Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Blog in Review

The year 2014 marks the first full calendar year in existance for the Slow Searching blog. In the past twelve months I have written 54 posts, including this one. Almost half of these posts (24) were about Cale and my 100 mile walk to Great Wolf. The other large chunk (23) focused primarily on research, including  a sizeable group (9) about selfsourcing. The remaining seven posts touched on a variety of topics, including three related to gender issues in the computer science.

Some of the most popular Slow Searching posts of 2014 were about:
Several posts from 2013 also continued to remain popular, especially those about:
In reviewing the most popular posts, I notice that compilations seem to be popular - so I just created a new "compilation" tag. Popular compilations include: a list of behavioral logs available for research, research papers on gender in the STEM workplace, and trip reports. A post I wrote last week compiling the research I published in 2014 is already among top visited posts, despite being brand new.

Last year I started a series of posts about Related Work as a New Year's Resolution. More recently, I have also started to post Paper Summaries that each provide an overview of a paper I have published. None of these posts have proven to be particularly popular, but I personally find them to be very useful. So a goal for 2015 will be to post on both topics at least once a month.

The blog received 16 comments in 2014, excluding deleted spam comments. I love it when people leave comments; it helps me know I'm not writing into a void. The page view counter goes up (from 20k at the beginning of the year to 51,583 right now), but it's hard to believe that those numbers represent anything real. So please take the time to say hi! And thanks for reading.

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Research in Review

This post summarizes the research I published in 2014. The work divides roughly into three components covering: 1) slow search, 2) crowdsourcing, and 3) face-to-face social interaction.

Slow Search
We live in a world where the pace of everything from communication to transportation is getting faster. In recent years a number of "slow movements" have emerged that advocate for reducing speed in exchange for increasing quality. These include the slow food movement, slow parenting, slow travel, and even slow science. Building on these movements we have been exploring the concept of slow search, where search engines use additional time to provide a higher quality search experience than is possible given conventional time constraints.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Paper Summary: A Crowd of Your Own

 A Crowd of Your Own: Crowdsourcing for On-Demand Personalization
HCOMP 2014 (Notable Paper)
A lot of my research explores personalization. Personalization is a way for computers to support people’s diverse interests and needs by providing content tailored to the individual. However, despite clear evidence that personalization can improve our information experiences, it remains very hard for computers to actually understand individual differences.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Formula for Academic Papers: Related Work

The Related Work section of an academic paper is often the section that graduate students like writing the least. But it is also one of the most important sections to nail as the paper heads out for review. The Related Work section serves many purposes, several of which relate directly to reviewing:
  • The person handling the submission will use the referenced papers to identify good reviewers,
  • Reviewers will look at the references to confirm that the submission cites the appropriate work,
  • Everyone will use the section to understand the paper's contributions given the state of existing research, and
  • Future researchers will look to the Related Work section to identify other papers they should read.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Data Banks

Each of us individually create a huge amount of data online. Some of this data we create explicitly, such as when we make webpages or public facing profiles, write emails, or author documents. But we also create a lot of data implicitly as a byproduct of our interactions with digital information. These implicit data includes the search queries we issue, the webpages we visit, and our online social networks.

The data we create is valuable. We can use it to understand more about ourselves, and services can use it to personalize our experiences and understand people’s information behavior in general. But despite the fact that we are the ones who create the data, much of it is not actually in our possession. Instead, it resides with companies that provide us with online services in exchange for it. A handful of powerful companies have a monopoly on our data.
Definition of monopoly: the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service
Definition of data monopoly: the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in an individual’s personal data

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Help! I'm Sexist!

The research studies I posted last Friday about the role gender plays in the STEM workplace paint a consistent picture: women face significant discrimination. Women are paid (and hired, and tenured) less than men with the same qualifications, and these gender differences are particularly large for parents. While women are often encouraged to address the existing disparities by advocating for themselves (e.g., by being assertive, negotiating, or encouraging diversity), research shows this type of behavior typically incurs a further penalty.

Instead, gender disparities in the STEM workplace are a problem that the entire community must address. Hiring managers need to hire more women. Managers need to promote more women. And peers need to accept diverse communication styles without the lens of gender.

Importantly, however, this does not just mean that MEN need to hire (and promote, and accept) more. Because the other consistent picture that arose from the studies I posted on Friday is that both men AND WOMEN discriminate against women. We all have deep seated biases that contribute to the problem.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Research about Gender in the STEM Workplace

Science Faculty’s Subtle Gender Biases Favor Male Students by Corinne A. Moss-Racusina et al.
In a study with 127 science faculty at research-intensive universities, candidates with identical resumes were more likely to be offered a job and paid more if their name was "John" instead of "Jennifer." The gender of the faculty participating did not impact the outcome.

How Stereotypes Impair Women’s Careers in Science by Ernesto Reuben et al.
Men are much more likely than women to be hired for a math task, even when equally qualified. This happens regardless of the gender of the hiring manager.

Measuring the Glass Ceiling Effect: An Assessment of Discrimination in Academia by Katherine Weisshaar
In computer science, men are significantly more likely to earn tenure than women with the same research productivity. [From a summary]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Evidence from Behavior


Doug Oard at the Information School at the University of Maryland is teaching an open online course on information retrieval this fall (INST 734). Above is the brief cameo lecture I recorded using Office Mix for the segment on Evidence from Behavior.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The #GreatWalk Recap

Cale and I completed our 100 mile #GreatWalk from Bellevue, WA to Great Wolf Lodge. We live-blogged on Twitter as we walked, and I have recorded our tweets on this blog in chronological order to make them easy to read. Thanks for sharing our journey with us!
  • Day 1: We depart!
  • Day 2: A long walk to the airport
  • Day 3: Getting tired and frustrated
  • Day 4: A candy discovery
  • Day 5: Skirting the military base
  • Day 6: A wet and rainy day
  • Day 7: Into the wilderness
  • Day 8: We arrive at Great Wolf!
  • Day 9: A day of rest
  • Day 10: The trip home
Some interesting external links about the adventure:

#GreatWalk: Day 10

[This post includes my tweets (@jteevan) from the tenth day (July 27, 2014) of Cale and my 100 mile walk to Great Wolf!]