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Spring Brown Bag Schedule

February 27Kevin CrowstonTheory for Studying Effective Work Practices for Open Source Software Development
March 26Catherine Arnott SmithIN OUR OWN WORDS: What Consumers Can Teach Us About Health Information Retrieval
April 2Heshan Sun and Ping ZhangThe Role of Affect in IS Research: A Critical Survey and a Research Model
April 9Michelle Kaarst-BrownCultural Adaptation or Cultural Conflict: Influences on Organizational Assumptions About Information Technology
April 16David HakkenOpen Sourcing and the Changing Knowledgescapes of Cyberspace: A Comparative Ethnography of Information Technology and Social Change
April 23Ian MacInnesThe Implications of Property Rights in Virtual World Business Models
April 30Steven SchneiderOnline Structure for Online Action in Contrasting Web Spheres: Methods, Tools and Findings

SPEAKER: Kevin Crowston

TITLE: Theory for studying effective work practices for Open Source Software development

TIME: Friday February 27; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 4-212

In my talk, I will discuss an on-going project examining the general research question: what practices make some Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) development teams more effective than others? In the talk, I'll first talk a bit about theory in general, then discuss the general framework for the study, the role of theory and the proposed design, and conclude by reviewing some recent results.

As a conceptual basis for our study, we draw on Hackman's model of effectiveness of work teams. Following on work by Crowston and Kammerer, we also use coordination theory and collective mind to extend Hackman's model by further elaborating team practices relevant to software development. The literature on shared mental models, collective mind theory in particular, focuses our attention on actions that develop and exhibit shared understandings. Coordination theory suggests identifying tasks, interdependences among tasks and resources and the coordination mechanisms that are adopted.

The recent results are from a social network analysis of interaction in FLOSS teams for bug fixing.We found teams exhibited a wide range of centralizations, contrary to our expectation from FLOSS publications that they would be generally centralized.

Kevin Crowston joined the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University in 1996. He received his Ph.D. in Information Technologies from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1991. Before moving to Syracuse he was a founding member of the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work at the University of Michigan and of the Centre for Coordination Science at MIT. His current research focuses on new ways of organizing made possible by the extensive use of information technology.

SPEAKER: Catherine Arnott Smith, PhD

TITLE: IN OUR OWN WORDS: What consumers can teach us about health information retrieval

TIME: Friday March 26; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 4-212

The "consumer vocabulary problem" has been called a fundamental issue in health information provision. This is the problem of mismatch between the terms used by healthcare professionals, and those used by the consumers who receive their services. This problem has been a challenge to healthcare since at least the late 1700s.

Is there such a thing as a consumer health vocabulary? Such a vocabulary would represent an interesting kind of information flow-from consumer, to information system, and back again. In this presentation, I will describe our evolving understanding of consumer health terminology--or lay language; my current work in this area; and finally put this work in the context of my larger research agenda. My ultimate goal is to facilitate access by consumers to consumers' own health records.

Catherine Arnott Smith is an Assistant Professor who came to the School of Information Studies in the fall of 2002. She has had a number of previous lives, including both full-time and freelance editorial work in developmental psychology and nursing (1980-2002); medical reference librarian at the Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University (1992-1993) and medical information systems specialist/one-person librarian at Lincoln National Reinsurance Companies (1993-1997). In the spring of 1997 Catherine received a National Library of Medicine Medical Informatics predoctoral fellowship supporting her doctoral studies. She was a trainee fellow at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, from which she obtained her PhD in September of 2002. Her dissertation topic was "The Clinical Document Architecture: XML for Enhanced Clinical Information Retrieval."

SPEAKERS: Heshan Sun and Ping Zhang

TITLE: The Role of Affect in IS Research: A Critical Survey and a Research Model

TIME: Friday April 2; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 4-212

While most of the existing models or theories in IS focus on the cognitive and behavioral aspects of human decision-making processes and individual level reactions to technologies in organizations and other contexts, the influence of affect or emotion is traditionally neglected. The affective aspect, however, is considered crucial and has gained attention in many studies in psychology, marketing, organizational behavior, and other fields. Recently, affect and other related concepts have attracted attentions from researchers in IS and HCI. This study provides a comprehensive survey of existing studies on affect in IS to demonstrate the current status of the research stream, some conceptual discrepancies and limitations, some problems with measurements, and some potential areas for future research. It then proposes a framework of affect in IS, along with a set of propositions for further empirical investigations. This study is an attempt to highlight and systemically analyze the influence of affect in IS and therefore has great implications for both researchers and practitioners.

Ping Zhang is Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Dr. Zhang earned her Ph.D. in Information Systems from The University of Texas at Austin, and M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Computer Science from Peking University, Beijing, China. She teaches Human-Computer Interaction, Systems Analysis and Design, and other IT related topics. Her research appears in journals such as Journal of Association for Information Systems, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Behaviour and Information technology, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Computers in Human Behavior, Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology, among several others. Dr. Zhang is a guest editor for the following journals: Journal of Association for Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of Management Information Sysems (JMIS), Behaviour and Information Technology (BIT), International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS), and International Journal of Human Computer Interaction (IJHCI). Dr. Zhang received the Best Paper awards at the Americas Conference on Information Systems (2001) and the International Academy for Information Management (1997), and an Excellence in Teaching award from the University of Texas (1994). She is the founding chair of the AIS SIGHCI.

Heshan Sun is a second-year doctoral student at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Doctoral student Heshan Sun earned his master degree in information management from Peking University (2002) and bachelordegree in economics from Nankai University (1999), China. His research appears in conference proceedings as the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) and Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS); journals as China Information Review and Journal of Information Studies: Theory & Application. His research interests include human reactions to new technologies, the influence of organizational and technological contexts on human computer interaction, human behaviors in virtual teams and groups, and human behaviors in multi-task virtual environments.

SPEAKER: Dr. Michelle L. Kaarst-Brown


TIME: Friday April 9; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 4-212

Over the past two decades, much attention has been paid to organizational culture and its potential influence on human resources and strategy. More recently, management and researchers have begun to explore the potential implications of cultural assumptions about Information Technology (IT). As an example, culture is increasingly appearing as a critical element of information technology (IT) innovation, and yet little is understood about influences on these often taken-for-granted assumptions about IT - or "IT culture", its role, or impact (Dube & Robey, 2000; Kaarst-Brown, 1995; Kaarst-Brown & Robey, 1999).

This presentation will share findings from an in-depth study of multiple groups in two large organizations to illustrate multi-level influences on the formation, persistence, and change of cultural assumptions about IT. One of the contributions of this study is to illustrate the importance of both individual and group history to cultural conflict over strategic use of IT, and how management practices may reduce or increase conflict related to IT.

Michelle Kaarst Brown is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Drawing upon two decades of business and Information Technology (IT) management experience, she now specializes in how social, cultural and knowledge factors impact IT strategy and enterprise wide risk management. Her current research focuses on cross cultural issues in global electronic commerce and institutional transitions in the e business environment. Dr. Kaarst Brown has published in a number of top academic and business journals including MIS Quarterly, Information Technology and People, the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, the Journal of Organizational Change Management, the Journal of Global Information Management, the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), and CIO Canada. She can be reached at

SPEAKER: Professor David Hakken, SUNYIT in Utica

TITLE: "Open Sourcing and the Changing Knowledgescapes of Cyberspace: A Comparative Ethnography of Information Technology and Social Change."

TIME: Friday April 16; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 3-216

While new technologies are often assumed to promote the spread of a standardized global culture, some anthropologists have argued that they can also support new forms of cultural uniqueness. These ethnographers have coined the term glocalization for this process, of which the rapid adoption of Internet communication by extreme Islamist groups might be one example.

Approaches to computing that promote free access to source code—the Open Sourcing at the center of Linux, for example—constitute a substantive alternative to the dominant proprietary mode of computing. Because of the affordances they give to constructing new social networks among coders, Free/Open technologies would appear to be particularly conducive to glocalization. This presentation will be an overview of David Hakken's ethnographic study of these issues, comparing open sourcing in Island Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, with OSing in the North Atlantic.

David Hakken is a cultural anthropologist who teaches anthropology and Information Technology and Design courses at SUNYIT in Utica, where he also runs the Policy Center. The first recipient of the American Anthropological Association's Textor Prize in Anticipatory Anthropology, his most recent book is _The Knowledge Landscapes of Cyberspace_ (Routledge 2003). His current research is a comparative study of Open Source Computing in Island Southeast Asia and the North Atlantic.

SPEAKER: Ian MacInnes

TITLE: The Implications of Property Rights in Virtual World Business Models

TIME: Friday April 23; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 3-216

The financial success of online communities based on multiplayer game environments has been a bright spot among the many failures in electronic commerce initiatives. While this form of business has existed for less than a decade, it is growing rapidly and has become a mainstream form of entertainment in some areas of the world, such as Korea. Game environments are becoming more immersive and compelling and if this rate of improvement continues, such as through growing broadband penetration, they are likely to become as common as other forms of entertainment. There are, however, some important issues for the development of business models that developers need to understand.

Since the advent of online games, many users have found real world value in the objects that they obtain in virtual worlds. Users received over $5 million in exchange for digital game items in the final quarter of 2003, a 30% increase over the previous quarter (Castronova, 2004). This has occurred in spite of the efforts of some developers to shut down accounts of people engaging in this trade. The desire by some users to pay cash for digits on a server is a fascinating social phenomenon. Some developers have responded by creating business models that encourage this activity, such as through selling items directly to users instead of charging a subscription fee. Early cases in China and Korea suggest that some courts will treat these digital objects as property. This can create legal liability if objects are lost, stolen, hacked, cheated, or if the developer wishes to cease operations. Developers have tried to protect themselves from legal liability through end user license agreements but the protection offered by these documents is uncertain. This paper analyzes the issues facing developers of game communities in their goal of establishing viable business models.

Ian MacInnes joined the School of Information Studies in 1999 after spending two years teaching at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Before that he completed a doctorate from the University of Southern California in Political Economy and Public Policy and a master's degree at the London School of Economics. He was recently a Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His current areas of research include pure digital transactions for content, software, and services; industry convergence; electronic commerce trust and fraud; and business models for online entertainment.

SPEAKER: Steven M. Schneider

TITLE: Online Structure for Online Action in Contrasting Web Spheres: Methods, Tools and Findings

TIME: Friday April 30; 12:00-1:30

PLACE: CST Room 4-212

The Web as an object of study presents a series of significant challenges to social researchers. This presentation introduces the concept of a web sphere, and proposes web sphere analysis as a research method that provides an integrative framework for structural, rhetorical and sociocultural methods of analysis. Three dimensions of web spheres-anticipatability, predictability, and stability-are proposed, and the implications of various web sphere characteristics for the study of online action within and across them are examined. To illustrate, two web spheres that vary along the three dimensions are compared. Systems supporting web sphere analysis developed by the WebArchivist research group will be demonstrated.

A web sphere is defined as a hyperlinked set of dynamically identified digital resources spanning multiple web sites deemed relevant or related to a central event, concept or theme. The boundaries of a web sphere are delimited by a shared topical orientation and a temporal framework. Web sphere analysis enables the study of communicative actions and relations between web producers and users developmentally over time. In particular, it is focused on analyzing the evolving set of hyperlinked and co-produced structures supporting online action that manifest and enable the production, inscriptions and experience of cyberculture - with a myriad of social, political and cultural dimensions.

Two contrasting case studies are presented. The first case, based on the 2002 U.S. federal elections, illustrates the use of the approach to study foreseeable forms of online action in an anticipated web sphere-- the key nodes, parameters and growth of which could be largely predicted. In the second case, the unanticipated events of September 11, 2001, resulted in the nearly instantaneous emergence of a rapidly evolving, complex web sphere that enabled many forms of unexpected social and political action. Systems supporting web sphere analysis, developed by the research group, will be demonstrated. These systems include software and approaches supporting the dynamic identification of Web sites for potential inclusion within a web sphere; collecting robust archives of Web sites over time; systematic Web-based analysis of online structures supporting political and social action; open-ended annotation and indexing of Web sites under examination; and management and presentation of archived material in research presentations.

Steven Schneider is Visiting Associate Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Associate Professor at SUNY Institute of Technology, and Co-Director of, a research group focused on analyzing large-scale archives of web objects. Schneider co-directed the development and implementation of two Web archives for the U.S. Library of Congress: the Election 2002 Web Archive and the September 11 Web Archive. He is co-editor of, a Web site that tracks and analyzes developments on the Web in the political sphere,, and was founding editor of, a site focused on the role of the Internet in the 2000 election. Currently, he is on the coordinating committee of a project conducting comparative analyses of the role of the Internet in national elections around the world. Recent and forthcoming publications have appeared in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Javnost - The Public, New Media & Society, and the Electronic Journal of Communications, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Schneider holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he completed a dissertation examining the use of UseNet discussion groups to create an informal zone of the public sphere, and an M.A. in Communication from the Annenberg School.

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