Dalhousie-Elsevier Web App Design Challenge

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- About Social Media Lab -

Social Media Lab is a multi- and interdisciplinary research laboratory within the School of Information Management at Dalhousie University. The Social Media Lab studies how social media and other web 2.0 technologies are changing the ways in which people communicate and disseminate information and how these changes are impacting social, economic, and political norms and structures of our modern society. In addition, we are developing and testing new web tools and apps for discovering and visualizing information and online social networks. The broad aim of our various research initiatives is to provide decision makers with additional knowledge and insights into the behaviors and relationships of online network members, and to understand how these interpersonal connections influence our personal choices and actions.

- About Elsevier -

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include SciVerse ScienceDirect, SciVerse Scopus, Reaxys, MD Consult and Nursing Consult, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

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Dalhousie-Elsevier Web App Design Challenge

  1. 1. Dalhousie/ElsevierWeb App Design ChallengeEngaging students, inspiring innovation.
  2. 2. Dalhousie/Elsevier Web App Design ChallengeAs the world’s leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information and solutions, Elsevier is continuouslyseeking new ways to accelerate scientific information search and discovery. Through the efforts of the Elsevier DeveloperNetwork, new relationships are being forged to foster collaboration among the scientific and academic communities todevelop innovative workflow solutions that enhance researcher productivity and help solve research problems.The Challenge hackathons held by the Elsevier Developer Network, where teams of student developers are given 24 hours to develop an application. WantingHow can we improve the research experience? to create a similar event that could enrich the learning experience for hisWith 11 million full-text journal articles and book chapters, 15,000 e-books, students with a real-world problem, he engaged the Elsevier Developerover 41 million abstract and citation records, and 376 million web pages Network team to collaborate on a web app challenge. His idea was toavailable via the SciVerse® platform, it is critical to provide users with bring students together in small teams to work together over a three-intuitive means to search, find, and access the information they need to month period to develop concepts for research solutions, then build thosefurther their research. concepts into applications that would help students and researchers to improve their information discovery process. Different from traditionalTo increase collaboration efforts with these communities, the Developer hackathons, which are often a means to an end, Dr. Gruzd created the WebNetwork must create new and exciting opportunities that challenge App Design Challenge, which was a means to new beginnings.researchers, developers and students to conceptualize new ideas andprovide the resources necessary to co-create viable workflow solutions. Looking to tap into the minds of brilliant young problem solvers, the Elsevier Developer Network joined Dr. Gruzd in his mission to create a unique competition that would spark creativity and collaborationThe Strategy among the students. In this two-stage event, the Elsevier Developer Network provided access to Elsevier content and APIs (ApplicationEngage students, foster collaboration, and give them the tools to succeed. Programming Interfaces), and encouraged teams to collaborate on howStudents today live in an interactive, online world. From the way they they, as students, would address problems that currently exist withinstudy, to the way they shop, stay up to date with current events, and the traditional search model.keep in touch with friends—Apps, social networks and online informationare a big part of their everyday lives. Their perspective and collective In the first stage, teams would work together for one month toinsights into the potential for apps to improve the information search develop their concepts, then pitch them to a panel of experts in aand discovery experience could break new ground in the development poster presentation, detailing the overall design and functionality ofof powerful new workflow solutions that can accelerate science and help the application and its relevance to SciVerse users and the researchthem in their research outcomes. community at large. Each concept would be judged on its originality, feasibility, usability and suitability. Teams that advanced to the secondDr. Anatoliy Gruzd, Professor of Library and Information Science and stage would earn the unique opportunity to develop real applications,head of the Social Media Lab at Dalhousie University, learned of the based on the concepts they presented.
  3. 3. Elsevier Developer Network |The Result “ ith the advent of social networking and integrated WEnhancing the search experience —and the learning experience. multimedia, we are perpetually multitasking, we areWhat was originally conceived to be a competition between Library interacting with the online world in rapidly changingand Information Studies students became a campus-wide event that ways. Elsevier knows this, and that’s why they were soharnessed the collective intellect of the University’s diverse student keen to work with us on this project.”population. Over 50 participants represented five different schools Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, Professor of Library and Information Science,at Dalhousie ranging from Library and Information Science to Health Web App Design Challenge OrganizerInformatics and Engineering. Bringing together students from differentareas of study yielded 19 unique concepts of varying applicability. “ pps are the way to go these days. You pick and ASome addressed the relevance of search results, while others focusedon query extension and refinement, source material organization, and choose what you want, which ends up with anreference management. environment tailored to your specific needs. The best way to come up with these specific apps is to ask yourThree apps were selected as winners, each earning prizes and a stipend users about it. This is why, I think, solutions resultingto be used to further pursue the development of their concepts. To helpturn these concepts into reality, technical and product team experts from the Web App competition hold a great value …from Elsevier worked hand-in-hand with the student programmers. In solutions for researchers, by researchers.”total, 11 apps were developed, and the experience culminated with the Ozge Yeloglu, PhD Candidate,launch of the apps on the SciVerse platform. Web App Design Challenge WinnerThe event was a huge success for everyone involved. Not only hasthe SciVerse search experience been enhanced by the addition of thenew apps, but by connecting students with real-world problems, theirlearning experience was meaningfully enhanced as well.
  4. 4. For More Informationvisit developers.elsevier.com or email miji.choi@elsevier.comCover photograph by Danny Abriel

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