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Identifying At-Risk Students: An Assessment Instrument for Distributed Learning Courses in Higher Education

Description: The current period of rapid technological change, particularly in the area of mediated communication, has combined with new philosophies of education and market forces to bring upheaval to the realm of higher education. Technical capabilities exceed our knowledge of whether expenditures on hardware and software lead to corresponding gains in student learning. Educators do not yet possess sophisticated assessments of what we may be gaining or losing as we widen the scope of distributed learning. The purpose of this study was not to draw sweeping conclusions with respect to the costs or benefits of technology in education. The researcher focused on a single issue involved in educational quality: assessing the ability of a student to complete a course. Previous research in this area indicates that attrition rates are often higher in distributed learning environments. Educators and students may benefit from a reliable instrument to identify those students who may encounter difficulty in these learning situations. This study is aligned with research focused on the individual engaged in seeking information, assisted or hindered by the capabilities of the computer information systems that create and provide access to information. Specifically, the study focused on the indicators of completion for students enrolled in video conferencing and Web-based courses. In the final version, the Distributed Learning Survey encompassed thirteen indicators of completion. The results of this study of 396 students indicated that the Distributed Learning Survey represented a reliable and valid instrument for identifying at-risk students in video conferencing and Web-based courses where the student population is similar to the study participants. Educational level, GPA, credit hours taken in the semester, study environment, motivation, computer confidence, and the number of previous distributed learning courses accounted for most of the predictive power in the discriminant function based on student scores from the survey.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Osborn, Viola
Partner: UNT Libraries

MEDLINE Metric: A method to assess medical students' MEDLINE search effectiveness

Description: Medical educators advocate the need for medical students to acquire information management skills, including the ability to search the MEDLINE database. There has been no published validated method available to use for assessing medical students' MEDLINE information retrieval skills. This research proposes and evaluates a method, designed as the MEDLINE Metric, for assessing medical students' search skills. MEDLINE Metric consists of: (a) the development, by experts, of realistic clinical scenarios that include highly constructed search questions designed to test defined search skills; (b) timed tasks (searches) completed by subjects; (c) the evaluation of search results; and (d) instructive feedback. A goal is to offer medical educators a valid, reliable, and feasible way to judge mastery of information searching skill by measuring results (search retrieval) rather than process (search behavior) or cognition (knowledge about searching). Following a documented procedure for test development, search specialists and medical content experts formulated six clinical search scenarios and questions. One hundred and forty-five subjects completed the six-item test under timed conditions. Subjects represented a wide range of MEDLINE search expertise. One hundred twenty complete cases were used, representing 53 second-year medical students (44%), 47 fourth-year medical students (39%), and 20 medical librarians (17%). Data related to educational level, search training, search experience, confidence in retrieval, difficulty of search, and score were analyzed. Evidence supporting the validity of the method includes the agreement by experts about the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully retrieve information relevant to a clinical question from the MEDLINE database. Also, the test discriminated among different performance levels. There were statistically significant, positive relationships between test score and level of education, self-reported previous MEDLINE training, and self-reported previous search experience. The findings from this study suggest that MEDLINE Metric is a valid method for constructing and administering a performance-based test to identify ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Hannigan, Gale G.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Multi-Agent Architecture for Internet Information Extraction and Visualization

Description: The World Wide Web is one of the largest sources of information; more and more applications are being developed daily to make use of this information. This thesis presents a multi-agent architecture that deals with some of the issues related to Internet data extraction. The primary issue addresses the reliable, efficient and quick extraction of data through the use of HTTP performance monitoring agents. A second issue focuses on how to make use of available data to take decisions and alert the user when there is change in data; this is done with the help of user agents that are equipped with a Defeasible reasoning interpreter. An additional issue is the visualization of extracted data; this is done with the aid of VRML visualization agents. The cited issues are discussed using stock portfolio management as an example application.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Gollapally, Devender R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Theory for the Measurement of Internet Information Retrieval

Description: The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a measurement model for Internet information retrieval strategy performance evaluation whose theoretical basis is a modification of the classical measurement model embodied in the Cranfield studies and their progeny. Though not the first, the Cranfield studies were the most influential of the early evaluation experiments. The general problem with this model was and continues to be the subjectivity of the concept of relevance. In cyberspace, information scientists are using quantitative measurement models for evaluating information retrieval performance that are based on the Cranfield model. This research modified this model by incorporating enduser relevance judgment rather than using objective relevance judgments, and by adopting a fundamental unit of measure developed for the cyberspace of Internet information retrieval rather than using recall and precision-type measures. The proposed measure, the Content-bearing Click (CBC) Ratio, was developed as a quantitative measure reflecting the performance of an Internet IR strategy. Since the hypertext "click" is common to many Internet IR strategies, it was chosen as the fundamental unit of measure rather than the "document." The CBC Ratio is a ratio of hypertext click counts that can be viewed as a false drop measure that determines the average number of irrelevant content-bearing clicks that an enduser check before retrieving relevant information. After measurement data were collected, they were used to evaluate the reliability of several methods for aggregating relevance judgments. After reliability coefficients were calculated, measurement model was used to compare web catalog and web database performance in an experimental setting. Conclusions were the reached concerning the reliability of the proposed measurement model and its ability to measure Internet IR performance, as well as implications for clinical use of the Internet and for future research in Information Science.
Date: May 1999
Creator: MacCall, Steven Leonard
Partner: UNT Libraries

Information Seeking in a Virtual Learning Environment

Description: Duplicating a time series study done by Kuhlthau and associates in 1989, this study examines the applicability of the Information Search Process (ISP) Model in the context of a virtual learning environment. This study confirms that students given an information seeking task in a virtual learning environment do exhibit the stages indicated by the ISP Model. The six-phase ISP Model is shown to be valid for describing the different stages of cognitive, affective, and physical tasks individuals progress through when facing a situation where they must search for information to complete an academic task in a virtual learning environment. The findings in this study further indicate there is no relationship between the amount of computer experience subjects possess and demonstrating the patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions described by the ISP Model. The study demonstrates the ISP Model to be independent of the original physical library environments where the model was developed. An attempt is made to represent the ISP model in a slightly different manner that provides more of the sense of motion and interaction among the components of thoughts, feelings, and action than is currently provided for in the model. The study suggests that the development of non-self-reporting data collection techniques would be useful in complementing and furthering research to enhance and refine the representation of the ISP Model. Additionally, expanding the research to include the examination of group interaction is called for to enhance the ISP Model and develop further applications that could potentially aid educational delivery in all types of learning environments.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Byron, Suzanne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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 ...
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Sullivan, Terry
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Value of Everything: Ranking and Association with Encyclopedic Knowledge

Description: This dissertation describes WikiRank, an unsupervised method of assigning relative values to elements of a broad coverage encyclopedic information source in order to identify those entries that may be relevant to a given piece of text. The valuation given to an entry is based not on textual similarity but instead on the links that associate entries, and an estimation of the expected frequency of visitation that would be given to each entry based on those associations in context. This estimation of relative frequency of visitation is embodied in modifications to the random walk interpretation of the PageRank algorithm. WikiRank is an effective algorithm to support natural language processing applications. It is shown to exceed the performance of previous machine learning algorithms for the task of automatic topic identification, providing results comparable to that of human annotators. Second, WikiRank is found useful for the task of recognizing text-based paraphrases on a semantic level, by comparing the distribution of attention generated by two pieces of text using the encyclopedic resource as a common reference. Finally, WikiRank is shown to have the ability to use its base of encyclopedic knowledge to recognize terms from different ontologies as describing the same thing, and thus allowing for the automatic generation of mapping links between ontologies. The conclusion of this thesis is that the "knowledge access heuristic" is valuable and that a ranking process based on a large encyclopedic resource can form the basis for an extendable general purpose mechanism capable of identifying relevant concepts by association, which in turn can be effectively utilized for enumeration and comparison at a semantic level.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Coursey, Kino High
Partner: UNT Libraries

Perceived features and similarity of images: An investigation into their relationships and a test of Tversky's contrast model.

Description: The creation, storage, manipulation, and transmission of images have become less costly and more efficient. Consequently, the numbers of images and their users are growing rapidly. This poses challenges to those who organize and provide access to them. One of these challenges is similarity matching. Most current content-based image retrieval (CBIR) systems which can extract only low-level visual features such as color, shape, and texture, use similarity measures based on geometric models of similarity. However, most human similarity judgment data violate the metric axioms of these models. Tversky's (1977) contrast model, which defines similarity as a feature contrast task and equates the degree of similarity of two stimuli to a linear combination of their common and distinctive features, explains human similarity judgments much better than the geometric models. This study tested the contrast model as a conceptual framework to investigate the nature of the relationships between features and similarity of images as perceived by human judges. Data were collected from 150 participants who performed two tasks: an image description and a similarity judgment task. Qualitative methods (content analysis) and quantitative (correlational) methods were used to seek answers to four research questions related to the relationships between common and distinctive features and similarity judgments of images as well as measures of their common and distinctive features. Structural equation modeling, correlation analysis, and regression analysis confirmed the relationships between perceived features and similarity of objects hypothesized by Tversky (1977). Tversky's (1977) contrast model based upon a combination of two methods for measuring common and distinctive features, and two methods for measuring similarity produced statistically significant structural coefficients between the independent latent variables (common and distinctive features) and the dependent latent variable (similarity). This model fit the data well for a sample of 30 (435 pairs of) images and 150 participants (χ2 =16.97, ...
Date: May 2005
Creator: Rorissa, Abebe
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Common Representation Format for Multimedia Documents

Description: Multimedia documents are composed of multiple file format combinations, such as image and text, image and sound, or image, text and sound. The type of multimedia document determines the form of analysis for knowledge architecture design and retrieval methods. Over the last few decades, theories of text analysis have been proposed and applied effectively. In recent years, theories of image and sound analysis have been proposed to work with text retrieval systems and progressed quickly due in part to rapid progress in computer processing speed. Retrieval of multimedia documents formerly was divided into the categories of image and text, and image and sound. While standard retrieval process begins from text only, methods are developing that allow the retrieval process to be accomplished simultaneously using text and image. Although image processing for feature extraction and text processing for term extractions are well understood, there are no prior methods that can combine these two features into a single data structure. This dissertation will introduce a common representation format for multimedia documents (CRFMD) composed of both images and text. For image and text analysis, two techniques are used: the Lorenz Information Measurement and the Word Code. A new process named Jeong's Transform is demonstrated for extraction of text and image features, combining the two previous measurements to form a single data structure. Finally, this single data measurements to form a single data structure. Finally, this single data structure is analyzed by using multi-dimensional scaling. This allows multimedia objects to be represented on a two-dimensional graph as vectors. The distance between vectors represents the magnitude of the difference between multimedia documents. This study shows that image classification on a given test set is dramatically improved when text features are encoded together with image features. This effect appears to hold true even when the available ...
Date: December 2002
Creator: Jeong, Ki Tai
Partner: UNT Libraries

Information Needs of Art Museum Visitors: Real and Virtual

Description: Museums and libraries are considered large repositories of human knowledge and human culture. They have similar missions and goals in distributing accumulated knowledge to society. Current digitization projects allow both, museums and libraries to reach a broader audience, share their resources with a variety of users. While studies of information seeking behavior, retrieval systems and metadata in library science have a long history; such research studies in museum environments are at their early experimental stage. There are few studies concerning information seeking behavior and needs of virtual museum visitors, especially with the use of images in the museums' collections available on the Web. The current study identifies preferences of a variety of user groups about the information specifics on current exhibits, museum collections metadata information, and the use of multimedia. The study of information seeking behavior of users groups of museum digital collections or cultural collections allows examination and analysis of users' information needs, and the organization of cultural information, including descriptive metadata and the quantity of information that may be required. In addition, the study delineates information needs that different categories of users may have in common: teachers in high schools, students in colleges and universities, museum professionals, art historians and researchers, and the general public. This research also compares informational and educational needs of real visitors with the needs of virtual visitors. Educational needs of real visitors are based on various studies conducted and summarized by Falk and Dierking (2000), and an evaluation of the art museum websites previously conducted to support the current study.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Kravchyna, Victoria
Partner: UNT Libraries

A multi-dimensional entropy model of jazz improvisation for music information retrieval.

Description: Jazz improvisation provides a case context for examining information in music; entropy provides a means for representing music for retrieval. Entropy measures are shown to distinguish between different improvisations on the same theme, thus demonstrating their potential for representing jazz information for analysis and retrieval. The calculated entropy measures are calibrated against human representation by means of a case study of an advanced jazz improvisation course, in which synonyms for "entropy" are frequently used by the instructor. The data sets are examined for insights in music information retrieval, music information behavior, and music representation.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Simon, Scott J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Elicitation of Protein-Protein Interactions from Biomedical Literature Using Association Rule Discovery

Description: Extracting information from a stack of data is a tedious task and the scenario is no different in proteomics. Volumes of research papers are published about study of various proteins in several species, their interactions with other proteins and identification of protein(s) as possible biomarker in causing diseases. It is a challenging task for biologists to keep track of these developments manually by reading through the literatures. Several tools have been developed by computer linguists to assist identification, extraction and hypotheses generation of proteins and protein-protein interactions from biomedical publications and protein databases. However, they are confronted with the challenges of term variation, term ambiguity, access only to abstracts and inconsistencies in time-consuming manual curation of protein and protein-protein interaction repositories. This work attempts to attenuate the challenges by extracting protein-protein interactions in humans and elicit possible interactions using associative rule mining on full text, abstracts and captions from figures available from publicly available biomedical literature databases. Two such databases are used in our study: Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and PubMed Central (PMC). A corpus is built using articles based on search terms. A dataset of more than 38,000 protein-protein interactions from the Human Protein Reference Database (HPRD) is cross-referenced to validate discovered interactive pairs. A set of an optimal size of possible binary protein-protein interactions is generated to be made available for clinician or biological validation. A significant change in the number of new associations was found by altering the thresholds for support and confidence metrics. This study narrows down the limitations for biologists in keeping pace with discovery of protein-protein interactions via manually reading the literature and their needs to validate each and every possible interaction.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Samuel, Jarvie John
Partner: UNT Libraries

University Students and the Internet: Information Seeking Study

Description: This study explored university students' information needs and seeking behaviors on the Internet. A Web-based survey was administrated one time. Two hundred responses were received from the target sample within the two weeks period of the study. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and graphical representation. The study explored various issues related to the usability, preferences, and activities of the Internet, such as searching tools, e-mail, search engines, and preferred primary sources of everyday-life information needs. The study explored the perceptions of the students toward the Internet and the traditional library. Kuhlthau's model of the information-seeking process, which includes six stages and affective components, was utilized and modified in the construction of the Web survey. A study by Presno (1998), which includes the four types of Internet anxiety, was utilized in the construction of the Web survey. With regard to the six stages of Kuhlthau model, the majority of the respondents experienced stage 5, which was about information gathering; stage 3 had the next highest number of respondents. Very few respondents experienced stages 1 and 2. There was a systematic pattern in which, the earlier the stages the respondents were in, the more negative adjectives they selected, and vice versa. The feeling adjectives section showed a difference in the behavior between males and females. The results indicated that most students had Internet time delay anxiety. In general, the study found that students have a great interest in the Internet and consider it an important source of information for their personal, educational, and communication activities.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Shamo, Esmaeel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Faculty Use of the World Wide Web: Modeling Information Seeking Behavior in a Digital Environment

Description: There has been a long history of studying library users and their information seeking behaviors and activities. Researchers developed models to better understand these information seeking behaviors and activities of users. Most of these models were developed before the onset of the Internet. This research project studied faculty members' use of and their information seeking behaviors and activities on the Internet at Angelo State University, a Master's I institution. Using both a quantitative and qualitative methodology, differences were found between tenured and tenure-track faculty members on the perceived value of the Internet to meet their research and classroom information needs. Similar differences were also found among faculty members in the broad discipline areas of the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Tenure-track faculty members reported a higher average Internet use per week than tenured faculty members. Based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with seven tenured and seven tenure-track faculty members, an Internet Information Seeking Activities Model was developed to describe the information seeking activities on the Internet by faculty members at Angelo State University. The model consisted of four basic stages of activities: "Gathering," "Validating," "Linking" with a sub-stage of "Re-validating," and "Monitoring." There were two parallel stages included in the model. These parallel stages were "Communicating" and "Mentoring." The Internet Information Seeking Activities Model was compared to the behavioral model of information seeking by faculty members developed by Ellis. The Internet Model placed a greater emphasis on validating information retrieved from the Internet. Otherwise there were no other substantive changes to Ellis' model.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Fortin, Maurice G.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Relevance Thresholds: A Conjunctive/Disjunctive Model of End-User Cognition as an Evaluative Process

Description: This investigation identifies end-user cognitive heuristics that facilitate judgment and evaluation during information retrieval (IR) system interactions. The study extends previous research surrounding relevance as a key construct for representing the value end-users ascribe to items retrieved from IR systems and the perceived effectiveness of such systems. The Lens Model of user cognition serves as the foundation for design and interpretation of the study; earlier research in problem solving, decision making, and attitude formation also contribute to the model and analysis. A self reporting instrument collected evaluative responses from 32 end-users related to 1432 retrieved items in relation to five characteristics of each item: topical, pertinence, utility, systematic, and motivational levels of relevance. The nominal nature of the data collected led to non-parametric statistical analyses that indicated that end-user evaluation of retrieved items to resolve an information problem at hand is most likely a multi-stage process. That process appears to be a cognitive progression from topic to meaning (pertinence) to functionality (use). Each step in end-user evaluative processing engages a cognitive hierarchy of heuristics that includes consideration (of appropriate cues), differentiation (the positive or negative aspects of those cues considered), and aggregation (the combination of differentiated cue aspects needed to render an evaluative label of the item in relation to the information problem at hand). While individuals may differ in their judgments and evaluations of retrieved items, they appear to make those decisions by using consistent heuristic approaches.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Greisdorf, Howard F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Electronic Ranch: the Information Environment of Cattle Breeders

Description: The present study was a longitudinal analysis of the information needs of Red Angus cattle breeders and their use of networked information services. It was based on two surveys. The first, conducted in 1995--96, polled all 1067 ranches of the Red Angus Association of America. Responses from 192 Red Angus breeders were used to determine the value of different information types and to evaluate perceptions of the greatest barriers to the adoption of network information services. The second survey, mailed to 41 Red Angus breeders in 1998, focused on early adopters and likely users of network services. Responses from 15 breeders were used to evaluate perceptions of the greatest barriers to the effective use of Web-based information services.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Hicks, Georgia Jane
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship Between Work Roles and Information Seeking Behaviors Among Selected Protestant Ministers in Tarrant County, Texas

Description: Is there a relationship between work role and information seeking behavior? Three behaviors were examined: choice of information channel, choice of method for information retrieval, and choice of method for storing retrieved information. The Protestant clergy was selected as a profession with clearly identified work roles, including preacher and administrator. Questionnaires were mailed to 150 randomly selected ministers in Tarrant County, Texas. Sixty-four responded. Additionally, fifteen ministers selected at random were interviewed for additional data. The data collected through the questionnaires were analyzed using nonparametric statistical techniques.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Phillips, Robert L. (Robert Lloyd)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Three-dimensional Information Space : An Exploration of a World Wide Web-based, Three-dimensional, Hierarchical Information Retrieval Interface Using Virtual Reality Modeling Language

Description: This study examined the differences between a 3-D, VRML search interface, similar to Cone Trees, as a front-end to Yahoo on the World Wide Web and a conventional text-based, 1-Dinterface to the same database. The study sought to determine how quickly users could find information using both interfaces, their degree of satisfaction with both search interfaces, and which interface they preferred.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Scannell, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries

The gathering and use of information by fifth grade students with access to Palm® handhelds.

Description: Handheld computers may hold the possibility for a one-to-one computer: student ratio. The impact of the use of Palm® (Palm, Inc.) handhelds on information acquisition and use by 5th grade students in a North Texas school during a class research project was investigated. Five research questions were examined using observation, interviews, surveys, and document analysis. Are there differences in information gathering and use with the Palm between gifted, dyslexic, and regular learners? What relevance criteria do students use to evaluate a web site to determine whether to download the site to the Palm and afterwards whether to use the downloaded site's information in the report? How do the Palms affect the writing process? Do the animations and concept maps produced on the Palm demonstrate understanding of the intended concepts? Are there significant differences in results (i.e., final products grade) between Palm users and non-Palm users? Three groups of learners in the class, gifted, dyslexic, and regular learners, participated in the study. The regular and dyslexic students reported using Web sites that had not been downloaded to the Palm. Students reported several factors used to decide whether to download Web sites, but the predominant deciding factor was the amount of information. The students used a combination of writing on paper and the Palm in the preparation of the report. Many students flipped between two programs, FreeWrite and Fling-It, finding information and then writing the facts into the report. The peer review process was more difficult with the Palm. Most students had more grammatical errors in this research report than in previous research projects. By creating animated drawings on the Palm handheld, the students demonstrated their understanding of the invention though sometimes the media or the student's drawing skills limited the quality of the final product. Creating the animations was motivational and ...
Date: December 2003
Creator: Peet, Martha Stuart Williamson
Partner: UNT Libraries

Building an Intelligent Filtering System Using Idea Indexing

Description: The widely used vector model maintains its popularity because of its simplicity, fast speed, and the appeal of using spatial proximity for semantic proximity. However, this model faces a disadvantage that is associated with the vagueness from keywords overlapping. Efforts have been made to improve the vector model. The research on improving document representation has been focused on four areas, namely, statistical co-occurrence of related items, forming term phrases, grouping of related words, and representing the content of documents. In this thesis, we propose the idea-indexing model to improve document representation for the filtering task in IR. The idea-indexing model matches document terms with the ideas they express and indexes the document with these ideas. This indexing scheme represents the document with its semantics instead of sets of independent terms. We show in this thesis that indexing with ideas leads to better performance.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Yang, Li
Partner: UNT Libraries

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.
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Date: May 2003
Creator: Holmes, Jason
Partner: UNT Libraries

Accessing Information on the World Wide Web: Predicting Usage Based on Involvement

Description: Advice for Web designers often includes an admonition to use short, scannable, bullet-pointed text, reflecting the common belief that browsing the Web most often involves scanning rather than reading. Literature from several disciplines focuses on the myriad combinations of factors related to online reading but studies of the users' interests and motivations appear to offer a more promising avenue for understanding how users utilize information on Web pages. This study utilized the modified Personal Involvement Inventory (PII), a ten-item instrument used primarily in the marketing and advertising fields, to measure interest and motivation toward a topic presented on the Web. Two sites were constructed from Reader's Digest Association, Inc. online articles and a program written to track students' use of the site. Behavior was measured by the initial choice of short versus longer versions of the main page, the number of pages visited and the amount of time spent on the site. Data were gathered from students at a small, private university in the southwest part of the United States to answer six hypotheses which posited that subjects with higher involvement in a topic presented on the Web and a more positive attitude toward the Web would tend to select the longer text version, visit more pages, and spend more time on the site. While attitude toward the Web did not correlate significantly with any of the behavioral factors, the level of involvement was associated with the use of the sites in two of three hypotheses, but only partially in the manner hypothesized. Increased involvement with a Web topic did correlate with the choice of a longer, more detailed initial Web page, but was inversely related to the number of pages viewed so that the higher the involvement, the fewer pages visited. An additional indicator of usage, the average amount ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Langford, James David
Partner: UNT Libraries

Needs of familial caregivers of cancer patients across the advanced cancer disease trajectory.

Description: Familial caregivers are providing increasing amounts of care to advanced cancer patients. Increased understanding of caregivers' needs is vital in providing necessary support to lessen caregiver burden and comorbidity. This study examines particular information needs across a variety of specific events in the advanced cancer disease trajectory. A cross-sectional sample of 107 familial caregivers (24 current and 83 bereaved) of people with advanced cancer completed a needs assessment survey along with a measure of health information-seeking behavior. Analyses extend current research by including more specific disease-related events along the advanced cancer trajectory through bereavement. In all information categories, endorsement of wanted information differed across broad stages of Cancer Progression, Treatment, End of Life, and Post-Patient Death. For all information categories, except Dying and Spirituality, greatest information was wanted at the Cancer Progression stage. Information need also differed across specific events within broad stages. The categories of Disease/Medical and Relating to the Patient were the most endorsed at events involving patient care. Spirituality was least endorsed. At patient death, Caregiver Well-being has the highest endorsement. For events thereafter, information on Caregiver Well-being, Spirituality, Future Outlook, and Family and Close Others was most endorsed. Information needs did not differ based on age or education. Whether or not a caregiver had experienced a given event on the cancer trajectory impacted some categories of information desired at the events of leaving the hospital for home, going into hospice, patient death, immediately after death, and bereavement. In all cases, those who had experienced the event wanted more information. In comparing current to bereaved caregivers, no differences in information endorsement occurred for events of the Cancer progression or Treatment stages. This study also involved the validation and factor analysis the Health Information-Seeking Behavior Survey. Two factors, Health Information-Seeking and Health Information-Avoiding, emerged. Health Information-Seeking correlates positively ...
Date: August 2004
Creator: Bernard, Lori Lynn
Partner: UNT Libraries