Information overload for communities of practice


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A study of emergency management professionals with emphasis on medical and public health done for NLM. These are slides of a paper presented at Web2008 during ICIS 2008 and you can request a copy of the paper from me directly as well as other work in this area. Check my website for the full NLM report

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Information overload for communities of practice

  1. 1. The Future of Professional Communities of Practice (based upon a study of Emergency Management Professionals concerned with Medicine and Public Health) Murray Turoff & Starr Roxanne Hiltz Information Systems Department New Jersey Institute of Technology Message me for copies of these slides [email_address] Full NLM report (169 pages) at website http:/
  2. 3. Expose the issues and requirements for information Seeking Behavior in Emergency Preparedness and Management with Emphases on Medical Practices and Public Health <ul><li>One round Delphi! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Networking Inquiry”: snowball sample starting with about 15 names </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Did not go on to ask for solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative Study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early Delphi studies of qualitative information gathering show 3 to 5 in any specific professional area are sufficient to get underlying rationales. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. Participants/Contributors <ul><li>1. Emergency Practitioners and Coordinators (7) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Health Related Professionals (10) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All had some EPM responsibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3. Researchers/Academics, Librarians (10) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3.1 Librarians (3) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3.2 Academics or Researchers (7) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4. International Professionals (7) </li></ul><ul><li>Text Responses organized by these five groupings </li></ul><ul><li>Total: 34 out of approximately 100 asked </li></ul><ul><li>Participants/Contributors Listed by name and position in final report except for three who wished to remain anonymous </li></ul>
  4. 5. SELF REPORT PROVIDED in MSWORD <ul><li>1. Your roles and experience in Emergency Preparedness and Management </li></ul><ul><li>2. Current Sources </li></ul><ul><li>3. Desired Sources (missing and difficult to find) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Organizing Information, Knowledge or Wisdom: How would you like it done? </li></ul><ul><li>5. Current outstanding examples of sources of material </li></ul>
  5. 6. SELF REPORT Cont. <ul><li>6. Roles of Libraries and Librarians </li></ul><ul><li>7. Effect of Extreme Events </li></ul><ul><li>8. Your critical topic areas </li></ul><ul><li>9. International Considerations </li></ul><ul><li>10. Others to include in study </li></ul><ul><li>12. NLM experience (if not mentioned in prior answers) </li></ul><ul><li>13. Anything we left out </li></ul>
  6. 7. Results on Websites (many hundreds in report) <ul><li>Top three websites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. CDC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Lessons Learned Information Sharing System http:// </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. ReliefWeb </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open source grass roots community efforts (six examples in report), example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One of the practitioners who responded, Gregory Banner of DHHS, has been collecting useful websites for many years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1600 websites categorized, indexed, and updated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>About 78 pages of material </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These are professionals in the area and not librarians undertaking these efforts </li></ul>
  7. 8. Information Overload is the most frequent concern <ul><li>Unfortunately I have found that it takes somebody knowledgeable (me) to go through all the various resources and pull out what is useful. </li></ul><ul><li>I am currently unable to avoid information overload. </li></ul><ul><li>There in fact is a significant overload of information with insufficient concrete actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Gray Literature on Specifics </li></ul>
  8. 9. Sample Observations I <ul><li>Many types of gray literature are considered critical to practitioners and some of them are not collected and organized in any systematic library science approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Static indexes are not going to satisfy the users at the practitioner level and even the academic level because the field is evolving and changing rapidly. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently literature in this area is very scattered, especially the gray literature. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Sample Observations II <ul><li>Users have turned to social networks to help alleviate information overload and are attracted to services that support the underlying social networks. </li></ul><ul><li>Users want to have control over their abilities to filter and organize their material. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Sample Observations III <ul><li>There are too many sources competing for being “the source&quot; and this lack of organizational cooperation is a major challenge to overcome. </li></ul><ul><li>Grassroots based services worldwide are undergoing rapid development. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Proposed Solution for Communities of Practice <ul><li>User controlled Recommender System </li></ul><ul><li>A few thousand vetted users in Emergency preparedness and management </li></ul><ul><li>A many thousand set of users and voters </li></ul><ul><li>Users categorized in specific specialty areas of EP&M verified by collaborative tagging and index expansion </li></ul><ul><li>Could apply to any community of practice or academic community </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Will use comparative preferences on importance of documents by all users </li></ul><ul><li>Preferences resulting may be viewed via specialty areas of voters. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Design Features 1 <ul><li>Documents to be included are nominated by any vetted contributor in the field of emergency preparedness and management. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assigned to one or more specialty areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Users are classified by their professional specialty area confirmed by collaborative tagging as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Comments on the utility can be made and attached to the document as a threaded discussion thread </li></ul>
  13. 14. Design Features 2 <ul><li>Anyone can vote on the utility of the document and change their vote based upon the discussion changing their viewpoint. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Votes are shown distributed by the specialty areas of the voters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Searches also possible by vote and specialty area </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organizing votes by area of expertise of voter is borrowed from a number of Delphi studies that did the same thing. </li></ul><ul><li>Using paired comparisons allows one to use Thurstone’s Law of Comparative Judgment to take individual rankings and create a group interval scale (work by Connie White). </li></ul>
  14. 15. Design Features 3 <ul><li>Individual users can post their own list of what they consider the most useful documents </li></ul><ul><li>Users can look up documents by specialty area of the voters and the resulting ratings </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative tagging should be implemented to continually update and expand the subject index. This will be an evolving free key word/phrase index </li></ul><ul><li>Goal is a collaborative intelligence system or a collaborative knowledge base in terms of current jargon. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Conclusion <ul><li>The place to look for innovative opportunities is in what users are doing to try to convert poorly designed systems to their needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Information Systems and Information Science seem to be loosing their role in applications understanding and development by abstracting users out of the efforts at design </li></ul>
  16. 17. Reference for Full Report <ul><li>Full Report at (167 pages) </li></ul><ul><li>At </li></ul><ul><li>Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz (2008), Information Seeking Behavior and Viewpoints of Emergency Preparedness and Management professionals concerned with Health and Medicine , Report to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), March 6, 2008. ( PDF download , ~1 megabyte) </li></ul><ul><li>(60 page appendix of the exact words of the contributors organized by inquiry questions and then professional categories) </li></ul><ul><li>Be our guest if a student wants to do a content analysis </li></ul>
  17. 18. Related Papers on Information Systems for Emergency Management <ul><li>Van de Walle, B., Turoff, M. and Hiltz, S. R. eds. Information Systems for Emergency Management, In the Advances in Management Information Systems monograph series (Editor-in-Chief: Vladimir Zwass). Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Inc. Anticipated spring 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Turoff, M., Hiltz, S. R., White, C., Plotnick, L., Hendela, A., Xiang, Y., The Past as the Future of Emergency Preparedness and Management, Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, 1(1), 12-28, January-March 2009 . </li></ul><ul><li>Turoff, M., Chumer, M., Hiltz, R., Klashner, Robb, Alles, Michael, Vasarhelyi, M., Kogan, A., Assuring Homeland Security: Continuous Monitoring, Control, and Assurance of Emergency Preparedness, Lead article for a special issue on Emergency Preparedness for JITTA, Volume 6, Number 3, Fall 2004, 1-24. </li></ul><ul><li>Turoff, M., Chumer, M., Van de Walle, B., Yao, X., The Design of a Dynamic Emergency Response Management Information System (DERMIS), Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application (JITTA), Volume 5, Number 4, Summer, 2004, pp. 1-36. ( ) or </li></ul>
  18. 19. The End <ul><li>An Early man made disaster </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Comments? </li></ul><ul><li>Objections? </li></ul>