with the physical world. This control, which is purely nonmuscular, can promise to assist people who are paralyzed due to an injury or a neurological disorder, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study we are recording EEG activity and analyzing it with adaptive algorithms to control a robot. Subjects in this study maneuver a small robotic car to targets in a room. By using touch sensors on the robot we calculate the accuracy with which a subject can reach a target and evaluate the utility of various control algorithms. It is expected that this research will lead to new technologies that can assist people with severe motor disabilities.

Evolution of IT for Microfinance, an Industry to Serve the Poor - or a Revolution?

Devendra Potnis and Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Information technology (IT) has established its indispensible role beyond pilots and experimentations not just in the Microfinance industry but also for various services offering financial inclusion of the poor. Microfinance is the industry for serving the poor, with business goals and social objectives. IT serves as an imperative to overcome three main barriers faced by the Microfinance industry: capital, cost and capacity. Our exploratory research bridges the information gap between IT professionals and the movement of financial inclusion including microfinance. This paper based on secondary sources, maps evolutionary diffusion of IT, at three touch-points in the business process of any traditional MFI: capital sources and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), MFIs and front-end loan officers, and loan-officers and clients. Web 2.0 and social networking web-portals have fundamentally changed traditional business processes of MFIs, wiping out capital constraint for scaling of MFIs all around the world.

The Search Engine and Academic Research: Where are we Headed? Should we just "Google it"?

Catherine L. Dumas

The advent of the Web has had a major impact on information-seeking behaviors of undergraduate students. Philip Davis states that “Since the mid 1990’s, the academic library has lost its control as the sole information resource provider on the college campus, and now competes with a multiplicity of resources available over the Internet” (2003, p. 49). Prior to the Web, as Davis suggests, the academic library was the primary place to go to find scholarship in the form of print materials: books, journals, periodicals, etc. The Internet, specifically the search engine has emerged as the method of choice for undergraduate research.
Undergraduate’s reliance on search engines has had an adverse effect on their ability and/or desire to navigate the online catalogs and subscription databases found on the library’s websites. The decline in use of traditional scholarship has lead to discussions in academia questioning the scholarly merit of sources found on the Web that have not been vetted. This paper will examine the literature from the onset of the Internet to the present that support the claim that the search engine is the research tool of preference for the majority of undergraduates. It will also explore one of the largest search engines, Google, who is capitalizing on the preferred method through one of their newest search engines, Google Scholar. What will this mean for library databases? Should a company like Google be controlling our future academics by capitalizing on their preference for research by the search engine? How scholarly is the content in Google Scholar?

E-Biometrics and users' Perception of Privacy

Tarkey Alhozaimy

Biometrics have been used by some nations hundreds of years ago as an important source of information. Because obtaining e-biometrics from citizens can be intrusive as well as containing sensitive data, developments in e-biometrics have become synonymous with concerns of privacy and ethics. Accordingly, the aim of this poster is to further explore e-biometrics, its applications, and individuals' perception of privacy concerns surrounding this information resource.

CIO’s Transformational Leadership Behavior as A Predictor of E-Government Initiatives Success

Mohammed A. Gharawi

Identifying the success factors of IT initiatives has been one of the major directions in Information Systems (IS) and management research. While the literature has produced considerable amount of work to address the issue, there still limitations as most of these studies have been conducted at organizational and macro levels. Unlike most of previous studies, this work is based on the assumption that the success of government’s agencies toward implementing their Electronic Government’s (EG) initiatives is related to specific leadership behaviors of the CIO’s of these agencies. Therefore, the study will identify these leadership behaviors based on existing literature. Then, it will assess empirically the relation between the identified behaviors and the overall success of this type of initiatives.

The proposal will consist of four main parts. First, the Management of Information Systems (MIS), Electronic Governments (E-Gov), and leadership literatures will be reviewed to identify the relevant Chief Information Officers’ (CIO’s) leadership behaviors, situational factors, and intervening variables related to the context of the study. Second, based on the literature review, the proposed theoretical framework will be presented. Third, the context of the study will be discussed. Finally, the proposed research methods including data collections and analysis methods will be illustrated. Before moving to the first part, the proposal will discuss briefly the roles of CIO’s in organizations.

Using IT Interaction Model toward a Better Fit of the IPA Website with the Organizational Context

Mohammed A. Gharawi

The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) is a professional organization in Saudi Arabia that provides training and consultation for both public and private sector. In addition, it conducts research and handles the responsibility of documenting administrative literature and official documents. Since its inception in 1961, IPA has been recognized as a well-run agency within the Saudi government structure. IPA has been guiding government agencies to improve their management practices. Additionally, it played significant role in guiding government agencies’ efforts toward adopting new technologies. For instance, the transition from mainframe to client server applications has been recognized as one of the success stories that other agencies imitated and replicated within the context of their organizations .However, IPA has been encountering many challenges to maintain such high level of performance since its transition from client-server to web-based applications. The current IPA’s website does reflect the actual performance of IPA as indicated by some of the top-level managers and faculty members. This study uses Silver, Markus, and Beath Information Technology (IT) interaction model to identify and discuss these challenges. Then, the paper proposes guidelines to overcome these challenges toward improving the state of the current IPA’s website.

Public Health Preparedness Informatics in Novel H1N1 Influenza Surveillance and Healthcare Response in New York State

Jolaoso Ismail Adeyemi

The advent of the Novel H1N1 Influenza presented public health professionals and policy makers the opportunity to put into use the various public health informatics systems and emergency preparedness plans that have been conceived since the emergence of the threat of bioterrorism. These systems and plans were conceived to aid integration of efforts by various organizations at all levels of government and to improve response to incidents. In New York State, concerted efforts have been made since 1999, following the outbreak of the West Nile Virus, to develop and implement the infrastructure that will enable the timely exchange of information and coordination of activities to support emergency preparedness. On October 29 2009, Governor Patterson of New York issued Executive Order 29 declaring a statewide disaster emergency response to the H1N1 pandemic. This paper aims to describe and evaluate the informatics tools used during the pandemic and suggest ways of improvement.

Benefits and Limitations of a Public Health Information Network

Sarah Giacomini

Informatics can be a valuable tool in a number of fields, including public health. The Public Health Information Network is a national initiative to develop interoperable systems throughout public health organizations at the local, state, and federal levels. This network is designed with the intention of allowing for a consistent exchange of health data at all times while protecting the security of the data being exchanged. The Public Health Information Network provides the public health sector with a continuous stream of health related information that is used to develop and improve upon interventions implemented in response to public health threats, such as the H1N1 pandemic.

The Public Health Information Network is vital in ensuring quality health data is disseminated effectively. This project focuses on the benefits and potential limitations of such a network. Trends in data can alert the public health sector to potential threats or provide information on the status of existing threats. However, all information is dependent on the completeness and quality of data reported. Problems in either area can severely limit the accuracy of the data being exchanged in the network.

A Comparison of Tags From Still and Moving Images

Alexander Chaucer

Digital libraries have become more distributed and more diverse in their collections. It is common for digital libraries, both offline and online, to contain information sources that are multimedia in nature. They provide access to, among others, text and image (still and moving) documents as well as audio files. While digital cameras now capture some metadata automatically, user assigned tags are indispensible when it comes to describing the semantic contents, including location (through geotagging, a process of assigning geographical metadata, usually the latitude and longitude coordinates of locations), of still and moving images. What is more, the numbers of still and moving images that are geotagged are increasing. According to flickr (, one of the very popular photo sharing services, 3.2 million items were geotagged in September 2009 alone. One of the criticisms directed at user assigned tags, compared to controlled vocabulary terms, is that they are not precise and not well investigated. To address this, we undertook an analysis of tags assigned to a sample of geotagged still and moving images on flickr. The poster will present results of our analysis and implications for indexing and retrieval of still and moving image documents, in light of the fact that user assigned tags will potentially help solve the indexing problem associated with semantic contents of multimedia documents. They also have the potential to bridge the semantic gap. A systematic analysis of geotagged images is both timely and necessary because the phenomenon of social tagging and its true potential are new and not fully understood.

Social Media Policy in Government: A Critical Analysis of 26 Policies

atherine Stollar Peters

Although use of social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, GovLoop, and Facebook by governments is growing, academic research on the subject is scarce. My work addresses the need for academic investigation into governmental social media policy and use. This poster presents my in-depth and descriptive analysis of 26 federal, state, and local governments' social media policies. This research benchmarks the current state of governmental policy and provides information for governments in the process of developing new social media policies.

Understanding Cultural Differences in Web Design Using Hofstede Model: A Pilot Study

Weiyi (Vivienne) Sun

Web users in different cultures often show different web behaviors and UI preferences. Understanding users’ cultural preferences is of crucial importance in website design and localization. In this pilot study, we examine national culture differences based on three of the Hofstede’s culture dimensions: Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance and Individualism/Collectivism. Our target websites are popular local websites from various countries. The designs of these websites have been tested by large local user bases, and thus better reflex cultural user preferences. Alexa by-country ranking is used as an indicator of websites’ popularity.We find that the cultures with higher level of Uncertainty Avoidance tend to value controlled amount of information, simple and clear content structure. While in low uncertainty avoidance cultures, maximal amount of information is provided and less important is the navigation control. We also find that in higher Power Distance Index culture, contents are more strictly structured, and have tall mental hierarchies; while in lower Power Distance Index culture, contents are structured in shallow mental hierarchies. However, no strong evidence shows that differentiates web design cultural preferences between Individualism/Collectivism cultures. For further research, this pilot study also suggests potential metrics to quantify cultural design elements. These metrics can be used to calculate culture adaptability score, and to facilitate web design and localization.

When convention meets new technology: How web 2.0 can affect accounting

Yanfei Chen

Since SEC required xml/xbrl based financial reports for companied whose fiscal year ending on or after June 15. 2009. It is necessary for us to analysis the format being used for the filings, and understand the advantage of such format. I am going to use SAX and Java programming language to analysis the 10K forms in such format, extract financial data, and apply analytical procedure from auditing. From these procedure, I will get more understanding of auditing and financial reports, and also try to explore a better way of designing XBRL, who is still a format under developing.