Faculty members and students from the School of Information Studies (iSchool) will be presenting and discussing their research at the annual iConference, held this year from March 25 – 28 in the United Kingdom at the University of Sheffield and hosted by the Information School at Sheffield and the iSchool at Northumbria University.

The gathering brings together researchers from information and library science schools across the globe for a week of sharing and learning through paper sessions, poster presentations, talks, tours, and special events. The participating schools are all members of the iSchools Organization a collective of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field.

Session for Interaction and Engagement

Assistant Professor Jeff Hemsley, along with Bryce C. Newell from the University of Kentucky and Michael Katell from the University of Washington, will host a pre- and post-conference Session for Interaction and Engagement on Monday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 28. The session is called ALPR DataDive: The Visualization and Analysis of Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Databases – from Data Science to Data Ethics. The session is designed to allow participants to explore, analyze, and visualize automated license plate recognition databases from the Boston, Seattle, and Oakland police departments. The growing ability of law enforcement to easily and affordably draw information-rich insights from the surveillance data they collect implicates important social, political, and ethical concerns. The purpose of these sessions is to provide scholars access to ALPR data and to provide an interactive and collaborative opportunity for scholars from multiple disciplines to investigate the relevant social, technical, and ethical ramifications through data visualization, data analysis, and ethical/policy-based analysis. More information about the ALPR DataDive.

Conference Sessions

Jeff Hemsley and Ph.D. student Sikana Tanupabrungsun will present their paper, Dribbble: Exploring the Concept of Viral Events on an Art World Social Network Site at the Completed Papers 3 session in the Social Media track on Monday, March 26. While virality is a much-studied topic on popular social media sites, it has been rarely explored on sites like Dribbble, a social networking site for artists and designers. Using a mixed-method approach, Hemsley and Tanupabrungsun explore virality from a user-centric perspective.

Ph.D. student Bryan Dosono and eight other collaborators will present their paper, Diversifying the Next Generation of Information Scientists: Six Years of Implementation and Outcomes for a Year-Long REU Program at the Completed Papers 4 session in the Current Issues track on Monday, March 26. The paper examines the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3), a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the U.S. designed to address underrepresentation in the information sciences. i3 is a year-long, cohort-based program that prepares undergraduate students for graduate school in information science and is rooted in a research and leadership development curriculum. Using data from six years of i3 cohorts, the researchers will present a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the program in terms of student learning, research production, and graduate school enrollment.

Assistant Professor Yun Huang and Ph.D. student Qunfang Wu will present their paper, Understanding Interactions Between Municipal Police Departments and the Public on Twitter in the Competed Papers 12 session in the Social Media track on Wednesday, March 28. In this paper, Huang and Wu collected nearly 10,000 Tweets from 16 municipal police department official Twitter accounts within 6 months in 2015 and annotated them into different strategies and topics. They further examined the association between tweet features (e.g., hashtags, mentions, content) and user interactions (favorites and retweets) by using regression models. Their findings provide insights into how to improve interactions between the police and the public.

Jeff Hemsley and Sikana Tanupabrungsun along with Olga Boichak and Sam Jackson, both Ph.D. students at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, will present their paper, Automated Diffusion? Bots and their Influence During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election in the Completed Papers 12 session in the Social Media track on Wednesday, March 28. This paper presents an initial effort aimed at understanding the disparate roles of bots in diffusion of political messages on Twitter. Having collected over 300 million tweets from candidates and the public from the U.S. presidential election, the researchers used three OLS regression models to explore the strategic advantages of different types of automated accounts. 

Assistant Professor Bei Yu and MS alumna Yihan Yu will present their paper Auto-Tracking Social Discussions on Corporate Facebook Page: A Case Study on Starbucks in the Completed Papers 12 session in the Social Media track on Wednesday, March 28. Their study proposed and validated a topic modeling-based approach for auto-tracking customer dialog on social media, using Starbucks as a case study because of its pioneering social media practice in the service industry. A topic model was fit based on nearly 150,000 customer comments posted to Starbucks’ Facebook page in 2013. This model was able to identify not only business-related topics, such as customer responses to marketing campaigns, but also controversial topics regarding community involvement and corporate social responsibility. 

Assistant Professor Lu Xiao and Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science graduate student Niraj Sitaula will present their paper, Sentiments in Wikipedia Articles for Deletion Discussions in the Preliminary Papers 10 session in the Social Media track. Wikipedia provides a discussion forum, namely the Article for Deletion forum, for people to deliberate about whether or not an article should be deleted from the site. In this paper, Xiao and Sitaula present an interesting correlation between the outcomes of these discussions and the number of sentiments in the comments with different intensity. They performed sentiment analysis on over 37,000 discussions and explored the relationship between outcomes of the discussion and sentiments in the comments. 

Poster Sessions

Jeff Hemsley and three collaborators will present their poster, The viral diffusion of campaign messages about political issues during the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Poster Session 1 on Monday, March 26. For this poster abstract, Hemsley and his research team highlight part of their analysis of social media use by presidential candidates, specifically examining the frequency with which presidential candidates tweeted about particular issues and how the public responded by retweeting.

Ph.D. student Bryan Dosono and three collaborators will present their poster, Finding a Future Beyond the Field: Exploring ICT-Mediated Practices of Student Athletes in Poster Session 1 on Monday, March 26. Their preliminary research design explores the life of college student athletes and their use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they plan their transition beyond graduation.

Undergraduate student Alexis Ho Liu and five collaborators will present their poster, A Study of ELL Adult’s Use of Mobile Communication Applications: an Examination of Tie Strength. This study begins to examine the problems that surround the usability and design of mobile communication applications for E.L.L (English Language Learner) immigrant adults in the United States by looking at the intent of this population when using phones. Participants conducted this research as part of the iSchool Inclusion Institute.

Doctoral Colloquium

Professor and Assistant Dean for Research Kevin Crowston will host the day-long Doctoral Colloquium on Sunday, March 25. This invitation-only event provides doctoral students the opportunity to present their work to senior faculty and engage with one another in a setting that is informal but that allows for the robust intellectual exchanges. Students receive feedback on their dissertation, career paths, and other areas from participating faculty and student peers.