Christina's LIS Rant
Friday, May 30, 2008
  HCIL Symposium Workshop: Social Technology and Biodiversity: Motivation, Credibility, & Community
HCIL Symposium Workshop: Social Technology and Biodiversity: Motivation, Credibility, & Community
Held May 30, 2008 at University of Maryland.

This was a great workshop. I really hope my presentation was somewhat helpful. I learned a lot. I might add more notes if I feel energetic...

This first bit is from people's introductions. I assume librarians in the life sciences and others would be more familiar with these tools than I since I mostly focus on physical sciences

Marie Studer-
EOL -- (at Harvard) education and outreach director (formerly chief scientist at Earthwatch institute) -- Earthwatch promotes/supports citizen science -- "engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment". International focus (better known in Kenya than u.s.). emphasis now on sustainability science. Working with host country. Slow breaking into the technology world -- could really benefit, but can’t spend the (it) dev money or time. Expeditions (paying public), partnerships with corporations for funding (employees can see the impact of the work they do on the environment), also fellowships for scientists and students.
Challenges -- delivering outcomes, maintaining the experience and building community (people want to continue engagement after retuning home -- but sometimes with scientists not with earth watch).

Duane Degler -- interaction design, information architecture (taxonomies,etc), works with journals, etc, who want to create communities... "trading treaties", "embedded cross relationships" enrich a site by embedding things from other sites in return the other sites get brand recognition and display space, and then a third site where information can be gathered

Alice Preston -- Aluka (subsidiary of the Mellon Foundation) -- sort of the JSTOR for primary materials in Africa. Botanists from Africa can’t get to their own specimens (taken back to Europe) researchers in Madagascar took specimens back to US. working to digitize, 60 partners, 250k specimens online, and additional contextual materials... now going to South America, new partners, specimen sheets are quite large so impt to design a zooming viewer and scan at 600dpi, also cultural sites and virtual reality walk arounds, and media ... interface issues bcs people of very diverse interests (botanists and art historians and...), trying to license to libraries who are really sort of unsure about the audience (should be botanists, not African Studies)

Cyndy’s LepTree Project -- NSF large scale projects to tackle a large part of the tree of life, 180k species in Lepidoptera, but they are more interested in a higher level (family?), they are sequencing species and tracking that, visualizing the tree (with links out to various places including GeneBank), Arizona’s site to get scientists to write summaries of their model organisms, leptree is now caretaking the Lepidoptera section, with a template, images of wing ... "voucher" -- actual object to which you can tie a glossary term or structure or gene to as a reference (but storing wings in alcohol degrades color, etc., so the image becomes important as a voucher). slow but steady growth, request to register projects to create a directory (people think they want it, but not used), other request for protocols but not a lot of people have contributed protocols. As a baseline look for co-authorship increases, the number of authors has increased -- but these are probably coming from the molecular biologists working in the area

(taxonomy as a team sport -- book)
Nina Chkhenkeli-- NBII, LIS background, working more now in user experience and interface,
info infrastructure (people processes procedures tools facilities technology), nbii coordinated by the biological informatics office of usgs’s biological resources discipline, to effectively manage resources need access to scientific information, and federally funded scientific information. not only data, but analysis tools to support decision making. three types of nodes -- entry points -- regional (tie to geography, in regions), thematic (issue oriented), infrastructure (toolkit), new my.nbii.gov -- community and collaboration tool. metadata program.

Bruce Kiesel -- Thomson Reuters (came from Biosis and worked closely with zoo record (now goes back to 1864)). talking mainly about researchrid.com

Jonathan Adams, ConserveOnline.org, Nature Conservancy, started with an issue of an invasive weed -- someone was about to repeat the mistake that others had already learned from, so needed to better collaborate to share strategies with other groups facing the same threats. most activity in workspaces -- places a small group of members can work privately, then also archive of gray literature that previously never made it out for broader use. Now predominantly US and Canada but trying to be more international. Design idea to build all on open source so they can give away design for local use in other countries.

Tricia Jones- Animal Diversity Web (Univ Mich Museum of Zoo), original audience an undergrad, non-major audience, has become quite popular internationally, searchable encyclopedia about natural history of animals. inquiry driven learning. structured databases. working on structured query. 42 different classes at 35 universities -- w/editing by instructors and then by staff.

Ruth Timme- CIPRES- Cyberinfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research. www.phylo.org from her doc work at UT. Phyloinformatics -- CS + math + bio- big datasets for systematists and also for cs researchers to use to test their algorithms. barrier: software products on individual computers to do large phylogenic analyses -- they now have a portal . systematists go through lots of different software tools so they are trying to streamline the workflow

Ann Juneau -- Smithsonian Libraries, EOL, working with this problem...

Mark Miller -- San Diego Supercomputer Center, next generation tools for biology, science is the driver, user sdsc resources in support of science, CIPRES (highly skilled, very technical, 200 heavy users) next generation biology workbench (32k users, educators -- college, stability is most important). They’re trying to hook to the various data sources, to create a framework, take from data anywhere, tools anywhere, registry/framework, to discovery portal to users anywhere. PISE (Pasteur Institute ? Environment) is a typical way to build bio tools.

Greg Riccardi -- iSchool, Florida State, Morphbank image repository, image has a context -- content metadata, most impt thing for them is the metadata -- the collection is very carefully curated, user target -- biology researchers, for people who do research which involves images. Recording support for scientific inference -- people wanted to support science using large pictures, but traditional publishing venues couldn’t support this use, also wanted to search, and allow annotations to show the features that support the science, collections to show relationships between images, can get much better search bcs declared features (authoritative metadata) which are more reliable than inferences like what Google is forced to do based on info it has. He started with experimental physics -- community was self enforcing for adding the metadata that couldn’t be done automatically. He’s found that the shopping cart idea to build collections has been very helpful.

Patrick Clemins, AAAS Fellow at NSF

Jim Edwards, Executive Director of Encyclopedia of Life, web pages for all 1.8 million species on earth (so far described, plus more yet to be discovered), pages have public side and authenticated sided which is authenticated by curators who are expert in that taxa. Public submission side is expected next year. Community building workshops and workshops to help build consensus on issues related to the science. They are focusing on species, and tree of life folks are looking higher. Working with synthetic (?) looking to see what new science can be made by synthesizing info across pages. Now looking at a phylo??? browser. Biodiversity heritage library -- effort to digitize all of their heritage print info related to biodiversity, all materials are freely available. Challenges -- has to be global, can’t just be Anglophone or northern hemisphere, need to engage a diversity of users, interoperability with other projects (including social and semantic interoperability). Making some regional encyclopedias of life.

From here down are the invited social technology presenters

Jenny Preece- Motivating Participation: Encyclopedia of Life
Stages of participation: a synthesis of 59 articles
(there is a massive body of work, some on older communities, but we can still learn from them for SCTs)
- first experience: venturing in
- returning & becoming a contributor
- being a regular contributor
- being a leader

designing software but also designing sociability
for EOL
who are the users and what do they want to do? professional and amateur scientists, students (K-12), general public including occasional visitors.

First experience
- attractive relevant content (preece 00) value is clear (rogers 03)
- easy to access and usability (rainie & tancer), preece
- legitimate peripheral participation (lave & wenger) start by reading and then jump in, reading and lurking is acceptable (nonnecke & preece)
- influenced by others (diffusion of innovations rogers)

Some feedback on EOL -- could give some curated tours, show why it’s important to login, maybe a different interface for education and enthusiasts who are not scientists, show who else is

Returning and becoming a contributor
- legitimate peripheral participant same cites + schroer & hertel 08
- content updated/discussion regular (preece 00)
- content and presentation meets needs same cites + cheng & vassileva 05

feedback on EOL -- integrating community in to more of the pages

Being a regular contributor
- sense of community Putnam 00, kim, 00, vassileva, 03; trust wu & tsang, 08
- support the group collective effort model (CEU) Karau & Williams
- altruism and reciprocity, helps motivate older adults (so can use this to get retirees maybe to participate)
- reciprocity
- extrinsic rewards
- develop reputation [very interesting -- she cites Latour & Wolgar wrt reward system for publishing in science, and credibility gave them credit to have power and efficacy]
- maintain status "information for status creation & celebration" Lampel & Bhalla, 07)

Being a Leader
- prolific contributor, also those who add info in from the traditional media (Himel boim, Gleave, Smith)
- synthesizes ideas (cassell et al 06)
- passionate -- positive and negative valence of emotions
- identifiable -- reveal coherent online identity
- credible -- credibility leads to leadership
- needs rewards -- practitioner comment

Jen Golbeck
(spire, semantic sharing of ecological information?)
not real relationships on social networking sites, but they are good at supporting existing relationships
the "right" answer for a query might not be the authoritative or "correct" but what people who think like me think is the right answer

From her 2-year study of the growth and social dynamics
media matters -- networks follow a linear growth pattern where the slope shifts in response to media events.
snapshot of the network contains the entire history -- people don’t leave, or if they leave they do not delete relationships or close their accounts, disincentive to remove relationships
greater non-networking purpose leads to less social connectivity, encourage the social network part for its own sake, too, not just to join to get to the science data, for example
early adopters + continued activity = higher centrality
how do people trust
- issues trust vs. authority (she’s talking about really web information not scientific info with established authority)
- is trust just similarity
(comment from NSF guy -- that the difference in links btwn linked in and facebook is really community expectation/definition of what the link means, not the technology)
trust based system is doing *better* than similarity based
- agreement on extremes, largest single difference really impact, subject’s propensity to trust

her system she built for her dissertation gives recommended ratings based on trust and on how trusted others in the system rated it via some social network measure
- this works best where user is most different from average
- reviews are ordered by how much she trusts

Cyndy’s question: trust organizations (sort of)
Cyndy’s question2: .. answer example Avogadro (?) site for Ghost Script, where you have seeded with core people and their relationships and trust ratings, and that propagates to the ratings of their contacts

Nathan Bos
Science of Collaboratories
seven types of collaboratories (see JCMC article for complete list)
1) shared instrument
2) community data system
3) open community contribution system
virtual community of practice
virtual learning community
matrix tools, data, knowledge(new findings)
vs. aggregating or co-creating

they looked at collaboratories as an economic or game theoretic lens with public goods problems

example of community data systems
- got participation by the journals requiring submission prior to accepting articles
- worked well because it tied into the existing culture and rewards system of science
- also wasn’t requiring new knowledge

example 2 ZFin, aggregating knowledge
- database for the zebrafish model organism
- no tangible rewards, no academic ‘credit’ for depositing data
- successful "because of George" -- leader and founder
- successful because of strong culture of collaboration and mutual support, former students of primary researcher formed an initial core of community has greatly expanded since.

-startup -- scaling, visualization
- audience -- developers who were taking different users into account
- culture of sharing data, , institutional cultures where no support for cross-discipline collab, different cultures btwn scientists and citizens,
- rewards -- mis-matched with academic rewards, competing expectations at home institutions
- intellectual property barriers
- feedback but avoiding controversy -- evolution controversy
- staying relevant, authoritative but keeping up overtime

activation -- editors as trainers
face to face
motivated to keep diverse people together
proof of concept, doing things first
e-mail suggestions
comments as teaching opportunities

how do we structure training and workshops so that we get regular users
- Jen’s idea -- why not make it like a video game so you learn by playing, and you start with level 1, and then can move to more difficult later
- Jenny’s comment -- MedlinePlus was like this -- the levels have to be permeable and not hard divisions

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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