Skip navigation

Information Science and Technology

  • Page 2 of 5
A Practical Guide to Making Sense of Data

In the age of Big Data, the tools of information visualization offer us a macroscope to help us make sense of the avalanche of data available on every subject. This book offers a gentle introduction to the design of insightful information visualizations. It is the only book on the subject that teaches nonprogrammers how to use open code and open data to design insightful visualizations. Readers will learn to apply advanced data mining and visualization techniques to make sense of temporal, geospatial, topical, and network data.

The book, developed for use in an information visualization MOOC, covers data analysis algorithms that enable extraction of patterns and trends in data, with chapters devoted to “when” (temporal data), “where” (geospatial data), “what” (topical data), and “with whom” (networks and trees); and to systems that drive research and development. Examples of projects undertaken for clients include an interactive visualization of the success of game player activity in World of Warcraft; a visualization of 311 number adoption that shows the diffusion of non-emergency calls in the United States; a return on investment study for two decades of HIV/AIDS research funding by NIAID; and a map showing the impact of the HiveNYC Learning Network.

Visual Insights will be an essential resource on basic information visualization techniques for scholars in many fields, students, designers, or anyone who works with data.

Organizing is such a common activity that we often do it without thinking much about it. In our daily lives we organize physical things--books on shelves, cutlery in kitchen drawers--and digital things--Web pages, MP3 files, scientific datasets. Millions of people create and browse Web sites, blog, tag, tweet, and upload and download content of all media types without thinking “I’m organizing now” or “I’m retrieving now.”

This book offers a framework for the theory and practice of organizing that integrates information organization (IO) and information retrieval (IR), bridging the disciplinary chasms between Library and Information Science and Computer Science, each of which views and teaches IO and IR as separate topics and in substantially different ways. It introduces the unifying concept of an Organizing System--an intentionally arranged collection of resources and the interactions they support--and then explains the key concepts and challenges in the design and deployment of Organizing Systems in many domains, including libraries, museums, business information systems, personal information management, and social computing.

Intended for classroom use or as a professional reference, the book covers the activities common to all organizing systems: identifying resources to be organized; organizing resources by describing and classifying them; designing resource-based interactions; and maintaining resources and organization over time. The book is extensively annotated with disciplinary-specific notes to ground it with relevant concepts and references of library science, computing, cognitive science, law, and business.

In Digital Methods, Richard Rogers proposes a methodological outlook for social and cultural scholarly research on the Web that seeks to move Internet research beyond the study of online culture. It is not a toolkit for Internet research, or operating instructions for a software package; it deals with broader questions. How can we study social media to learn something about society rather than about social media use? How can hyperlinks reveal not just the value of a Web site but the politics of association? Rogers proposes repurposing Web-native techniques for research into cultural change and societal conditions. We can learn to reapply such “methods of the medium” as crawling and crowd sourcing, PageRank and similar algorithms, tag clouds and other visualizations; we can learn how they handle hits, likes, tags, date stamps, and other Web-native objects. By “thinking along” with devices and the objects they handle, digital research methods can follow the evolving methods of the medium.

Rogers uses this new methodological outlook to examine the findings of inquiries into 9/11 search results, the recognition of climate change skeptics by climate-change-related Web sites, the events surrounding the Srebrenica massacre according to Dutch, Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian Wikipedias, presidential candidates’ social media “friends,” and the censorship of the Iranian Web. With Digital Methods, Rogers introduces a new vision and method for Internet research and at the same time applies them to the Web’s objects of study, from tiny particles (hyperlinks) to large masses (social media).

Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences

Today we are witnessing dramatic changes in the way scientific and scholarly knowledge is created, codified, and communicated. This transformation is connected to the use of digital technologies and the virtualization of knowledge. In this book, scholars from a range of disciplines consider just what, if anything, is new when knowledge is produced in new ways. Does knowledge itself change when the tools of knowledge acquisition, representation, and distribution become digital?

Issues of knowledge creation and dissemination go beyond the development and use of new computational tools. The book, which draws on work from the Virtual Knowledge Studio, brings together research on scientific practice, infrastructure, and technology. Focusing on issues of digital scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, the contributors discuss who can be considered legitimate knowledge creators, the value of “invisible” labor, the role of data visualization in policy making, the visualization of uncertainty, the conceptualization of openness in scholarly communication, data floods in the social sciences, and how expectations about future research shape research practices. The contributors combine an appreciation of the transformative power of the virtual with a commitment to the empirical study of practice and use.

Cryptographic Culture and Evidence Law in the Age of Electronic Documents

The gradual disappearance of paper and its familiar evidential qualities affects almost every dimension of contemporary life. From health records to ballots, almost all documents are now digitized at some point of their life cycle, easily copied, altered, and distributed. In Burdens of Proof, Jean-François Blanchette examines the challenge of defining a new evidentiary framework for electronic documents, focusing on the design of a digital equivalent to handwritten signatures.

From the blackboards of mathematicians to the halls of legislative assemblies, Blanchette traces the path of such an equivalent: digital signatures based on the mathematics of public-key cryptography. In the mid-1990s, cryptographic signatures formed the centerpiece of a worldwide wave of legal reform and of an ambitious cryptographic research agenda that sought to build privacy, anonymity, and accountability into the very infrastructure of the Internet. Yet markets for cryptographic products collapsed in the aftermath of the dot-com boom and bust along with cryptography’s social projects.

Blanchette describes the trials of French bureaucracies as they wrestled with the application of electronic signatures to real estate contracts, birth certificates, and land titles, and tracks the convoluted paths through which electronic documents acquire moral authority. These paths suggest that the material world need not merely succumb to the virtual but, rather, can usefully inspire it. Indeed, Blanchette argues, in renewing their engagement with the material world, cryptographers might also find the key to broader acceptance of their design goals.

An Ecological Approach to Information Behavior

Human information interaction (HII) is an emerging area of study that investigates how people interact with information; its subfield human information behavior (HIB) is a flourishing, active discipline. Yet despite their obvious relevance to the design of information systems, these research areas have had almost no impact on systems design. One issue may be the contextual complexity of human interaction with information; another may be the difficulty in translating real-life and unstructured HII complexity into formal, linear structures necessary for systems design. In this book, Raya Fidel proposes a research approach that bridges the study of human information interaction and the design of information systems: cognitive work analysis (CWA). Developed by Jens Rasmussen and his colleagues, CWA embraces complexity and provides a conceptual framework and analytical tools that can harness it to create design requirements. CWA offers an ecological approach to design, analyzing the forces in the environment that shape human interaction with information.

Fidel reviews research in HIB, focusing on its contribution to systems design, and then presents the CWA framework. She shows that CWA, with its ecological approach, can be used to overcome design challenges and lead to the development of effective systems. Researchers and designers who use CWA can increase the diversity of their analytical tools, providing them with an alternative approach when they plan research and design projects. The CWA framework enables a collaboration between design and HII that can create information systems tailored to fit human lives.

While we have been preoccupied with the latest i-gadget from Apple and with Google’s ongoing expansion, we may have missed something: the fundamental transformation of whole firms and industries into giant information-processing machines. Today, more than eighty percent of workers collect and analyze information (often in digital form) in the course of doing their jobs. This book offers a guide to the role of information in modern business, mapping the use of information within work processes and tracing flows of information across supply-chain management, product development, customer relations, and sales. The emphasis is on information itself, not on information technology. Information, overshadowed for a while by the glamour and novelty of IT, is the fundamental component of the modern corporation.
In Information and the Modern Corporation, longtime IBM manager and consultant James Cortada clarifies the differences among data, facts, information, and knowledge and describes how the art of analytics has all but eliminated decision making based on gut feeling, replacing it with fact-based decisions. He describes the working style of “road warriors,” whose offices are anywhere their laptops and cell phones are and whose deep knowledge of a given topic becomes their medium of exchange.
Information is the core of the modern enterprise, and the use of information defines the activities of a firm. This essential guide shows managers and employees better ways to leverage information--by design and not by accident.

About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929

Today on almost every desk in every office sits a computer. Eighty years ago, desktops were equipped with a nonelectronic data processing machine: a card file. In Paper Machines, Markus Krajewski traces the evolution of this proto-computer of rearrangeable parts (file cards) that became ubiquitous in offices between the world wars.
The story begins with Konrad Gessner, a sixteenth-century Swiss polymath who described a new method of processing data: to cut up a sheet of handwritten notes into slips of paper, with one fact or topic per slip, and arrange as desired. In the late eighteenth century, the card catalog became the librarian’s answer to the threat of information overload. Then, at the turn of the twentieth century, business adopted the technology of the card catalog as a bookkeeping tool. Krajewski explores this conceptual development and casts the card file as a “universal paper machine” that accomplishes the basic operations of Turing’s universal discrete machine: storing, processing, and transferring data. In telling his story, Krajewski takes the reader on a number of illuminating detours, telling us, for example, that the card catalog and the numbered street address emerged at the same time in the same city (Vienna), and that Harvard University’s home-grown cataloging system grew out of a librarian’s laziness; and that Melvil Dewey (originator of the Dewey Decimal System) helped bring about the technology transfer of card files to business.

A Petri Net-Oriented Approach

This comprehensive introduction to modeling business-information systems focuses on business processes. It describes and demonstrates the formal modeling of processes in terms of Petri nets, using a well-established theory for capturing and analyzing models with concurrency. The precise semantics of this formal method offers a distinct advantage for modeling processes over the industrial modeling languages found in other books on the subject. Moreover, the simplicity and expressiveness of the Petri nets concept make it an ideal language for explaining foundational concepts and constructing exercises. After an overview of business information systems, the book introduces the modeling of processes in terms of classical Petri nets. This is then extended with data, time, and hierarchy to model all aspects of a process. Finally, the book explores analysis of Petri net models to detect design flaws and errors in the design process. The text, accessible to a broad audience of professionals and students, keeps technicalities to a minimum and offers numerous examples to illustrate the concepts covered. Exercises at different levels of difficulty make the book ideal for independent study or classroom use.

Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees? In The Atlas of New Librarianship, R. David Lankes offers a guide to this new landscape for practitioners. He describes a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning; and he suggests a new mission for librarians: to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. The vision for a new librarianship must go beyond finding library-related uses for information technology and the Internet; it must provide a durable foundation for the field. Lankes recasts librarianship and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created though conversation. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation; they seek to enrich, capture, store, and disseminate the conversations of their communities. To help librarians navigate this new terrain, Lankes offers a map, a visual representation of the field that can guide explorations of it; more than 140 Agreements, statements about librarianship that range from relevant theories to examples of practice; and Threads, arrangements of Agreements to explain key ideas, covering such topics as conceptual foundations and skills and values. Agreement Supplements at the end of the book offer expanded discussions. Although it touches on theory as well as practice, the Atlas is meant to be a tool: textbook, conversation guide, platform for social networking, and call to action.Copublished with the Association of College & Research Libraries.

  • Page 2 of 5