Using Information: New Technologies, Ways & Means

A blog for people interested in contributing to the HICSS-40 minitrack on Using Information: New Technologies...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

HICSS Tricks

1. Fly into Kona-Kahlua airport, much closer than Hilo.
2. Some like the hotel; others rent condos nearby.
3. Early Registration rates through September 15.

Papers Accepted for HICSS 40 in 2 Minitracks

Using Information: New Technologies, Ways, & Means

Exploring the adoption, utility, and social influences of social bookmarking in a corporate environment
Laurie Damianos, Donna Cuomo, John Griffith, David Hirst, James Smallwood
Crossing boundaries: A case study of employee blogging
Lilia Efimova, Jonathan Grudin
Web mash-ups and patchwork prototyping: User-driven technological innovation with Web 2.0 and open source software
Ingbert R. Floyd, M. Cameron Jones, Dinesh Rathi, Michael B. Twidale
Facilitating mobile music sharing and social interaction with Push!Music
Maria Håkansson, Mattias Rost, Mattias Jacobsson, Lars Erik Holmquist
Leveraging social networks to motivate individuals to reduce their ecological footprints
Jennifer Mankoff, Deanna Matthews, Susan Fussell, Michael Johnson
The social structure of tagging internet video on
John Paolillo, Shashikant Penumarthy
Personality matters: Incorporating detailed user attributes and preferences into the matchmaking process
Jens Riegelsberger, Scott Counts, Shelly Farnham, Bruce Philips
The visual side of Wikipedia
Fernanda Viégas
Community discovery and analysis in blogspace
Ying Zhou, Joseph Davis

Persistent Conversation

Multiplex conversations afforded by technology
Therese Örnberg Berglund
Conversation Clock: Visualizing audio patterns in groups
Tony Bergstrom, Karrie Karahalios
Interactive community bulletin boards as conversational hubs and sites for playful visual repartee
Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson
Language networks on LiveJournal
Susan C. Herring, John C. Paolillo, Irene Ramos-Vielba, Inna Kouper, Elijah Wright, Sharon Stoerger, Lois Ann Scheidt, Benjamin Clark
Corporate blogging: Building community through persistent digital talk
Anne Jackson, JoAnne Yates, Wanda Orlikowski
Colin Mochrie vs. Jesus H. Christ: Messages about masculinities and fame in online video conversations
Lori Kendall
Visual conversation styles in web communities
David McDonald
Learning conversations in World of Warcraft
Bonnie Nardi
System persistence in sustained, collaborative problem solving online
Johann Sarmiento
Juggling work qmong multiple projects and partners
Peter Scupelli, Susan R. Fussell, Sara Kiesler, Pablo Quinones, Gail Kusbit
Persistent technical conversations: A vew from the periphery
Yuri Takhteyev
Talk before you type: Coordination in Wikipedia
Fernanda Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, Jesse Kriss, Frank van Ham
Conversational coherence in IM and getting work done
Stephanie Woerner, JoAnne Yates, Wanda Orlikowski

From Other Minitracks…

Assigned tasks are not the same as self-chosen web search tasks
Dan Russell and Carrie Grimes

Warm fronts and high pressure systems: Overcoming geographic dispersion in a meteorological cyberinfrastructure project
Katherine Lawrence, Thomas Finholt, Il-hwan Kim

Related Workshop and Tutorial…

Persistent Converstion (half-day workshop)
Tom Erickson and Susan Herring
Socialware (full-day tutorial)
Roxanne Hiltz, Lorne Olfman, Chris Lott

Thursday, August 31, 2006

How to Have a Great HICSS Experience

Guidance for someone used to ACM conferences

HICSS is more interdisciplinary and topically diverse than ACM conferences. With an acceptance rate of ~45%, HICSS includes both polished papers and some aimed at discussion and feedback en route to journal publication. With over a dozen parallel sessions, you can’t scan the program just before a session begins to decide what to attend. However, an hour’s preparation can yield an experience that is as consistently interesting and high quality as at ACM conferences where papers are more tightly screened by program committees. If your interests are eclectic, a HICSS experience can be better, due to the topic diversity.

The Program booklet has a high-level calendar of events, papers organized by sessions with Best Paper Nominees starred, and a list of all authors who registered early (one author for each accepted paper must register early). You also get a book of abstracts and a CD with the papers.

First I mark each registered author whom I recognize, independent of their area. This takes advantage of a “fish-eye lens” effect – someone I recognize from an unrelated field is likely to be good. On the high-level calendar I mark the sessions each of their papers are in, then examine the other papers in those sessions. If a session looks interesting as a whole, I indicate that on the calendar; otherwise I just note whether the paper will be presented first, second, or third. When done with all the authors, I do the same thing for Best Paper Nominations. These papers are likely to be polished. Because of the diversity of HICSS, most of them are not of interest, but a good many individual papers and sessions look intriguing. Finally on the calendar I mark the minitrack or minitracks that have high priority. Last time that was two of the Digital Document minitracks and Kevin Crowston’s Open Source minitrack.

For almost every time period, I ended up with one to three possibilities of interest. Sometimes I attended one session for the first paper and another session for the next. Last year one session had nothing, so I talked with some people, then spent time with my accompanying family.

With lower selectivity, HICSS takes off the “parental controls” enforced by ACM program committees. You can’t wander into a session and expect the polished if sometimes boring quality found at CHI. But you’re given the tools to design a great conference experience. And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that with lunches and evening social events included every day, there is a huge opportunity for conversations.

Friday, August 25, 2006

HICSS 39 Trip Report

Joi Ito gave an engaging plenary talk on emerging technologies and practices around intellectual property, focusing on film and music and how the industries are not responding well to the digital change.

Dan Russell gave a talk focused mainly on studies at IBM Almaden, followed by interesting data from studies since he joined Google. (Dan has also worked at PARC and Apple and mentioned a recent talk at PARC describing different research lab cultures.) At IBM he studied how people quickly skim large numbers of documents under time pressure using paper and online tools. After two IBM tools fared worse than paper, they did careful video analyses to understand why and built a new prototype that did much better (for what seem plausible reasons). The search experiments at Google found patterns in eye-movement data and user behavior, for example in response to small differences in duration of returning a page even at short intervals and moderate variability in such durations. (Incidentally, IBM pension plan changes announced last week will affect longer-term employees after two years; some might be easily recruited then if not now.)

Other speakers of interest included Charles House, an Intel Research Director of 10 years following 30 doing the same at HP, a very engaging speaker with insights into RTC whose team (including Cynthia Pickering who spoke at MS last year) is tackling asynchronous interaction with my favorite innovation of 2005, the “asynchronous meeting”; danah boyd, who attended Social Computing Symposia here, now a Yahoo employee and SIMS grad student, who spoke on analyses of Friendster data and sent me nice as-yet unpublished papers on blogging and tagging; Annie Tat, a Calgary grad student with a very nice 3D visualization tool for MSN Messenger repositories; and, for anyone working on disaster modeling and response planning, John Linebarger, an impressively knowledgeable fellow from Sandia who after interesting work is being moved to work on semantic nets, gave a clear and thoughtful talk.

Alan Dennis described qualitative studies of IM use by execs and high-level managers in a distributed high tech and pharmaceutical companies (think, for example, Cisco). Behaviors are consistent with those in some MS managerial meetings, but more widespread and formal in less collocated settings. For example, job interviews and contract negotiations are held exclusively by phone in many highly distributed groups. From the perspective of the candidate or contractor, there is one interviewer, but several people are listening and IMing questions to the person talking. Partly driven by necessity, it seems efficient. Another paper by Dennis carefully analyzed when people approach other people for information or knowledge, looking at many possible contextual correlates. For example, is the information present in a formal company document repository? To Dennis’s surprise that made no difference (my paper focused on the general inadequacies of such repositories, and I cited this as supporting evidence when giving my talk).

One fascinating session comprised three skillful talks on “the dark side of knowledge management.” None were very technological but all had clear implications for technology design and use. Two included frameworks and numerous examples and will require reading the papers to fully assess. The other looked at legal and behavioral issues around organizational ownership of knowledge in employee heads – some surprising legal case history and evolving practices.

Microsoft Research participation included Danyel Fisher’s visualization paper that won a Best Paper award, Tammara Coombs Turner’s paper on technical newsgroup communities, Shelly Farnham’s paper on Wallop, and my paper on emerging technologies and knowledge management. There was heavy participation from IBM Watson HCI people, UW Information School (eight faculty and some students), and others.

Sessions I attended that were perhaps most interesting for revealing the intensity of research in the areas were on Open Source and cross-cultural differences in team dynamics.

Odds-and-ends: An e-government session covering identity card practice and plans in Europe, and a proposal for a semantic web e-government portal for Europe that drew a sharp response; an MIS paper on the “new frontier” of affective aspects of design driven by online consumerism, again recapitulating the course that CHI took for commercial software.

Overview of the HICSS Conferences

The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences is organized along 9 tracks:

Collaboration Systems and Technology
Decision Technologies for Management
Digital Media: Content and Communication
Electronic Government
Information Technology in Health Care
Internet and Digital Economy
Knowledge Management Systems
Organizational Systems and Technology
Software Technology

Each track is divided into multi-session mini-tracks, averaging 8 mini-tracks per track. Each mini-track has one Best Paper Nomination, leading to about 75 such papers (about 10% of submissions or 20% of acceptances), and each track has a Best Paper, leading to 9 Best Papers (1% of submissions).

In January, 2006 HICSS also had six multi-session symposia:

Case and Field Studies of Collaboration Technologies
Electric Power Systems: Reliability, Control, and Markets
Hot Topics in Negotiation Support Systems
MOCHA Design: Mobile Computing Hardware Architectures Design & Implementation
Security Informatics
Skilled Human-Intelligent Agent Performance: Measurement, Application, & Symbiosis

HICSS gets about 1000 submissions and usually takes a little over half. Last year it accepted 48%, 450 papers. There were typically 14 or 15 parallel sessions. Days began at 8 a.m. and ended at 5:30 or 6:00. A premium is placed on discussion, and most people attend most sessions. The mini-track format tends to hold people together for half a day to a day or longer. HICSS also effectively promotes informal discussion by covering lunches and a 6pm-7pm social hour with the registration fee.

The papers vary from polished to somewhere between a workshop and a conference standard. Most authors see publication at HICSS as a step toward journal publication. Many participants are from IS/IT (for many of whom this is the premiere conference), which prizes journal publication more than CS does.

Topics can extend across multiple tracks; I noticed this for open source, disaster response, and semantic nets. Also, papers relevant to one track or mini-track can be in another. With so many parallel sessions and this kind of overlap, it’s essential to plan sessions and papers in advance to get the most from the conference. I'll post another blog entry on how I did this in 2006 to have one of my best conference experiences.

Monday, June 12, 2006

HICSS Deadlines, time and time zone

Someone anonymously inquired as to what precise time HICSS was using for its deadlines. We are told the June 15 deadline will be midnight HawaiiTime. This and otehr times will now be put on the HICSS web pages, so check there to be sure.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

HICSS deadline & NEW paper template

Note that the HICSS paper submission deadline is fast approaching! (Papers due June 15th, 2006)

I also updated the link to the paper template to be a direct link to the HICSS authorized .DOC template file. (It's on the left under "Permanent links.")

But if you need it again, here it is: HICSS paper MS Word .DOC template file

And if you're a Latex person, here's your template: HICSS paper Latex template file

If you haven't written a paper yet, get busy!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Submission deadline: June 15

Prepare full paper following HICSS formatting guidelines

A) Double-column
B) Single space
C) Maximum of 10 pages (including all tables, figures, references, etc.)
D) Page size: 8.5 in. by 11 in
E) No author name or affiliation should appear on initial submission (HICSS conducts double blind reviews)

Word and LaTeX samples on HICSS site, link below in the left column.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Information Architecture--another great topic

Information architecture, now there's an inspiring phrase!

Basically, it just means how you organize information in the large for use by people. That's clear enough, but there are some subtle points here. How do you set up your file folders at home? That's a simple information architecture. How do you organize a company website? That's information architecture too.

But there seem to be new kinds of architectural technologies emerging in the new web. This seems especially true as search engines become the new index for many sites. Why bother to labriously navigate through a site hierarchy when you can just look it up? Consider that a huge fraction of all web searches are navigational. At Google, something more than 60% of all queries are very short and obviously intended to get the user from the search page to their true destination. (That's how we define navigational.)

The continued AJAXification of web UIs is also making new kinds of info architectures possible as well. Think of all the maps-based interfaces you're starting to see; think of the coordinated information displays that mashup data.

Keith Instone writes about information architecture in his blog. Check out his discussion of breadcrumbs and the role they play in navigation. The tradeoff is interesting...and well worth a paper to HICSS...when would you follow breadcrumbs when you can search? What's the tradeoff we think is correct? And what do people actually do in practice?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Notice the permanent links

I'm putting a few links to relevant web pages over on the left-hand nav space of this blog. If you look under Permanent Links you'll find a few links to web pages that should be of help in putting together a paper for the HICSS conference.

In particular, I've added a link to the standard HICSS MS-Word paper template. Note that this is NOT the official template for HICSS-40 (2007), but is intended only for guidelines purposes.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Screencasts -- educational video to the people?

I've been thinking about screencasts, a relatively new trend on the web to create short movies, usually screen captures delivered onto the web in some video format. When they're well-done, it's a marvelous technique for getting an idea across quickly and effectively.

The screencast that started me thinking was Jon Udell’s brilliant screencast on the evolution of the Wikipedia entry “heavy metal umlaut” (8.5 mins)

It's a great commentary on the social behavior of Wikipedia users, but also about how a short screencast in the hands of a talented observer can yield marvelous results.

Jon has also written a great article about screencasting

What’s appealing is the immediacy – you don’t have to wait around to get to the meat. Plus, there’s LOTS of context, the stuff that usually gets left out of normal written texts. (“Oh.. you forgot to mention that this only works in Firefox, but I can see that in your screencast!”) Often UI instructions become immediately clear through action. On the screencast I can see that it’s the third green tab from the left (not counting the grayed-out tab) that should be selected. It takes less time to watch it that it does to read it. There are different ways to create screencasts. I like embedded streaming Flash movies best, as they seem most seamless and well-integrated into the web page. On the other hand, Quicktime movies (.MOV) have the "scrubbing" feature in their controller. I don't know why other player controllers don't have this, it's amazingly useful to be able to slide back and forth, scanning for something you'd seen in the movie.

Do the obvious web search for [ screencast ] and follow this up yourself.

Question for the HICSS crew: Is this just an obvious evolution? Or are people using this new media in interesting ways? I've found myself making short screen captures and emailing them to people (as a way to show tricky techniques, such as "how to use the unsharp filter in Photoshop"). Do others?

Of course, screencasting has a great future for just this kind of thing. Increasingly we see sites putting out demos as screencasts. To choose one arbitrarily, see this one from Ning.

Hints to screencasters: Don’t have long blank spots of no action—keep things moving. Don’t be ponderous—your screencast isn’t being sent up for an Oscar. Keep it moving. And do NOT tell me obvious things. Tell me things that can’t be seen—the goals, the rationale, the possible uses…

And finally, even though it's not a screencast, I have to include Jeff Han's wonderfully inventive demo video of his multitouch interaction system. It's not a screencast, but is done in much the same spirit. (embedded MPG) – brilliant, fluid, organic. Nicely done with keyframes in a display. You know what you’re getting into, you know what's there, and there isn't any annoying narrator to get in the way. Genius!

- Dan -

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What kind of new technologies are we talking about?

The point of this blog is to encourage group thinking (not groupthink) about how new technologies are affecting the ways we use information. Here are a few initial thoughts:

tags--popularized by Flickr and, it's a rampant meme these days. Do they really help? If so, what kind of help are they providing? Can you give me data about how tags help? Do you see any other new and interesting applications of tags?

AJAX--the software magic of Async Javascript And XML (esp. XMLHttpRequest), this is the secret that makes highly interactive web widgets work. See Google Maps or for examples. Maps lets you drag the image around, giving the feel of an infinite plane. Live lets you drag items on the page for rearrangable web page display. Question: Isn't AJAX just letting the UI genie out of the bottle again? Won't the AJAX-ification of all things lead to even more UI confusion? Or... is it the way out of the constraints of the HTML UI limitations we've all suffered?

sensing--with RFIDs everywhere, and GPS units, and cell-phones now with location sensing ability, how can will we use geocoded life information effectively? The BBC recently wrote about Nokia's exploration in using cell phones to log your life. What other directions will this go?

quiet standards--we all know that Control-C does a copy, Control-V does a paste. What other parts of our UI world are becoming quietly standardized? More to the point for HICSS, in what ways will quiet standards (informal, often tacit agreements among software makers) become points of positive transfer? I expect, for example, that Control-I will put my text editor into italics mode. That's a great example of positive transfer between software apps without a formal UI spec. But I was REALLY surprised when Control-K put me into insert-hyperlink mode. That was what I'd expected, but I was happily surprised to find it in Blogger's editor (when I'd learned it in Dreamweaver). Even better, I did the Control-K unconsciously... everything just worked. It was only later that I realized what had just happened.

Other ideas? Other technologies?

-- Dan --

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Important dates for HICSS 2007

Important Dates during 2006

Abstracts are recommended. Authors may contact Minitrack Chairs f
or guidance and indication of appropriate content at anytime.

June 15, 2006 Deadline to submit full papers.

August 15, 2006 Authors receive decisions regarding
paper acceptances. (Note: Acceptance
may be conditional; revisions may be
requested before final acceptance of paper.)

September 15, 2006 All Authors submit the final version of their
accepted papers for publication. At least
one author of each paper must register to
attend the conference by this date. Early
Registration fee $545 applies until this date.

Opening of the HICSS Minitrack blog

Hi folks... This blog is for the HICSS Minitrack on "Using Information: New Technologies, Ways & Means." It's an experiment in using the technology that we want to meet and talk about at HICSS.

What we mean by that is pretty open. It runs the gamut from Web 2.0 technologies like tagging and mashups, to more traditional means of collaborating, like Instant Messaging (so, 1990's!) and group stored/accessible content.

Where we take this is up to us!

Let the blog begin!

For more information about submitting papers to this minitrack, please see our CFP at:

HICSS CFP for Using Information: New Technologies, Way & Means

Feel free to contact us with questions. Better yet, please post public thoughts and comments to this blog!

-- Dan & Jonathan --