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The Cluster Hypothesis: A Visual/Statistical Analysis

Description: By allowing judgments based on a small number of exemplar documents to be applied to a larger number of unexamined documents, clustered presentation of search results represents an intuitively attractive possibility for reducing the cognitive resource demands on human users of information retrieval systems. However, clustered presentation of search results is sensible only to the extent that naturally occurring similarity relationships among documents correspond to topically coherent clusters. The Cluster Hypothesis posits just such a systematic relationship between document similarity and topical relevance. To date, experimental validation of the Cluster Hypothesis has proved problematic, with collection-specific results both supporting and failing to support this fundamental theoretical postulate. The present study consists of two computational information visualization experiments, representing a two-tiered test of the Cluster Hypothesis under adverse conditions. Both experiments rely on multidimensionally scaled representations of interdocument similarity matrices. Experiment 1 is a term-reduction condition, in which descriptive titles are extracted from Associated Press news stories drawn from the TREC information retrieval test collection. The clustering behavior of these titles is compared to the behavior of the corresponding full text via statistical analysis of the visual characteristics of a two-dimensional similarity map. Experiment 2 is a dimensionality reduction condition, in which inter-item similarity coefficients for full text documents are scaled into a single dimension and then rendered as a two-dimensional visualization; the clustering behavior of relevant documents within these unidimensionally scaled representations is examined via visual and statistical methods. Taken as a whole, results of both experiments lend strong though not unqualified support to the Cluster Hypothesis. In Experiment 1, semantically meaningful 6.6-word document surrogates systematically conform to the predictions of the Cluster Hypothesis. In Experiment 2, the majority of the unidimensionally scaled datasets exhibit a marked nonuniformity of distribution of relevant documents, further supporting the Cluster Hypothesis. Results of ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Sullivan, Terry

Constraints on Adoption of Innovations: Internet Availability in the Developing World.

Description: In a world that is increasingly united in time and distance, I examine why the world is increasingly divided socially, economically, and digitally. Using data for 35 variables from 93 countries, I separate the countries into groups of 31 each by gross domestic product per capita. These groups of developed, lesser developed and least developed countries are used in comparative analysis. Through a review of relevant literature and tests of bivariate correlation, I select eight key variables that are significantly related to information communication technology development and to human development. For this research, adoption of the Internet in the developing world is the innovation of particular interest. Thus, for comparative purposes, I chose Internet Users per 1000 persons per country and the Human Development Index as the dependent variables upon which the independent variables are regressed. Although small in numbers among the least developed countries, I find Internet Users as the most powerful influence on human development for the poorest countries. The research focuses on key obstacles as well as variables of opportunity for Internet usage in developing countries. The greatest obstacles are in fact related to Internet availability and the cost/need ratio for infrastructure expansion. However, innovations for expanded Internet usage in developing countries are expected to show positive results for increased Internet usage, as well as for greater human development and human capital. In addition to the diffusion of innovations in terms of the Internet, the diffusion of cultures through migration is also discussed in terms of the effect on social capital and the drain on human capital from developing countries.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Stedman, Joseph B.

The Effect of Information Literacy Instruction on Library Anxiety Among International Students

Description: This study explored what effect information literacy instruction (ILI) may have on both a generalized anxiety state and library anxiety specifically. The population studied was international students using resources in a community college. Library anxiety among international students begins with certain barriers that cause anxiety (i.e., language/communication barriers, adjusting to a new education/library system and general cultural adjustments). Library Anxiety is common among college students and is characterized by feelings of negative emotions including, ruminations, tension, fear and mental disorganization (Jiao & Onwuegbuzie, 1999a). This often occurs when a student contemplates conducting research in a library and is due to any number of perceived inabilities about using the library. In order for students to become successful in their information seeking behavior this anxiety needs to be reduced. The study used two groups of international students enrolled in the English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) program taking credit courses. Each student completed Bostick's Library Anxiety Scale (LAS) and Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to assess anxiety level before and after treatment. Subjects were given a research assignment that required them to use library resources. Treatment: Group 1 (experimental group) attended several library instruction classes (the instruction used Kuhltau's information search process model). Group 2 (control group) was in the library working on assignment but did not receive any formal library instruction. After the treatment the researcher and ESOL program instructor(s) measured the level of anxiety between groups. ANCOVA was used to analyze Hypotheses 1 and 2, which compared pretest and posttest for each group. Research assignment grades were used to analyze Hypothesis 3 comparing outcomes among the two groups. The results of the analysis ascertained that ILI was associated with reducing state and library anxiety among international students when given an assignment using library resources.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Battle, Joel C.

An Empirical Investigation of Critical Factors that Influence Data Warehouse Implementation Success in Higher Educational Institutions

Description: Data warehousing (DW) in the last decade has become the technology of choice for building data management infrastructures to provide organizations the decision-making capabilities needed to effectively carry out its activities. Despite its phenomenal growth and importance to organizations the rate of DW implementation success has been less than stellar. Many DW implementation projects fail due to technical or organizational reasons. There has been limited research on organizational factors and their role in DW implementations. It is important to understand the role and impact of both technical but organizational factors in DW implementations and their relative importance to implementation performance. A research model was developed to test the significance of technical and organizational factors in the three phases of implementation with DW implementation performance. The independent variables were technical (data, technology, and expertise) and organizational (management, goals, users, organization). The dependent variable was performance (content, accuracy, format, ease of use, and timeliness). The data collection method was a Web based survey of DW implementers and DW users sampled (26) from a population of 108 identified DW implementations. Regression was used as the multivariate statistical technique to analyze the data. The results show that organization factors are significantly related to performance. Also, that some variables in the post-implementation phase have a significant relationship with performance. Based on the results of the tests the model was revised to reflect the relative impact of technical and organizational factors on DW performance. Results suggest that in some cases organizational factors have a significant relationship with DW implementation performance. The implications and interpretation of these results provide researchers and practitioners' insights and a new perspective in the area of DW implementations.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Mukherjee, Debasish

An Evaluation of the Effect of Learning Styles and Computer Competency on Students' Satisfaction on Web-Based Distance Learning Environments

Description: This study investigates the correlation between students' learning styles, computer competency and student satisfaction in Web-based distance learning. Three hundred and one graduate students participated in the current study during the Summer and Fall semesters of 2002 at the University of North Texas. Participants took the courses 100% online and came to the campus only once for software training. Computer competency and student satisfaction were measured using the Computer Skill and Use Assessment and the Student Satisfaction Survey questionnaires. Kolb's Learning Style Inventory measured students' learning styles. The study concludes that there is a significant difference among the different learning styles with respect to student satisfaction level when the subjects differ with regard to computer competency. For accommodating amd diverging styles, a higher level of computer competency results in a higher level of student satisfaction. But for converging and assimilating styles, a higher level of computer competency suggests a lower level of student satisfaction. A significant correlation was found between computer competency and student satisfaction level within Web-based courses for accommodating styles and no significant results were found in the other learning styles.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Du, Yunfei

Implications of the inclusion of document retrieval systems as actors in a social network.

Description: Traditionally, social network analysis (SNA) techniques enable the examination of relationships and the flow of information within networks of human members or groups of humans. This study extended traditional social network analysis to include a nonhuman group member, specifically a document retrieval system. The importance of document retrieval systems as information sources, the changes in business environments that necessitates the use of information and communication technologies, and the attempts to make computer systems more life-like, provide the reasons for considering the information system as a group member. The review of literature for this study does not encompass a single body of knowledge. Instead, several areas combined to inform this study, including social informatics for its consideration of the intersection of people and information technology, network theory and social network analysis, organizations and information, organizational culture, and finally, storytelling in organizations as a means of transferring information. The methodology included distribution of surveys to two small businesses that used the same document retrieval system, followed by semi-structured interviews of selected group members, which allowed elaboration on the survey findings. The group members rated each other and the system on four interaction criteria relating to four social networks of interest, including awareness, access, information flow, and problem solving. Traditional measures of social networks, specifically density, degree, reciprocity, transitivity, distance, degree centrality, and closeness centrality provided insight into the positioning of the nonhuman member within the social group. The human members of the group were able to respond to the survey that included the system but were not ready to consider the system as being equivalent to other human members. SNA measures positioned the system as an average member of the group, not a star, but not isolated either. Examination of the surveys or the interviews in isolation would not have given a ...
Date: December 2005
Creator: Macpherson, Janet Robertson

The Information Environment of Academic Library Directors: Use of Information Resources and Communication Technologies

Description: This study focuses on the use of information resources and communication technologies, both traditional and electronic, by academic library directors. The purpose is to improve understanding of managerial behavior when using information resources and communication technologies within a shared information environment. Taylor's concept of an information use environment is used to capture the elements associated with information use and communication within the context of decision-making styles, managerial roles, organizational environments, and professional communities. This qualitative study uses interviews, observations, questionnaires, and documents. Library directors participating in the study are from doctoral-degree granting universities in the southwestern United States. Data collection involved on-site observations with a PDA (personal digital assistant), structured interviews with library directors and their administrative assistants, the Decision Style Inventory, and a questionnaire based on Mintzberg's managerial roles. Findings show the existence of a continuum in managerial activities between an Administrator and an Administrator/Academic as critical to understanding information use and communication patterns among library directors. There is a gap between self-perception of managerial activities and actual performance, a finding that would not have surfaced without the use of multiple methods. Other findings include the need for a technical ombudsman, a managerial-level position reporting to the library director; the importance of information management as an administrative responsibility; the importance of trust when evaluating information; and the importance of integrating information and communication across formats, time, and managerial activities.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Koelker, Karen June

Measuring the accuracy of four attributes of sound for conveying changes in a large data set.

Description: Human auditory perception is suited to receiving and interpreting information from the environment but this knowledge has not been used extensively in designing computer-based information exploration tools. It is not known which aspects of sound are useful for accurately conveying information in an auditory display. An auditory display was created using PD, a graphical programming language used primarily to manipulate digital sound. The interface for the auditory display was a blank window. When the cursor is moved around in this window, the sound generated would changed based on the underlying data value at any given point. An experiment was conducted to determine which attribute of sound most accurately represents data values in an auditory display. The four attributes of sound tested were frequency-sine waveform, frequency-sawtooth waveform, loudness and tempo. 24 subjects were given the task of finding the highest data point using sound alone using each of the four sound treatments. Three dependent variables were measured: distance accuracy, numeric accuracy, and time on task. Repeated measures ANOVA procedures conducted on these variables did not rise to the level of statistical significance (α=.05). None of the sound treatments was more accurate than the other as representing the underlying data values. 52% of the trials were accurate within 50 pixels of the highest data point (target). An interesting finding was the tendency for the frequency-sin waveform to be used in the least accurate trial attempts (38%). Loudness, on the other hand, accounted for very few (12.5%) of the least accurate trial attempts. In completing the experimental task, four different search techniques were employed by the subjects: perimeter, parallel sweep, sector, and quadrant. The perimeter technique was the most commonly used.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Holmes, Jason

News photography image retrieval practices: Locus of control in two contexts.

Description: This is the first known study to explore the image retrieval preferences of news photographers and news photo editors in work contexts. Survey participants (n=102) provided opinions regarding 11 photograph searching methods. The quantitative survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, while content analysis was used to evaluate the qualitative survey data. In addition, news photographers and news photo editors (n=11) participated in interviews. Data from the interviews were analyzed with phenomenography. The survey data demonstrated that most participants prefer searching by events taking place in the photograph, objects that exist in the photograph, photographer-provided keywords, and relevant metadata, such as the date the picture was taken. They also prefer browsing. Respondents had mixed opinions about searching by emotions elicited in a photograph, as well as the environmental conditions represented in a photograph. Participants' lowest-rated methods included color and light, lines and shapes, and depth, shadow, or perspective. They also expressed little interest in technical information about a photograph, such as shutter speed and aperture. Interview participants' opinions about the search methods reflected the survey respondents' views. They discussed other aspects of news photography as well, including the stories told by the pictures, technical concerns about digital photography, and digital archiving and preservation issues. These stated preferences for keyword searching, browsing, and photographer-provided keywords illustrate a desire for a strong internal locus of control in digital photograph archives. Such methods allow users more control over access to their photographs, while the methods deemed less favorable by survey participants offer less control. Participants believe they can best find their photographs if they can control how they index and search for them. Therefore, it would be useful to design online photograph archives that allow users to control representation and access. Future research possibilities include determining the preferences of other image retrieval system ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Neal, Diane Rasmussen

A Study of Graphically Chosen Features for Representation of TREC Topic-Document Sets

Description: Document representation is important for computer-based text processing. Good document representations must include at least the most salient concepts of the document. Documents exist in a multidimensional space that difficult the identification of what concepts to include. A current problem is to measure the effectiveness of the different strategies that have been proposed to accomplish this task. As a contribution towards this goal, this dissertation studied the visual inter-document relationship in a dimensionally reduced space. The same treatment was done on full text and on three document representations. Two of the representations were based on the assumption that the salient features in a document set follow the chi-distribution in the whole document set. The third document representation identified features through a novel method. A Coefficient of Variability was calculated by normalizing the Cartesian distance of the discriminating value in the relevant and the non-relevant document subsets. Also, the local dictionary method was used. Cosine similarity values measured the inter-document distance in the information space and formed a matrix to serve as input to the Multi-Dimensional Scale (MDS) procedure. A Precision-Recall procedure was averaged across all treatments to statistically compare them. Treatments were not found to be statistically the same and the null hypotheses were rejected.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Oyarce, Guillermo Alfredo

Terrorism as a social information entity: A model for early intervention.

Description: This dissertation studies different social aspects of terrorists and terrorist organizations in an effort to better deal with terrorism, especially in the long run. The researcher, who also worked as a Police Captain at Turkish National Police Anti-Terrorism Department, seeks solutions to today's global problem by studying both literature and a Delphi examination of a survey of 1070 imprisoned terrorists. The research questions include questions such as "What are the reasons behind terrorism?", "Why does terrorism occur?", "What ideologies provide the framework for terrorist violence?, "Why do some individuals become terrorists and others do not?" and "Under what conditions will terrorists end their violence?" The results of the study presents the complexity of the terrorism problem as a social experience and impossibility of a single solution or remedy for the global problem of terrorism. The researcher through his examination of the findings of the data, presented that terrorism is a social phenomenon with criminal consequences that needs to be dealt by means of two dimensional approaches. The first is the social dimension of terrorism and the second is the criminal dimension of terrorism. Based on this, the researcher constructed a conceptual model which addresses both of these dimensions under the titles of long-term solutions and short-term solutions. The long-term solutions deal with the social aspects of terrorism under the title of Proactive Approach to Terrorism and the short-term solutions deal with the criminal aspects of terrorism under the title of The Immediate Fight against Terrorism. The researcher constructed this model because there seems to be a tendency of not asking the question of "Why does terrorism occur?" Instead, the focus is usually on dealing with the consequences of terrorism and future terrorist threats. While it is essential that the governments need to provide the finest security measures for their societies, ...
Date: August 2005
Creator: Yayla, Ahmet

The Validity of Health Claims on the World Wide Web: A Case Study of the Herbal Remedy Opuntia

Description: The World Wide Web has become a significant source of medical information for the public, but there is concern that much of the information is inaccurate, misleading, and unsupported by scientific evidence. This study analyzes the validity of health claims on the World Wide Web for the herbal Opuntia using an evidence-based approach, and supports the observation that individuals must critically assess health information in this relatively new medium of communication. A systematic search by means of nine search engines and online resources of Web sites relating to herbal remedies was conducted and specific sites providing information on the cactus herbal remedy from the genus Opuntia were retrieved. Validity of therapeutic health claims on the Web sites was checked by comparison with reports in the scientific literature subjected to two established quality assessment rating instruments. 184 Web sites from a variety of sources were retrieved and evaluated, and 98 distinct health claims were identified. 53 scientific reports were retrieved to validate claims. 25 involved human subjects, and 28 involved animal or laboratory models. Only 33 (34%) of the claims were addressed in the scientific literature. For 3% of the claims, evidence from the scientific reports was conflicting or contradictory. Of the scientific reports involving human subjects, none met the predefined criteria for high quality as determined by quality assessment rating instruments. Two-thirds of the claims were unsupported by scientific evidence and were based on folklore, or indirect evidence from related sources. Information on herbal remedies such as Opuntia is well represented on the World Wide Web. Health claims on Web sites were numerous and varied widely in subject matter. The determination of the validity of information about claims made for herbals on the Web would help individuals assess their value in medical treatment. However, the Web is conducive to dubious ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Veronin, Michael A.

Wayfinding tools in public library buildings: A multiple case study.

Description: Wayfinding is the process of using one or more tools to move from one location to another in order to accomplish a task or to achieve a goal. This qualitative study explores the process of wayfinding as it applies to locating information in a public library. A group of volunteers were asked to find a selection of items in three types of libraries-traditional, contemporary, and modern. The retrieval process was timed and the reactions of the volunteers were recorded, documented, and analyzed. The impact of various wayfinding tools-architecture, layout, color, signage, computer support, collection organization-on the retrieval process was also identified. The study revealed that many of the wayfinding tools currently available in libraries do not facilitate item retrieval. Inconsistencies, ambiguities, obstructions, disparities, and operational deficiencies all contributed to end-user frustration and retrieval failure. The study suggests that failing to address these issues may prompt library patrons-end users who are increasingly interested in finding information with minimal expenditures of time and effort-may turn to other information-retrieval strategies and abandon a system that they find confusing and frustrating.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Beecher, Ann B.