Volume 8

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1 Special Series on
Issues in Informing Clients using Multimedia Communications Series

Nalin Sharda
Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Multimedia systems provide multiple modes of communication for informing clients; additionally, offline, online and networked multimedia systems provide us with a rich variety of means for capturing, encoding, collating, and transmitting the messages. This special series explores novel theories, architectures, models, and technologies that aim to integrate the art, science and technology of multimedia communications for enhancing the process of informing clients.
The first paper in this series, “MECCA: Hypermedia capturing of collaborative scientific discourses about movies” brings together research and teaching processes used in the humanities for capturing scholarly discourse on movies. It uses formal techniques to support flexible transcription of hypermedia artifacts that can be shared by a community of scholars involved in the discourse.
The second paper, “Informing Clients through Multimedia Communications: An Approach to Provide Interactivity” investigates means of delivering multimedia content over the Internet. It presents a novel mechanism for timely delivery of interactive multimedia streams by adjusting the video quality.
Congratulations to the authors of these papers for persevering through the rigorous review process. We expect to publish more interdisciplinary papers in this series.

3-38 MECCA: Hypermedia Capturing of Collaborative Scientific Discourses about Movies

Ralf Klamma, Marc Spaniol, and Matthias Jarke
Lehrstuhl Informatik
Aachen University, Germany

The success of collaborative hypermedia systems in business, engineering, or humanities heavily depends on the discursive nature of knowledge creation. Informing systems that assist crossdisciplinary communities of practice in these fields should therefore be able to capture, to visualize, and to support the ongoing scientific discourse to keep participants informed and committed to the knowledge creation process. We present a solution for this issue, using the MECCA discourse support system for a movie research community as an example. MECCA integrates research processes with teaching processes in the humanities. Our study demonstrates that knowledge creation discourses involve a lot of re“writing” (transcription) of discourse artifacts within or across media. We introduce an underlying formal technique to support flexible and adaptable transcription on hypermedia artifacts in the community. Our approach includes a linkage of knowledge to action which aims at seamless decontextualization from action and recontextualization into action.

Keywords: Hypermedia, discourse support, humanities, MPEG7, CSCL.

39-54 Informing Clients through Multimedia Communications: An Approach to Provide Interactivity

Marco Furini
University of Piemonte
Orientale, Alessandria, Italy

Marco Roccetti
University of Bologna
Bologna, Italy

One of the key problems in informing clients through multimedia streaming applications over the Internet is to customize the stream of information according to the client’s requests. This is achievable only if client and server can interact along the application lifetime, which is possible only if the communication system supports the rigid timing constraints imposed by these interactive applications on their traffic. In the Internet scenario, these applications are very difficult to support, as the Internet provides a best-effort service to the traffic it carries, which means that the Internet does not make any promises about the end-to-end delay for an individual packet and about the variation of packet delay (network jitter) within a packet stream. These problems are confirmed by several experiments we performed over the Internet, which highlight that interactive applications achieve a quality that is frustrating. The contribution of this paper is the proposal of a novel mechanism to support interactive multimedia streaming applications over the Internet. Our mechanism adapts the multimedia stream transmission to the network conditions, by intentionally and slightly acting on the video QoS. Our mechanism has been validated through several experiments performed over the Internet. Results confirm that the supported interactive applications achieve a satisfactory quality and the user perceives a video quality only slightly affected by the QoS modification introduced by our mechanism.

Keywords: Multimedia communication, Interactive application, Quality of Service, Video Streaming, Consistent Information.


55-73 Exploring the Myths about Online Education
in Information Systems


Suprateek Sarker and Jennifer Nicholson
Washington State University
Pullman, WA, USA

Rapid proliferation of the Internet along with emerging social and economic imperatives are leading institutions of higher-learning to offer a large variety of online courses/programs in different disciplines. As such education becomes increasingly pervasive and legitimate in society, there is a need to critically examine its merits and pitfalls as well as the underlying assumptions driving the justification, design, and teaching of online courses. In this paper, we take a first step in this direction by uncovering myths embedded in the discourse on online learning. We examine these myths in the context of online education in our own discipline, that of Information Systems (IS). We intend the paper to stimulate awareness and encourage debate regarding the pedagogical, administrative, economic, and societal implications of this novel though untested form of education as practiced in IS as well as in related disciplines.

 75-86 Open Source: A Metaphor for E-Learning

Alex Koohang
University of Wisconsin -
Milwaukee, Milwaukee, USA

Keith Harman
Northcentral University
Prescott, Arizona, USA

This paper explores open source as a metaphor for e-learning. It builds the case that e-learning and open source movement are rooted in the constructivist movement and the constructivist movement is itself rooted in the pragmatism and instrumentalism that pervades John Dewey’s theories of understanding as applied to learning. As a result, it is recommended that the use of open source as metaphor for e-learning be further explored in three areas: instructional practices, instructional platforms, and instructional philosophy.

Keywords: Open Source, E-Learning, Metaphor, Learning Object, Constructivism


 87-100 An Empirical Evaluation of Visual Metaphors in the Animation of Roles of Variables

Tuija Stützle and Jorma Sajaniemi
University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland

Roles of variables, which describe stereotypic usages of variables, can be exploited to facilitate teaching introductory programming. This paper describes the evaluation of visual metaphors for roles used in a role-based program animator. The evaluation is based on several criteria: properties of the images, metaphor recognition and grading, and effects on learning. The study demonstrates that as a whole the role metaphors facilitate learning. The results also identify ideas for further elaboration of the individual metaphors. Furthermore, the study suggests that the evaluation of animated metaphors may require special measures.

Keywords: Roles of variables, metaphor, program animation, computer science education

 101-122  Informing Systems in Business Environments: A Purpose-Focused View

Zbigniew J Gackowski
California State University Stanislaus, Turlock, CA, USA

This paper presents a technology-independent rational inquiry into informing systems in busi­ness environments. Depending on the primary concerns, informing systems should be examined from either the viewpoint of information disseminators or informing clients. The latter view­point is subject to extensive empirical studies within informing science and partially within the MIT Information Quality Program. It focuses mainly on information products, services, us­ers’ preferences, and requirement specifications. The information disseminators’ viewpoint is rarely taken into account. Based on a short review of the most popular MIS textbooks and research in this domain, this paper discusses problems one encounters during examination of informing sys­tems in business environments. It uses an improved version of the purpose-focused framework (Gackowski, 2004a), which covers both view­points. Two refinements of the In­forming Science Framework as defined by Cohen (1999) are suggested.

Keywords: Informing schema, informing systems, information in decision situations, valid information, misinformation, disinformation, purpose-focused view on quality, quality requirements; information effective usability, usefulness, and economic usefulness; refinements to the Informing Science Framework.

123-142 A Reflexive Model of ICT Practices in Organizations    

Jan-Oddvar Sørnes
Bodø Graduate School of Business
Bodø, Norway

Keri Keilberg Stephens
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX, USA

Larry Davis Browning
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX, USA

Alf Steinar Sætre
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim,

This paper reports a study of information and communication technology (ICT) use in Norway and the United States. Forty-two depth interviews completed in both countries provide the data source. Using grounded theory as a research method, and Adaptive Structuration Theory as our conceptual base, we analyze these interviews to generate an empirical model of ICT use. The 1490 incidents identified in our analysis are first reduced to 49 categories. These categories are further reduced to four: satisficing, communication channels, communication structure, and environmental agents. These four categories comprise the major parts of the reflexive model. The findings suggest that the parts of the model are interdependent and mutually causal in that individuals consider and even reconsider the use of multiple communication channels within and between tasks. As a conclusion we address future research including, credibility and time issues in ICT use. 

Keywords: media choice, organizational communication, cross-cultural communication, adaptive structuration theory, reflexivity.

 143-158  The Impact of National Culture on Worldwide eGovernment Readiness Zlatko J Kovačić
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand

Diffusion of information and communication technologies is a global phenomenon. In spite of rapid globalization there are considerable differences between nations in terms of the adoption and usage of new technologies. Several studies exploring causal factors including national cultures of information and communication technology adoption have been carried out. The focus of this paper is slightly different from other studies in this area. Rather than concentrating on the individual information technology an overall eGovernment readiness is the focus. This research conducted an analysis of the impact national culture has on eGovernment readiness and its components for 95 countries. eGovernment readiness assessment used in this study is based on the UN Global eGovernment Survey 2003, while the national cultural dimensions were identified using Hofstede’s model of cultural differences. The research model and hypotheses were formed and tested using correlation and regression analysis. The findings indicate that worldwide eGovernment readiness and its components are related to culture. The result has theoretical and practical implications.

Keywords: National Culture, eGovernment Readiness, Cross-Cultural Studies, Information Technology Adoption, Diffusion of the Internet, Hofstede

 159-172  Developing a Framework for Assessing Information Quality on the World Wide Web

Shirlee-ann Knight and Janice Burn
Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

The rapid growth of the Internet as an environment for information exchange and the lack of enforceable standards regarding the information it contains has lead to numerous information quality problems. A major issue is the inability of Search Engine technology to wade through the vast expanse of questionable content and return "quality" results to a user's query. This paper attempts to address some of the issues involved in determining what quality is, as it pertains to information retrieval on the Internet. The IQIP model is presented as an approach to managing the choice and implementation of quality related algorithms of an Internet crawling Search Engine.

Keywords: Information Quality, IQIP, Data Quality, Information Retrieval, Search Engines

173-187 Modular Inference Trees for Expository Reports

Jens Mende
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

When people write a report that involves a complex argument towards a conclusion, they can use a design tool called the inference tree, which enables them to outline the argument, and quickly detect reasoning errors in the outline. Yet when the argument is very complex, the inference tree may spread over several pages, so that writers may often have to flip back and forth between those pages. To prevent unnecessary flipping, they can draw the tree as a hierarchy of modules, similar to a modular hierarchy of program flowcharts or structure charts, where a major module controls several minor modules. In drawing the tree, writers can adopt four principles of Computing: modularity, the criterion of minimal coupling between modules, and the methods of forward and backward chaining to draw all the modules.

Keywords: homological transfer, report writing, expository report, report outline, complex argument, inference tree

189-210  The Poverty of Empiricism

Jens Mende
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Many researchers – and their advisors on research method – adopt a doctrine called empiricism, which claims that researchers may only use empirical methods. This restrictive doctrine impoverishes any academic discipline where it is dominant. The main reason is that a discipline only qualifies for the status of a science after it has progressed beyond empirical generalisations to explanatory theories; but although empirical methods are useful for discovering the former, they are inherently useless for creating the latter. So the empiricist doctrine retards scientific progress. Researchers should be aware of this danger, and research methodologists should attempt to counter it.

Keywords: Empiricism, Positivism, Research Methodology, research methods, empirical research, theoretical research

211-244 Information Politics and Information Culture:
A Case Study

Bob Travica
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

This article introduces the concepts of information politics and information culture and presents a case study that explores these concepts. The literature from the areas of IS theory and organization theory that provides a backdrop to these concepts is discussed. A case of an organization that has characteristics of both small business and voluntary organization is presented as initial validation of the concepts of information politics and information culture. The case draws on a longitudinal interpretivist study and tracks a trajectory of organizational design, information politics, information culture, management and organizational performance over 25 months. The primary finding is that the organization studied exhibited two distinct information politics and information cultures, each related to different development phases—the era of clan and the era of teams. The article also discusses particular aspects of information politics and information culture and how these relate to organizational performance. Derived are implications for further research on information politics and information culture as well as for a broader parent framework called Information View of Organization.

Keywords: Information, knowledge, knowledge management, information technology, organizational politics, organizational culture, information politics, information culture

245-262 Informing Citizens in a Highly Restrictive Environment Using Low-Budget Multimedia Communications: A Serbian Case Study

Aleksandar Spasic and Miloje Nesic
Association of Independent Electronic Media

This paper describes an inexpensive network for news exchange between TV stations, as well as a system for news production and distribution in a highly restrictive environment developed by the authors, among others. The system was initially designed in response to the news restrictions established in Yugoslavia by Slobodan Milosevic. During this time, independent media were periodically disrupted or banning. All communication channels in Yugoslavia were controlled under the dictatorship and so were subject to being censored or even turned off. For this reason, the network had to provide high system redundancy. Following the democratic changes in Serbia, the project’s mission evolved into a suitable solution for the network of branch offices. The network involves broadcasters and correspondents from the five successor countries of the former Yugoslavia. In addition, correspondents from other networks are now able to send their news packages and other information.

Keywords: News package, Multimedia information exchange, Multimedia communications, Low-Budget Multimedia, MPEG-4.

263-279 A Cognitive Approach to Instructional Design for Multimedia Learning

Stephen D. Sorden
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Aimed at both newcomers to online learning as well as experienced multimedia developers, this paper addresses the issue of how to avoid unproductive multimedia instructional practices and employ more effective cognitive strategies. Baddeley’s model of working memory and Paivio’s dual coding theory suggest that humans process information through dual channels, one auditory and the other visual. This, combined with Sweller’s Theory of Cognitive Load and Anderson’s ACT-R cognitive architecture, provides a convincing argument for how humans learn, which leads to the question of how multimedia instruction can be designed to maximize learning. Cognitive theory and frameworks like Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning provide empirical guidelines that may help us to design multimedia instruction more effectively. Mayer argues that the best way to present multimedia instruction is through visual graphics and informal voice narration, which takes advantage of both verbal and visual working memories without over-loading one or the other.

Keywords: working memory, multimedia, cognitive load, act-r, production system, dual coding.

281-302 Informing the HR Hiring Decision of IT Personnel:
The HR Professional’s View of IT Certification, Education, & Experience

John E. Anderson
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC, USA

Kevin S. Barrett
Dixie State College
St. George, UT, USA

Paul H. Schwager
East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

This study examined the importance of IT Certification from the HR Professional’s perspective, specifically the value of certification in relation to education and experience in a hiring decision. We found that an increase in formal education was subsidized by a decreasing emphasis on experience until a balance was reached. The relative weight of certification, however, was generally stable. A repeated measure analysis showed a statistically significant main effect and interaction effect. An exploratory factor analysis yielded five underlying dimensions which may be possible value drivers of IT certification on HR Professional’s hiring decisions: internal organizational benefits, external organizational benefits, same-job employee benefits, different-job employee benefits, and certification credibility. A mixed-design analysis also yielded five statistically significant interactions which shed further light on possible moderators of the value drivers of certification value: years of management experience and certification perception.

Key Words: IT Certification, HR Manager, Value of Certification