Preliminary study of an observatory for CSCW scientific publications
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Preliminary study of an observatory for CSCW scientific publications Preliminary study of an observatory for CSCW scientific publications Document Transcript

  • Preliminary study of an observatory for CSCW scientific publications Jorge Santos1 , Hugo Paredes2 , Benjamim Fonseca2 , António Correia1 1 UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal, {jomgsantos, ajcorreia1987} 2 GECAD/UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal, {benjaf, hparedes} Keywords CSCW, Groupware, Observatory, Scientific Publications, Scientometrics, SGBD, Databases. ABSTRACT This paper aims to present an emerging observatory for scientific publications related to the field of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Some repositories are studied and compared in their generic composition, matching features to achieve a general perspective on the current paradigm in the bibliographic metadata handling. The multidisciplinary nature of CSCW field is also represented, giving an overview of research domains. At the implementation level, collaboration requirements are structured to provide an hypothetical view of the components that can be incorporated in the afore- mentioned scientific observatory to enhance collaboration between CSCW community members, and general public. This approach seeks to bring a semantic dimension to the quantitative data provided by conventional databases focused exclusively in scientometric indicators, as well as collaboration dynamics to classify information from journal articles, conference proceedings, or specialized books. 1. INTRODUCTION As stated by Schmidt (2009), CSCW can be understood as an interdisciplinary scientific research field that emerged from the merging of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) and Office Automation (OA), which symbolizes an intellectual movement that has gained preeminence in the study of group work dynamics in multiple application domains of Information Technology (IT). Some of this domains comprise healthcare, learning, commerce, industry, architecture, and military (Correia et al., 2011), as well as the „ludic‟ approach where interaction is frequent and socially organized (Crabtree et al., 2005). To measure the scientific production of the afore-mentioned field, we propose a participation ecosystem, analogously to the concept of Social Web (Gruber, 2008), where the research community is invited to participate collaboratively and create value through the sum of individual contributions. The value concerns to semantic data that result from cataloguing and classification processes within which participants are able to make additions and infer statistically on the information correlations. The technology created to support group work activities are commonly designated as groupware, and were conceptualized by Ellis et al. (1991) as “computer-based systems that support groups of people engaged in a common task (or goal) and that provide an interface to a shared environment”. In this sentence, software, hardware, and services can be included to support cooperative work processes. The collaboration features available in these systems can be integrated with the present observatory through various mechanisms such as a search engine to receive a set of detailed results associated to keywords introduced by users, access control to the editable data, or awareness to know the current state of performed tasks and participants in a session (Mittleman et al., 2008), integrating important characteristics such as communication, coordination, cooperation, and social regulation (Elmarzouqi et al., 2007). Communication can be associated to the exchange of messages and information among people; coordination concerns to the management of individuals, activities or resources; cooperation can symbolize a joint operation taking place in a shared space (Fuks et al., 2005); and finally, social regulation can be conceptualized as a role-based approach that provides group working guidelines to achieve a common goal. According to Ferraris & Martel (2000), it can be constituted by the following features: i) rules (work rules, norms and constraints), ii) synchronicity, iii) tools (regulative or not), iv) roles (thematic or causal), and v) objects (means of communication or product of collaboration).
  • In contrast to what is argued in the previous paragraphs, current repositories have static information deposits and only work at a non-collaborative setting. In this context, we propose an observatory to promote human intervention, non-only restricted to researchers and professionals that use this type of system to search and store bibliography-related files. This observatory can be further adapted for other scientific fields, taking data from external repositories or digital libraries and allowing to make semantic relationships between the classified information, merging the quantitative and qualitative dimensions that can be further exploited in the scientific literature. If the authenticated users want to download or purchase a specific paper or book, they will be redirected to the database system in which the publication is hosted (e.g., ACM Digital Library, Web of Science (WoS), IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, or SpringerLink libraries), from the most varied research fields. One of the main concepts related to this observatory is based on the fact that the information is in a query state where the user community can read publications, and make additions, reviews, remarks, and other actions through collaboration features that support collective participation. In this specific case, the observatory users can express opinions about a particular item in a paper and put questions about non-understandable fields, or even establish a contact for new articles. A particular attention should be given to avoid confusion between forums and digital libraries with collaboration support, due to the fact that digital libraries may include a mass participation through regulative interaction spaces (Paredes & Martins, 2011) able to moving crowds and increase knowledge within a field, as is done in communities such as Wikipedia (Panciera et al., 2009). In order to accomplish the main purposes of the present observatory, this article is divided into five distinct but interdependent sections. Following to this introductory approach, the state of the art of CSCW is briefly described based on an explanation about the theme in current application scenarios that bring multiple opportunities for intensive research. A collection of collaboration requirements for future incorporation in the observatory is schematized to support further developments, followed by the architecture and database prototype of the presented platform solution. This paper ends with an identification of possible gaps and future directions to the present work. 2. CROSS-SECTIONAL DOMAINS OF CSCW RESEARCH Groupware tools can be applied to various scientific fields, where mobility, commercial transactions on the World Wide Web (WWW), collaborative support to healthcare teams, procedural dynamics and technologies to support the current learning paradigm, and the application of virtual worlds, serious games, and social networks with a cooperative nature, may have a strategic role in the enhancement of collaborative work activities. In this context, the technological affordances present a wide set of societal application subareas for further research (Correia, 2011), including:  Mobile CSCW: the main proposal is the extension of information sharing spectrum between collaborators that need high mobility levels, and breaking down the workspace barriers. In mobile work, any place is a remote workstation that can suddenly change the spatial and temporal patterns. A set of applications for mobile devices has been developed to improve work dynamics of dispersed teams. Some approaches in the literature are PACER (Liao et al., 2010), Deep Shot (Chang & Li, 2011), and MobileMap (Herskovic et al., 2011).  Collaborative Commerce (C-Commerce): a paradigm generated by the transformation and rationalization of activities in the value chain of an organization, based on the technological support provided by Internet. This research subdomain of CSCW has been expressed efforts to implement social software and cooperative modules in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for synchronous interactions between enterprises and their consumers (Koch, 2008), supporting a mutual participation process.  Telemedicine: intended to provide medical care at distance using IT in strategic action plans where medical teams can use coordination mechanisms, and a differentiated set of physical artifacts to articulate their tasks (Bardram, 2009). In hospitals, ethnography was applied to analyze the effective use of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems by physicians to view historical records, communicate with other medical team members, and coordinate tasks with high levels of complexity (Østerlund, 2008).  Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): this cross-field of research is focused in cooperative learning mediated by IT, and the acronym dates back to the beginning of 1990s
  • (Stahl et al., 2006). Traditionally, asynchronous communication platforms are used in CSCL settings to promote this kind of learning (e.g., Moodle and Blackboard).  Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE) and Cooperative Games: the manifest expansion of communication networks allows the creation of virtual spaces that provide social interaction and dynamic cooperation between several users situated in different physical spaces. The scalability of CVE and online games “can be far greater than that of collaborative problem- solving environments or multi-user enabling systems” (Grimstead et al., 2005). The inherent collaboration capabilities of this platforms have potential to contexts such as airplane engine maintenance (Fonseca et al., 2011), healthcare (Creutzfeldt et al., 2010), and so on. 3. DIGITAL REPOSITORIES AND OBSERVATORIES: A COMPARISON There are two variants for the information storage, namely the locally stored information, as well as cloud information (which is stored “somewhere” on the Internet and is available to access whenever the user want). The locally stored and cloud information types can be associated with the concepts of repository and observatory, respectively. According to Fusco & Romani (2010), a digital repository is composed by a set of articles in digital format intended to be accessed through computational means, namely local networks or Internet. In the prosecution of this sentence, it is also argued that a repository is not limited, it may exist to an unlimited number of purposes to which it is intended (e.g., institutional or local repositories). In a generic perspective, these repositories should be also prepared to receive works from any kind of fields (e.g., a financial or biological research, or exclusively in the computing domain). Some of the popular open source repositories and its general features can be outlined in Table 1, based on a comparative analysis that crosses three types of software, specifically: i) DSpace, ii) CDSWare, iii) Nou-Rau, and iv) Greenstone. The selection criteria were due to their web-based, user friendly, and open source nature. Table 1. Comparison of general features of DSpace, CDSWare, Nou-Rau and Greenstone (Adapted from Fusco & Romani, 2010) Characteristics Software DSpace CDSWare Nou-Rau Greenstone Author‟s submission    × Support more than one publication format   ×  Navigation capability through multiple data fields ×  ×  Allows advanced searches by combining metadata and full-text   × × Basic workflow mechanisms    × Metadata manipulation     Metadata standard Dublin Core Dublin Core Dublin Core Dublin Core The aim of CSCW observatory is based on the storage, collection, and visualization of CSCW-related publications. So, the main goal is not at all the entire storage of the articles in their original format, but to build a pointer to where these publications are stored. The information that is stored in an observatory is the data linked to the articles, including the author‟s name, publication year, edition data, and so on. Additionally, it is intended to classify the information according to a specific taxonomy that should be formalized in the future, in order to make possible the data classification and analysis with an appropriate granularity. This information about each publication enables participants to check its interest by reading a brief description. In the case of an interesting work, the user can follow the link to the repository where the document is stored. The advantage of this kind of system in comparison to a traditional library resides in several aspects, where one of them is the protection of copyright due to the fact that publications are not replicated in the repository. Another advantage of an observatory is the concentration of users around the qualitative data of publications, which acts in contrast to the static vision on quantitative indicators and the mere gathering of files for personal purposes.
  • 4. IMPLEMENTATION The observatory database is still at an embryonic stage, but it presents a data model for inserting a publication. Not all data is required, but to improve search and distinction of existing publications it is recommended to insert the largest number of data in order to bring granularity to data repository, and complementing it with semantic data provided by the community. In the creation of this database, some criteria were taken into account, including the multiplicity of entities and actors. For example, an institution can only have one country, but a country can have several institutions. A publication can have several authors, as well as an author can have several publications. It is in this relationship perspective that tables were divided in a dynamic structure, establishing a starting point for the following development states of the above-referred observatory. For instance, this subdivision allows situations in which an editor should not be obliged to modify the existing publications when he changes the name. This is due to the fact that the relationship allows doing this action, it is only necessary to change the field in the corresponding table. In the initial phase of database manipulation, in the programmer‟s point of view, this specific kind of relations may be something complex and confusing because multiple tables for a single publication are used. Nevertheless, this effort is compensated in performance by allowing a search performed by each of the involved entities (advanced search). 4.1. Collaboration requirements The present observatory may have a set of collaboration features to improve the work dynamics in multiple ways. Table 2 presents the requirements for the observatory based on the 3C Model (Ellis et al., 1991), mechanics of collaboration (Pinelle et al., 2003), comparison scheme for collaboration technologies (Mittleman et al., 2008), as well as content sharing collaborative features classification (Oliveira & Gerosa, 2011). Collaboration features are briefly described to give a strict perspective. Table 2. Collaboration features to introduce in CSCW’s scientific observatory Category Description Communication Semi-structured messages Allow to communicate non-routine information without rigid constraints (Malone et al., 1986) Instant messaging Real-time text-based chatting communication between two or more people (e.g., ICQ) Workspace awareness Dynamic knowledge about others‟ interaction with the task environment (Gutwin et al., 1996) Bulletin board Discussion forum so that users can share and discuss information and opinions (e.g., Usenet) Comment A written remark related to an added piece of information about classified paper attributes RSS feed Will serve to aggregate content that may be accessed by programs or aggregator sites Coordination Recent activities Contextual information about the latest actions taken by users User management Authentication feature that provides abilities to identify and control the state of logged users Report an abuse A functionality to identify unusual situations for the observatory‟s purpose (e.g., Facebook) Calendar Enable users to create a to-do list for the task management (e.g., Google Calendar) Alert mechanisms Capability to notify participants that something requires attention (Mittleman et al., 2008) Group roles Definition of work roles for the group members registered in the system (e.g., a research lab) Workflow management Manages and defines a series of tasks to be made by community members Cooperation Content search A search engine to retrieve specific data based on search criteria (Mittleman et al., 2008) Cataloguing Data registry in the observatory‟s database Classification Paper classification mechanisms based on a comprehensive taxonomy (Correia, 2011) Polling Optimized for gathering and understanding data from multiple people (Mittleman et al., 2008) Statistics Statistical inference methods for data visualization Tagging Provide means to affix keyword tags to find digital information (Mittleman et al., 2008) Recommendation system Study the users and suggest a paper according to their preferences Edit Ability to modify content or relationships (Mittleman et al., 2008) Favorites List of the best recommended articles to analyze
  • Category Description Other Universal access Degree to which the observatory work environment is available to as many people as possible User experience The way a person feels about using the system highlighting Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) 4.2. Architecture In the future development processes, there is a need to have a well-structured architecture so that a possible distribution of the code is clearly explained and supported by the community. This architecture is shown in Figure 1 and will be based on three main layers: presentation, business, and data. These layers have the responsibility to handling information between the different existing interfaces (database and web browser/desktop application):  Presentation layer: represents the connection between client interface and observatory;  Data layer: supports the information handling that is provided by data layer;  Business layer: sustains the database information handling;  Web services: experimental service to publish new publications in external applications. Figure 1. Architecture of the observatory for CSCW scientific publications 4.3. Prototype of the scientific observatory for CSCW publications The prototype shown in Figure 2 consists in a database that stores information from scientific publications that will be incorporated into the observatory. The database structure comes from the junction of several common, non-common, required, and optional information fields, based on two of the most popular bibliographic reference management systems for scientific publications (endnote and bibtex). In this context, Figure 2 represents the possible relationships between data fields that will be addressed in the creation of the CSCW observatory and subsequent data cataloguing process. In this database model, the generated tables represent the intervenient entities that are identified in a scientific publication, including the author, editor, institution, author affiliation and publication itself. These table divisions are originated from the normalization rules of Database Management System (DBMS), incorporating a parameterized registration method for different types of publication from the scientific literature. Briefly, this is the first development module that will support future implementations at a more advanced level. WebServices Database WEB Browser Presentation Layer Business Layer Desktop Application Data Layer
  • Figure 2. Prototype of the observatory’s database for CSCW scientific publications 5. FINAL REMARKS AND FUTURE WORK This paper presented the baseline for a project that will achieve a higher level of magnitude. The database is functional and the system has been specified. Its further development will focus in providing the observatory with groupware functionalities that will turn it into a CSCW dynamic system complemented by the contributions of the community. The final goal focus in providing the user community with an active role in the maintenance of the observatory, passing through the reflection phase in which the author(s) or administrator(s) place a publication in the observatory and, once introduced, the community may intervene having a space to comment and suggest corrections. An architecture was presented that provides tools that make it dynamic, with the introduction of a framework and webservices that allow external access. This observatory prototype aims to boost the concept of “scientific publications storage”, where the main target is to improve the promotion and application of existing scientific information and to concentrate the greater number of information shared over this universe. In the observatory proposal, several fields of information that identify the publications and which are used in the majority of repositories were taken into account. This information is considered as very important due to the fact that it covers a larger number of repositories.
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