B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology   Vol. 31, No. 6   August/September 2005

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What’s New?

Selected Abstracts from JASIS&T

Editor’s note: We invite JASIS&T authors to submit structured abstracts of their articles for possible inclusion in the Bulletin, particularly those that might be of interest to practitioners. ASIS&T would welcome reader feedback on the usefulness of this (or any other) Bulletin feature (bulletin@asis.org).

From JASIS&T v. 56 (7)

Sombatsompop, N. & Markpin, T. (2005). Making and equality of ISI impact factors for different subject fields, (676-683).

Study and Results: The ISI journal impact factors are widely known and used to evaluate journal qualities and subsequently the work of individual scientists published in the journals, and the results can become meaningless when making comparisons between subject fields. This injustice will remain as long as the ISI impact factors are employed as an instrument to assess the international research quality. Here we propose a new mathematical index entitled “Impact Factor Point Average” (IFPA) for assessment of the quality of individual research work in different subject fields. The proposed index is simple and enables the ISI impact factors to be used with equality, especially when evaluating the quality of research works in different subject fields.

What’s New? The IFPA index is new and established based on a normalization of differences in impact factors, rankings and number of journal titles in different subject fields.

Limitations: The IFPA index is obtained from the impact factors produced yearly by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).  

Pomerantz, J. (2005). Impact and relevance of LIS journals: A linguistic analysis of question taxomomies, (715-728).

Study and Results: This paper explores the steps in the process of providing chat reference, as well as issues involved in providing such service at each step. Open research questions at each step in the process of providing chat reference service are presented. The entire process of providing chat reference is viewed as a whole, and an abstract model of the provision of chat reference service is developed.

What's New? The questions posed in this paper are the most important open questions in chat reference service at this time and may guide future research in this area by both scholars and practitioners. The model developed in this paper may serve as a conceptual framework for identifying additional questions in chat reference service and for development of chat reference software.

Limitations: As chat reference technology develops, some of the questions posed in this paper will be answered and additional questions will be identified. Many of the questions posed in this paper likely have no single, definitive answer but are instead context-dependent.  

From JASIS&T v. 56 (8)

Kwon, N. (2005). Community networks: Community capital or merely an affordable Internet access tool? (812-823).

Study and Results: This study examined a perceived gap between the ideal and the reality of community networks. There has been a concern that citizens might use the network as a means to connect to the Internet rather than to their communities. Surveying 213 community network users, this study found that over two-thirds of the respondents were unaware of the service’s community contents. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that only 20% of respondents were people whose use was influenced by their understanding of the service’s community-oriented nature.

What's New? This study empirically confirmed that the providers’ goal of community building was not fully communicated to its users. The study also revealed three distinctive but concurrent service models identified from service use: (a) affordable ISP model for the socio-economically disadvantaged; (b) stepping stone model for those who have not been exposed to the Internet previously; and (c) community building model for those who share the same vision of community building with the providers. This finding will be useful to community ICT providers to understand the current practice and plan for future services.

Limitations: Replication of results in other community networks should be followed to determine if and to what degree the present findings can be generalized.  

Chan, H. C., Teo, H. H., & Zeng, X. H. (2005). An evaluation of novice end-user computing performance: Data modeling, query writing, and comprehension, (843-853).

Study and Results: The choice of a data model and query language has practical effects on end-user usage of database systems. It is hypothesized that data modeling will affect query writing, and both of these will in turn affect query comprehension. An experiment shows that users of the object-oriented and entity relationship models and languages are better than users of the logical level relational model and SQL language for all three tasks. The object-oriented model is better than the entity relationship model for data modeling. Furthermore, data modeling has a positive effect on query writing, which in turn has a positive effect on query comprehension.

What’s New? Previous studies have considered only one task at a time. This combined study shows that performance on one task can affect performance on another. Data model and language have both direct and indirect effects on all three tasks. In particular, end-users will have better query performance if they also have data modeling training.

Limitations: The results are tested for novice users only.

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