Information Science Breakfast Series

Spring 2012

The Breakfast Series are a venue for faculty members, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students to get together and share their research experiences in Information Science.

Presentations of complete projects, practice talks, and discussions about half-baked ideas are all legitimate ways to present your work in an informal environment.

Past semester's schedules can be found here: Fall 2010 | Spring 2011 | Fall 2011

Present: If you want to present your project, give a practice talk before going to a conference or get feedback on your research ideas at the Breakfast Series, contact Victoria Sosik (vschwanda@cs.cornell.edu).

Spring 2012 Schedule: Wednesday 10:00-11:00am | 301 College Avenue | Large Conference Room

DatePresenterTalk Information
Feb. 1Lindsay Reynolds
iConference Practice Talk


Madeline Smith
CSCW Practice Talk
The Effect of Communication Channel and Visual Awareness Display on Coordination in Online Tasks

Going to College and Staying Connected: Communication Between College Freshmen and Their Parents
For many first-year college students in their late teen years, communicating with parents provides crucial social support. When going to college involves moving away from home for the first time, students and their parents must rely on technologies to keep communication channels open. We studied the ways in which college freshmen communicate with their parents and the various communication technologies they use. Interviews with nineteen first-year students at a major United States university revealed insights into students' perspectives of their communication and relation- ships with parents. We found students to use a variety of tools to connect with their parents and identified some considerations they make when choosing tools. Furthermore, the use of these communication tools played a significant role in mediating students' social and emotional closeness with, and independence from, their parents. We conclude by discussing technical and social implications for social support of students and student-parent relationships.
Feb. 8 Wei Dong


Gilly Leshed
CSCW Practice Talks
One Piece at a Time: Why Video-Based Communication is Better for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

We compared the effects of three computer mediated communication (CMC) channels (text, audio, and video) on how people performed an appointment-scheduling task. The task involved a grounding and a conflict resolution component. The results showed that video conferencing supported participant dyads in reaching a consensus that had better balanced performance between the dyads only when task difficulty was high and when there were more inherent conflicts in the task. Participants across the three CMC conditions also demonstrated different patterns of conversation dynamics during information exchange and negotiation. Mediation analysis showed that in video-based communication, strategies of exchanging less information at a time predicted higher levels of negotiation, which in turn predicted smaller performance differences in high conflict conditions. The results suggested that the design and use of communication technologies for remote conflict resolution should promote the strategy of exchanging information in small pieces, which could better support subsequent negotiation and foster a sense of fairness.

Metaphors for Social Relationships in 3D Virtual Worlds

A number of conceptual metaphors have been previously suggested for identity management, including, for example, theatre stage, onion layers, and identity segments. Based on an analysis of 30 in-depth interviews with Second Life residents, we examine the extent to which these metaphors can be used to explain experiences of social relationships in and across virtual and material worlds. The data suggest that these metaphors are relevant to social interactions in and across virtual and material environments: individuals per-form on a stage to and with others, they gradually reveal layers of themselves, and they distinguish between segments of their identity in different social situations. At the same time, these metaphors do not explain all experiences, pointing to future research on virtual environments, social relationships, and identity management.
Feb. 15   
Feb. 22 Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil
Practice Job Talk
Language as Influence(d)

What effect does language have on people, and what effect do people have on language? The answers to these questions can help shape the future of social-media systems by bringing a new understanding of communication and collaboration between users.

I will describe two of my efforts to address these fundamental problems computationally, exploiting very large-scale textual and social data. The first project uncovers previously unexamined contextual biases that people have when determining which opinions to focus on, using Amazon.com helpfulness votes on reviews as a case study to evaluate competing theories from sociology and social psychology. The second project leverages insights from psycho- and socio-linguistics and embeds them into a novel computational framework in order to provide a new understanding of how key aspects of social relations between individuals are embedded in (and can be inferred from) their conversational behavior. In particular, I will discuss how power differentials between interlocutors are subtly revealed by how much one individual immediately echoes the linguistic style of the person they are responding to.

This talk includes joint work with Susan Dumais, Michael Gamon, Jon Kleinberg, Gueorgi Kossinets, Lillian Lee and Bo Pang.
Feb. 29Jeremy BirnholtzGrindr: Managing Social Identities Using Location-Aware Mobile Applications Among Men Who Have Sex With Men

The use of location- and network-aware mobile communication tools has changed the way people interact and socialize both online and in the physical world, by affording novel opportunities for interaction, coordination and meeting others with similar interests or who are nearby. At the same time, however, increased sharing of information about location, friends and identity also constrains anonymity and the flexibility it affords in exploring and managing one's identity. These effects are particularly salient for potentially stigmatized populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM), who may benefit from using such technologies to meet others like them, but also struggle with how to reveal information about themselves without being publicly "outed" or otherwise exposed in potentially harmful or humiliating ways. In this breakfast session, I will describe my emerging interest in identity management using location-aware applications in this community, and share some preliminary data. My goal is a highly participatory session to generate discussion about important issues worth exploring, methodological and ethical concerns, and other feedback.
Mar. 7Hrönn Brynjarsdóttir Information Technology in the Icelandic Fishery

To build truly effective information technology (IT), we need to think beyond the idea of IT as a catchall panacea and engage with the socio-cultural context in which our systems exist. In the Icelandic fishing industry, IT has embodied a promise of increased safety and productivity. However, the increased efficiency has accelerated what may become an unsustainable practice of overfishing. Similarly, new work practices associated with IT are at the center of a disconnect between fishers and natural resource monitoring entities in spite of both camps wanting to work towards preserving the resource they rely on for their livelihood. In this talk I will describe some of the emerging themes that are coming out of fieldwork done in Iceland in the past two years. Among the themes are issues of governance and IT, the changes of representation of fish/nature with the influx IT and communication in/around/besides IT. This work is still in progress, so I will be delighted to get feedback from colleagues at this point in time.
Mar. 14Noah SnavelyThe Distributed Camera

We live in a world of ubiquitous imagery, in which the number of images at our fingertips is growing at a seemingly exponential rate. These images come from a wide variety of sources, including Google Maps and related sites, webcams, and millions of photographers around the world uploading billions and billions of images to photo-sharing websites. Taken together, these sources of imagery can be thought of as constituting a distributed camera capturing the entire world at unprecedented scale, and continually documenting its cities, mountains, buildings, people, and events. In this talk I will talk about how we might use this distributed camera as a fundamental new tool for science, engineering, and environmental monitoring, and how a key problem is *calibration* -- determining the exact location, orientation, and time of each photograph, and relating it to all other photos, in an efficient, automatic way. I will describe our ongoing work on new computer vision algorithms for solving this calibration problem. I will also discuss how we can use the wealth of other geographic and geometric information on the Internet, such as Google Earth models, GIS databases, and building floorplans, to aid in image understanding and reconstruction tasks.
Mar. 21 SPRING BREAK 
Mar. 28 Nick ChenSupporting Active Reading With Multiple Slate Devices

Studies of how students and professionals read describe a complex mix of activities that support a variety of navigational, organizational, and cognitive needs. Researchers have pointed out that paper documents tend to be good for this combination of activities by providing physically independent reading and writing surfaces. This talk presents a new reading system consisting of an extensible number of slate devices, which provide an electronic analog to the independent reading and writing surfaces of paper. Our work on the system includes the electronics design for the custom reading devices, the development of new interaction techniques that unify these devices, and the creation of the underlying system infrastructure using cloud-based services. We tested the system in extended, in-situ deployments with PhD students in the humanities who successfully used the system for activities that were traditionally performed on paper. Users also leveraged the electronic functionality present in the system, finding the system superior to paper in many respects. Our research demonstrates that the composition of multiple computing devices can be used to provide new capabilities without sacrificing the unique functionality of each device.
Apr. 4 Thomas Hogenhaven Lean Experimentation

It is hard to estimate the effect of changes made to websites and online communities. Many features are programmed, but never used. Through lean experimentation, it is possible to use proxies such as emails, surveys and advertisement to estimate the effect of ideas before coding anything. This gives validated learning about underlying assumptions and reduces waste.
Apr. 11Felicia Wu SongWoman, Mother Blogger: Social Media and the Re-Negotiation of Identity

While public and scholarly attention to the blogosphere has mainly focused on political and news blogs, a burgeoning mom-blogging industry is a rapidly growing in its economic influence and emerging as a powerful means of personal redefinition and challenging prevailing cultural scripts about motherhood. Analyzing data from four participant-observations of women's blogging conferences, I will show how mom bloggers are blurring the boundaries between the traditionally divergent claims of authenticity and market logic. In particular, I will discuss how conferences function as sites where mom bloggers problematize and seek validation within their delegitimized identities as women, as mothers, as bloggers. While many hope that the technology of mom blogs are able to help women find their formerly silenced voices and empower them to help other women in a radically new way, this paper argues that such transformation is complicated by the degree to which the technology ultimately facilitates the abilities of corporations and marketers to co-opt women's sense of their own identities and their experiences to benefit commercial ends.
Apr. 18 Núria Casellas & Thomas R. BruceLinked Legal Data

The application of Linked Open Data (LOD) principles to legal information (URI naming of resources, assertions about named relationships between resources or between resources and data values, and the possibility to easily extend, update and modify these relationships and resources) could facilitate a novel aggregation of legislative, regulatory, and case-law materials. With the Linked Legal Data project, we intend to enhance access to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) through the development of an RDF dataset with CFR data regarding structure, vocabulary, definitions, obligations, etc., and to share and link its contents to other collections of information worldwide. We are thus exploring a number of techniques based on the development and the reuse of RDF product taxonomies (NAICS and UNSPSC), the application of semantic matching algorithms between these RDF product resources and CFR content (Mapping Task), the detection of product-related terms and relations (Vocabulary Extraction Task), obligations and product definitions (Definition and Obligations Extraction Tasks).

From these results, we will build LOD-based applications to improve navigation, discovery and aggregation of the material in the CFR, possibly enabling the development of regulatory information management applications for products.

This work is still in progress and results are preliminary, it would benefit from feedback, comments and discussion from colleagues.
Apr. 25 Maria HaakanssonSimple living, family life, and ICT

In my talk, I would like to take the opportunity to present myself, and the research that I am conducting at Cornell as part of my post-doctoral studies. Drawing on recent years' emerging research on 'Sustainable HCI', I am currently in the middle of interviewing families with children who are voluntarily trying to live 'simply' of concern for the environment and for wanting to increase their quality of life. One goal of the interview study is to learn about their simple living practices, and to better understand the role of IT in their everyday family life. Another goal is to use the findings as inspiration for design for more 'ordinary' families who wants to live more sustainably, both from an environmental and personal perspective. I will bring up some early hints towards results, and describe how this study is meant to fit into a larger project of designing IT tools/services for sustainability. Because of the preliminary nature of this work, I would be happy and very grateful for any comments and advice for future directions!
May 2 Xuan Zhao
CHI Practice Talk
It's Complicated: How Romantic Partners Use Facebook

Romantic partners face issues of relational development including managing information privacy, tension between individual and relational needs, and accountability to existing friends. Prior work suggests that affordances of social media might highlight and shape these tensions; to explore this, we asked 20 people to reflect daily for two weeks on feelings and decisions around their own and others' Facebook use related to their relationships. Most generally, we find that tensions arise when romantic partners must manage multiple relationships simultaneously because Facebook audiences are so present and so varied. People also engage in subtle negotiation around and appropriation of Facebook's features to accomplish both personal and relational goals. By capturing both why people make these decisions and how Facebook's affordances support them, we expect our findings to generalize to many other social media tools and to inform theorizing about how these tools affect relational development.