J. Blustein's Publications

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Short List

Titles are links to detailed list (below).

Refereed

Theses and Dissertations (by J. Blustein)

Important Reports by J. Blustein's Students

Maha ALJohani & James Blustein (2013).
Summary of User Experience Issues in DalSpace: Adapted from Maha ALJohani's MCS Thesis.
2013, 110 pages.
Availability
Abstract

This report is adapted from Maha ALJohani's Masters of Computer Science thesis document. ALJohani's research was about the use of a usability evaluation technique, heuristic evaluation, and its application to Dalhousie University's institutional repository, DalSpace.

Amongst the many activities ALJohani undertook to assess the usability of Dalspace, she interviewed users and potential users of DalSpace. Based on these background studies she created composite profiles of types of typical users and tasks they would need to complete to achieve the goals for which they would need to use DalSpace. The profiles and tasks appear in Part IV.

It should be noted that there are many strengths to DalSpace. This report is confined to potential problems with the user experience.

Through the evaluation fifty-seven potential problems with DalSpace's user interface were identified. This report described each of those issues in detail and recommends ways to address them. Of particular interest is Part III in which we attempt to address the root causes of the potential problems and rank the issues by severity as a way to recommend which issues should be addressed first.

Shibu Bashir (2004).
Hierarchical Task Analysis of Intrusion Detection Systems.
2004, 95 pages.
Availability
Introduction

It is apparent that information technology is the backbone of many organizations, small or big. Since they depend on information technology to drive their business forward, issues regarding network security have become a high priority. Companies use technologies such as e-mail, web services, databases, applications, etc. — accessed via a network — on a day to day basis to perform various organizational functions and duties.

The task of protecting a company's network falls on a single or group of persons called Network Security Administrators. They use a wide variety of tools and procedures to keep the company network secure. One major classification of tools used are Intrusion Detection Systems or IDS. IDSs are capable of monitoring network traffic and system usage for anomalies (activities that are not part of the norm).

The aim of our study is to perform a hierarchical task analysis of functions carried out by a typical Network Security Administrator in a small to medium sized company. Hierarchical task analysis is the detailed description of a job or function from top to bottom. By performing this study, we are able to design better user interfaces for applications used for intrusion detection. Current practices involve using a variety of text based tools and utilities, monitoring log files, etc., all of which may be time consuming, monotonous, and error prone. A better user interface for the IDS would allow the Administrators to be more efficient and productive in their job and reduce the probability of error.

Huan Gao (2004).
Support of Hypertextual Annotation on the Web.
2004, 133 pages.
Dal FCS tech. rep. #CS-2004-20
Mona M. Noor (2003).
Online Glossary Tools for Technical Reading.
2003, 133 pages.
Dal FCS tech. rep. #CS-2003-09

Non-Refereed

Significant Electronic Publications

Titles are links to the documents.

Other

Author's Address


Detailed List

This detailed list is in chronological order, from most recent to earliest.  Articles tagged with {H*} are hypertexts.  Articles tagged with [R] were refereed.  When I am the first author I try to make author's pre-prints available online (through this site or Dalhousie University's institutional respository).

[R] Interactive Document Clustering with Feature Supervision through Reweighting
Yeming Hu, Evangelos Milios,and James Blustein
Intelligent Data Analysis: An International Journal (IDA)
To Appear in volume 18, issue 4 during summer of 2014
See also Yeming Hu's (2012) PhD thesis document in the Dalhousie Repository
Abstract

Unsupervised document clustering groups documents into clusters without any user effort. However, the clusters produced are often found not in accord with user's perception of the document collection. In this paper we describe a novel framework and explore whether clustering performance can be improved by including user supervision at the feature level. Unlike existing semi-supervised clustering methods, which ask the user to label documents, this framework interactively asks the user to label features. The proposed method ranks all features based on the recent clusters using cluster-based feature selection and presents a list of highly ranked features to the user for labeling. The feature set for the next clustering iteration includes both features accepted by the user and other highly ranked features. The experimental results on several real datasets demonstrate that the feature set obtained using the new interactive framework can produce clusters that better match the user's expectations compared with the unsupervised version of the methods. Moreover, we quantify and evaluate the effect of reweighting previously accepted features and of user effort. Different underlying clustering algorithms such as K Means and Multinomial Naïve Bayes model are demonstrated to perform very well with the newly proposed framework.

[R] Of Hoverboards and Hypertext
Daniel Yule and James Blustein
HCI International 2013 / Design, User Experience and Usability 2013
21–26 July 2013
Las Vegas, NV
[R] Personalized Document Clustering with Dual Supervision
Yeming Hu, Evangelos Milios, James Blustein, and Shali Liu
ACM Symposium on Document Engineering 2012
04–07 September 2012
Paris, France
Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/2361354.2361393 or from this link
Abstract

The potential for semi-supervised techniques to produce personalized clusters has not been explored. This is due to the fact that semi-supervised clustering algorithms used to be evaluated using oracles based on underlying class labels. Although using oracles allows clustering algorithms to be evaluated quickly and without labor intensive labeling, it has the key disadvantage that oracles always give the same answer for an assignment of a document or a feature. However, dierent human users might give dierent assignments of the same document and/or feature because of different but equally valid points of view. In this paper, we conduct a user study in which we ask participants (users) to group the same document collection into clusters according to their own understanding, which are then used to evaluate semi-supervised clustering algorithms for user personalization. Through our user study, we observe that dierent users have their own personalized organizations of the same collection and a user's organization changes over time. Therefore, we propose that document clustering algorithms should be able to incorporate user input and produce personalized clusters based on the user input. We also conrm that semi-supervised algorithms with noisy user input can still produce better organizations matching user's expectation (personalization) than traditional unsupervised ones. Finally, we demonstrate that labeling keywords for clusters at the same time as labeling documents can improve clustering performance further compared to labeling only documents with respect to user personalization.

See also Yeming Hu's (2012) PhD thesis document in the Dalhousie Repository
[R] A Unified Framework for Document Clustering with Dual Supervision
Yeming Hu, Evangelos E. Milios, and James Blustein
Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/2245276.2245457 or from this link
ACM Applied Computing Review
Vol. 12 (2):929–936. (2012).
Abstract

Traditional semi-supervised clustering uses only limited user supervision in the form of labeled instances and pairwise instance constraints to aid unsupervised clustering. However, user supervision can also be provided in alternative forms for document clustering, such as labeling a feature by indicating whether it discriminates among clusters. This paper thus fills this void by enhancing traditional semi-supervised clustering with feature supervision which asks the user to label discriminating features during labeling the instance or pairwise instance constraints. Various types of semi-supervised clustering algorithms were explored with feature supervision. Our experimental results on several real-world datasets demonstrate that augmenting the instance-level supervision with feature-level supervision can significantly improve document clustering performance.

[R] NUScholar: Digital Methods for Educating New Humanities Scholars
Ann-Barbara Graff, Kristin Lucas, James Blustein, Robin Gibson, and Sharon Woods
Digital Humanities 2012
poster (this is a link to the abstract from conference site)
16–22 July 2012
Hamburg, Germany
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-29166-1_10
[R] Knowledge Contribution in Social Media: Exploring Factors Influencing Social Taggers' Acceptance towards Contributing and Sharing Tags
Hesham Allam, James Blustein, Michael Bliemel, and Louise Spiteri
Information Systems, Technology and Management; Communications in Computer and Information Science
Vol. 285, Part 1, pp. 112-123. (2012).
ISBN 978-3-642-29166-1.
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-29166-1_10
Abstract

Based on a thorough literature review of social tagging and on technology acceptance models, we developed and empirically validated a motivational model to predict users' acceptance to add and share tagging content. Four factors successfully predicted users' intention to add and share metadata tagging content. Unlike previous studies on virtual communities, Reciprocity was found to be positively related to attitude whereas, in line with previous research, Ease of Use and Personal Productivity were confirmed to have substantial influence on users' attitude, which in turn affects the intention towards creating and sharing tagging content. Our findings are expected to shed light on developing strategies to understand and promote tagging content contribution and sharing which have the potential to increase the collective power and intelligence of the community.

[R] Enhancing Semi-supervised Document Clustering with Feature Supervision
Yeming Hu, Evangelos E. Milios, and James Blustein
Proceedings of the 27th Symposium on Applied Computing
26–30 March 2012
Trento, Italy
Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/2245276.2245457 or from this link
Abstract

Traditional semi-supervised clustering uses only limited user supervision in the form of labeled instances and pairwise instance constraints to aid unsupervised clustering. However, user supervision can also be provided in alternative forms for document clustering, such as labeling a feature by indicating whether it discriminates among clusters. This paper thus lls this void by enhancing traditional semi-supervised clustering with feature supervision which asks the user to label discriminating features during labeling the instance or pairwise instance constraints. Various types of semi-supervised clustering algorithms were explored with feature supervision. Our experimental results on several real-world datasets demonstrate that augmenting the instance-level supervision with feature-level supervision can signicantly improve document clustering performance.

[R] Semi-supervised Document Clustering with Dual Supervision through Seeding
Yeming Hu, Evangelos E. Milios, and James Blustein
Proceedings of the 27th Symposium on Applied Computing
26–30 March 2012
Trento, Italy
DOI:10.1145/2245276.2245306
Abstract

Semi-supervised clustering algorithms for general problems use a small amount of labeled instances or pairwise instance constraints to aid the unsupervised clustering. However, user supervision can also be provided in alternative forms for document clustering, such as labeling a feature by associating it with a document or a cluster. Besides labeled documents, this paper also explores labeled features to generate cluster seeds to seed the unsupervised clustering. In this paper, we present a unified framework in which one can use both labeled documents and features in terms of seeding clusters and refine this information using intermediate clusters. We introduce two methods of using labeled features to generate cluster seeds. Experimental results on several real-world data sets demonstrate that constraining the clustering by both documents and features seeding can significantly improve document clustering performance over random seeding and document only seeding.

[R] VDMs [Visual Data Mountains] for finding and re-finding Web search results
Hoda Badesh and James Blustein
iConference '12: Proceedings of the 2012 iConference, ACM Press
7–12 February 2012
Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/2132176.2132232 or from this link
Abstract

This paper presents Visual Data Mountains (VDMs), a tool intended to assist users to find relevant documents and discover varied topics among Web search results. The interface is also intended to improve how users re-find search results. A smallscale pilot study was conducted to evaluate the enjoyment of VDMs and its perceived effectiveness for finding and re-finding tasks on the Web.

[R] Exploring Factors Impacting Users' Attitude And Intention Towards Social Tagging Systems
Hesham Allam, James Blustein, Michael Bliemel, and Louise Spiteri
Proceedings of the 45th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Computer Society Press, 2012
7–10 January 2012
Maui, HI, USA
DOI:10.1109/HICSS.2012.267
Abstract

While recent progress has been made in understanding the structure and dynamics of social tagging systems, we know little about the users' underlying motivations for tagging, and how these motivations influence the resulting use of tagging systems. In this article, we propose and empirically validate a conceptual model of key factors that affect users' attitude and intention to use social tagging systems. Our findings highlight three new factors and confirm two previous factors. In addition to Perceived Enjoyment and Perceived Ease-of-use, we introduce Content Generation, Information Retrievability, and Information Re-findability as new dimensions affecting the use of social tagging systems. Our goal is to help researchers, designers, and managers of tagging systems and other social systems on the Web understand how to motivate users to increase their use and hence harvest the collaborative and sharing benefits associated with these tools.

[R] Enhancing Exploratory Search with Hedonic Browsing Using Social Tagging Tools
Hesham Allam, James Blustein, Louise Spiteri, and Michael Bliemel
Second International Workshop on Modeling Social Media (co-located with the Third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing)
09 October 2011
Boston, MA, USA
DOI:10.1109/PASSAT/SocialCom.2011.70
Abstract

Exploratory search offers users the privilege to take command of the search process by browsing, selecting, navigating through the Web to locate targeted information resource. We introduce hedonic browsing as an enhancer for exploratory search. In this article, we propose and empirically validate a hedonic browsing model using social tagging tools. We introduce two hedonic components namely Curiosity and Enjoyment and measure their effect on the social tagging exploratory behavior. Our findings suggest that hedonic tag browsing exists and Curiosity with Enjoyment have a strong impact on exploratory browsing and search of social tags.

[R] Making Sense in the Margins: A field study of annotation
James Blustein, David Rowe, and Ann-Barbara Graff
International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL) 2011
25–29 September 2011
Berlin, Germany
Availability
Abstract

We report on three years of data collected in the field from students in graduate and undergraduate seminars at two universities. The students annotated texts for discussion in classes where hypertext and computer interfaces were core topics. The results of our analysis show how annotation style changes with a combination of experience and study of material related to annotation. Our major conclusions are that there are essentially six purposes for scholarly user-readers to annotate; and support for textual glosses is a necessary part of any successful annotation technology for such use. Our study suggests tools that will be appreciated by e-text users.

[R] Visualization and Clustering in Web Search: An Effective Approach
Hoda Badesh and James Blustein
International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2011)
27–29 June 2011
London, UK
Availabile from IEEE website
Abstract

Presenting search results as a list of hits can be ineffective in assisting users to find relevant documents and discover varied topics among search results. Visualization can assist users to find relevant documents and make the search interface more effective. This paper presents a Data Mountain Search Results Presentation Interface (DMSRPI). The interface is intended to improve the effectiveness in how users search the Web and find relevant information. A user study is yet to be conducted for evaluating the DMSRPI.

[R] A survey report on Mobile Eye-Based Human-Computer Interaction
Sachin Srinivas and James Blustein
International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2011)
27–29 June 2011
London, UK
Available from IEEE website
[R] Electronic commerce on-site search services: A state of the art review
Nan Li, Peter Hitchcock, James Blustein and Michael Bliemel
In Exploring the Grand Challenges for Next Generation E-Business Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, 2011, Volume 52, Part 2, Part 6 [sic], 226-234, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-17449-0_23
Availabile from SpringerLink (DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-17449-0_23)
[R] Towards a Politics of Reading: Narrative, Literary Hypertext and Meaning
James Blustein and Ann-Barbara Graff
Workshop on Narrative and Hypertext at the ACM Hypertext conference
(Organized by Charlie Hargood and David Millard)
06 June 2011
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
[R] Online Web Genre Classification, Is It Doable?
Hoda Badesh, James Blustein, and Anwar Alhenshiri
Seventh International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies (WEBIST 2011)
6–9 May 2011
Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands
[R] Exploring visualisation in Web information retrieval
Anwar Alhenshiri and James Blustein
International Journal of Internet Technology and Secured Transactions
Vol. 3 (3), pp. 321-330. (2011).
DOI:10.1504/IJITST.2011.041299
[R] Interactive Feature Selection for Document Clustering
Yeming Hu, Evangelos Milios, and James Blustein
26th Symposium On Applied Computing (SAC 2011)
21–25 March 2011
TaiChung, Taiwan
8 pages
Abstract

Traditional document clustering techniques group similar documents without any user interaction. Although such methods minimize user effort, the clusters they generate are often not in accord with their users' conception of the document collection. In this paper we describe a new framework and experiments with it exploring how clustering might be improved by including user supervision at the level of selecting features that are used to distinguish between documents. We conjecture that clusters better matching user expectations can be generated with user input at the feature level. In order to verify our conjecture, we propose a novel iterative framework which involves users interactively selecting the features used to cluster documents.

Unlike existing semi-supervised clustering, which asks users to label constraints between documents, this framework interactively asks users to label features. The proposed method ranks all features based on the recent clusters using cluster based feature selection and presents a list of highly ranked features to users for labeling. The feature set for next clustering iteration includes both features accepted by users and other highly ranked features.

The experimental results on several real datasets demonstrate that the feature set obtained using the new interactive framework can produce clusters that better match the user's expectations. Moreover, we quantify and evaluate the effect of re-weighting previously accepted features and of user effort.

Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/1982185.1982436 or from this link
[R] A Conceptual Model for Dimensions Impacting Employees' Participation in Enterprise Social Tagging
Hesham Allam, Michael Bliemel, James Blustein, Louise Spiteri, and Carolyn Watters
Workshop on Modeling Social Media at the ACM Hypertext conference
13 June 2010
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
poster
Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/1835980.1835985 or from this link
[R] Utilizing Visualization for Improving Web Search Effectiveness
Anwar Alhenshiri and James Blustein
International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2010)
28–30 June 2010
London, UK
Available from IEEE website (PDF file)
[R] A Survey On Various Factors Of Color Preferences
Ashraf Mohammed Iqbal and James Blustein
IADIS International Conference Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction 2010 (IHCI 2010)
28–30 July 2010
Freiburg, Germany
Available from the IADIS digital library
[R] Impact of Spatial Visualization Aptitude on WWW Navigation
James Blustein, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Haris Parvaiz, Ching-Lung Fu, Caixia Wang, Alexander (Sandy) Chapman, and Yeming Hu
The Ergonomics Open Journal Vol. 2 pp. 80-87. (2009).
Abstract

Although the underlying mechanism is not well understood, there is considerable evidence that the constellation of cognitive factors known as spatial ability influences users' performance in information spaces. Evidence of the effect in the computer science literature is contradictory: some studies show that techniques, which support users with lower aptitude, retard performance by those with higher aptitude. We have investigated the effect of the visualization subfactor in a real-world navigation task using location menu breadcrumbs and Dillon's IMRD task.

We compared the navigational styles and success rates in an answer seeking task using both standard and menu breadcrumbs in a large website. The higher aptitude group was significantly more efficient and used the Back button less than the lower aptitude group.

We discuss implications for explaining why spatial aptitude affects success with hypertext, the potential for practical application, and ongoing follow-up work.

Availability:
[R] Electronic Commerce On-Site Search Services: A state of the art review
Nan Li, Peter Hitchcock, James Blustein and Michael Bliemel
WEB 09: The Eighth Workshop on e-Business
15 December 2009
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
[R] Information displays for managing shared files
Tara Whalen, Elaine G. Toms, and James Blustein
Symposium on Computer Human Interaction for Management of Information Technology (CHIMIT) 08
14-15 November 2008
San Diego, USA
Abstract

Within the workplace setting, people need to provide sufficient access to files to allow collaboration, but not so much that sensitive files are inadvertently exposed. Yet evidence suggests that file sharing problems decrease security and interfere with collaboration. A potential solution for managing these problems is to present the user with clear information about file sharing settings and activities. Current file managers either hide the information or simply do not provide it. Using an awareness framework, we identified the core information that users need to be aware of in file sharing situations, performed two studies to determine how to best represent those concept as labels and icons, and developed a prototype for a file manager that reveals file sharing activity. The results of this design activity can be adopted for other file sharing applications, improving their security and collaborative usability.

Available from ACM with DOI 10.1145/1477973.1477980 or from this link
[R] Natural Search Pointers — a query formulation method for structured information search
Marek Lipczak, James Blustein, and Evangelos Milios
2008 Conference on Human System Interaction (HIS'08)
25-27 May 2008
Krakow, Poland
DOI: 10.1109/HSI.2008.4581436
Abstract

Despite a wide variety of new solutions, structured information search still has only one practical approach — form-based interface. A key limitation of this interface is poor handling of iterative search. While browsing the results users have to memorize all new search constraints, go back to the form, and enter them into the appropriate fields. To overcome this obstacle we created Natural Search Pointers — a structured information search interface, which formulates search queries based on information highlighted by a user while browsing the search results. NSP can be used as an extension of any standard form-based interface for consumer-oriented database search engines. Comparison of traditional form-based interface and its NSP extension shows that in iterative search tasks NSP makes finding information faster and more convenient.

Availability:
[R] File Sharing and Group Information Management
Tara Whalen, Elaine Toms, and James Blustein
Personal Information Management: PIM 2008 workshop at CHI conference
5-6 April 2008
Florence, Italy
Abstract

Groups that interact digitally often communicate and collaborate through shared files. Managing access to these shared files can be complex: one needs to provide sufficient access to allow collaboration, but not so much that sensitive files are inadvertently exposed. Preliminary evidence suggests that file sharing problems decrease security and interfere with collaboration. We collected data in order to develop a comprehensive picture of how users carry out file sharing, and the problems they encounter. We present our results, and describe the implications for group information management. We also describe some design ideas, and discuss how these can be adapted for file management in the disappearing desktop context.

Availability:
[R] Impact of Spatial Visualization Aptitude on WWW Navigation
James Blustein, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Jason Satel, Haris Parvaiz, Ching-Lung Fu Yeming Hu, and Caixia Wang
Workshop on Cognition and the Web: Information Processing and Learning
pp. 185-192
24-26 April 2008
Granada, Spain
Availability:
[R] Influence of Spatial Ability in Navigation
Ishtiaq Ahmed and James Blustein
International Journal Of Web Based Communities Vol. 2, Issue 2, pp. 183-196 (2006)
DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2006.010309
Draft Abstract

Spatial implications of the commonly used navigation metaphor have lead many researchers to investigate the relation between individual differences and navigation. This study presents an exploratory survey on the influence of spatial ability, the most incisive aspect of individual difference for navigation, when people try to accomplish their goal in the information space. There are still different opinions about the potential of visual mediators for people with low spatial ability that help in refraining from the state of being disoriented or lost in the huge information content. The findings motivated us to design a research framework focusing a special visual look-ahead breadcrumb tool. Breadcrumbs are a type of navigational aid that help users from being lost in large websites by providing information about their location in the site hierarchy. The framework is presented after the preliminary discussion. The results from the experiment report that spatial ability influenced navigation efficiency on the Web. The effect of spatial ability was marginally significant on the use of Back button during navigation. However, there was no interaction effect found between spatial ability and the visual look-ahead breadcrumbs on the navigation performance of the users.

Availability:
  1. Official: record at the International Journal of Web Based Communities
  2. Author's copy
  3. Draft available as a tech. rep.: TR-CS-2005-12
[R] An Evaluation of Menu Breadcrumbs for the WWW
James Blustein, Ishtiaq Ahmed, and Keith Instone
ACM Hypertext Conference 2005
pp. 202 – 204
Availability
  1. Pre-printed as a tech. rep.: TR-CS-2005-11
  2. from ACM DL with DOI 1083356.1083394 or from this link
Information Visualization for an Intrusion Detection System [a poster]
Ching-Lung Fu, James Blustein, and Daniel L. Silver
ACM Hypertext Conference 2005
Abstract available as
  1. Pre-printed as a tech. rep.: TR-CS-2005-10
  2. from ACM DL with DOI 10.1145/1083356.1083419 or from this link
PDF version of the poster available as:
[R] Information Visualization for Intrusion Detection
James Blustein, Daniel L. Silver, and Ching-Lung Fu
PST '05
Abstract

Spatial hypertext was developed from studies of how humans deal with information overflow particularly in situations where data needed to be interpreted quickly. Intrusion detection requires security managers of large networks to rapidly respond (often in real-time) to masses of information. Users of such systems need to recognize large developing patterns in masses of data, they prefer to work individually (although they must function in collaborative groups), and they rely on their intuitions more than deductive logic. Such users have particular personality characteristics and job needs which can be well served by interfaces which use a spatial hypertext model. Also, like most users, they prefer to be in charge of the process that they use the computer as a tool to assist with. The architecture proposed in this article is based on spatial hypertext and machine learning. That interface design allows for a great deal of interface flexibility and user control. The article discusses in detail how spatial hypertext, and the proposed architecture in particular, can well fulfill the needs of intrusion detection system users through personalized information filtering.

Availability:
[R] Chronological Sampling for Email Filtering
Ching-Lung Fu, Daniel Silver, and James Blustein
Proceedings of the Workshop on Machine Learning for User Modeling: Challenges at UM '05 (10th Int'l Conf. on User Modeling)
(2005)
Abstract

User models for email filtering should be developed from appropriate training and test sets. A k-fold cross-validation is commonly presented in the literature as a method of mixing old and new messages to produce these data sets. We show that this results in overly optimistic estimates of the email filter's accuracy in classifying future messages because the test set has a higher probability of containing messages that are similar to those in the training set. We propose the k-fold chronological cross-validation method that preserves the chronology of the email messages in the test set.

Availability:
[R] Navigation in Information Space: How Does Spatial Ability Play A Part?
Ishtiaq Ahmed and James Blustein
In Proc. the Second Int'l Conf. on Web Based Communities (WBC '05)
pp. 119 – 125
Feb. 2005, Algarve, Portugal
(Conference sponsored by IADIS)
Availability:
  1. Definitive version available from the IADIS DL
  2. Author's copy
[R] Navigation in Information Space
Ishtiaq Ahmed and James Blustein
In Proc. the Second Int'l Conf. on Web Based Communities (WBC '05)
pp. 281 – 286
Feb. 2005, Algarve, Portugal
(Conference sponsored by IADIS)
Availability:
  1. Definitive version available from the IADIS DL
  2. Author's copy
[R] Personal Glossaries on the WWW: An Exploratory Study
and
[R] {H*} Personal Glossaries on the WWW: An Exploratory Study (Hypertext)
James Blustein and Mona Noor
ACM Symposium on Document Engineering 2004
Abstracts:
  1. Traditional Form

    We examine basic issues of glossary tools as part of a suite of annotational tools to help users make meaning from documents from unfamiliar realms of discourse. We specifically evaluated the performance of glossary tools for reading medical information about common diseases by users with no formal medical education.

    We developed both automatic and an editable glossary tools. Both of them extracted definitions from the text of articles. Only the editable glossary tool allowed users to add, delete, and change entries.

    Both tools were evaluated to find out how useful they were to users reading technical articles online. The analytical results showed that user performance improved without increasing total reading time. The glossary tools were effective and pleasing to users at no decrease in efficiency. This experiment points the way for longer-term studies with adaptable tools, particularly to help users unfamiliar with technical documents. We also discuss the rôle of glossaries as part of a suite of annotational tools to help users make personal (and therefore meaningful) hypertextual document collections.

  2. Hypertext form

    This article presents an experiment with interfaces for glossaries attached to electronic documents.

    The authors argue that glossaries are a distinguished form of annotation in need of study, and suggest relevant classifications of such tools. In particular they distinguish between (a) glossaries that are tied to single documents or those that can be used with many documents, and (b) glossaries for use only by their authors (so-called personal glossaries), and those for general use (termed shared glossaries). Unlike annotation in general, glossaries have a structure composed of terms, and definitions (which may also include references to other related materials).

    Using lessons garnered from earlier work on usability issues, the researchers concentrated on users' needs and the potential for glossaries to alter the ways people use electronic documents. An automatic glossary tool and an editable glossary tool were developed. Both tools used the same definitions extracted from the text of articles. Unlike the automatic tool, the editable tool allowed users to alter, delete and add new entries. Both tools were evaluated to find out how useful they were to users reading technical articles online. Measures of speed, comprehension, and satisfaction were collected. Forty users were given two online articles about selected health conditions to read in a fully-randomized mixed design with each participant completing two sessions (one with and one without a glossary).

    Although they accessed glossary entries regardless of which tool they were given, users did not employ the specific features of the editable glossary. However, users found both of the tools useful and easy to use. Furthermore, users commented that if they knew that they could use the glossary after the experimental session, or that they would need to understand the terms for a test or in their job, then they would have used the editable glossary more.

    The analytical results showed that user performance improved without increasing total reading time. The glossary tools were effective and pleasing to users at no decrease in efficiency. The experiment points the way for longer-term studies with adaptable tools, particularly to help users unfamiliar with technical documents.

    An additional feature of this article is its formatting as a hypertext. The design of the hypertext is based on studies of how people process written technical materials and is intended as a paradigm for future publications.

Availability
  1. Official: DOI:10.1145/1030397.1030409
    • The hypertext article is available from the ACM however its location is changed from time to time without notice.  The article might be found at the end of an Html link or it might be found in a compressed archive format in the supplement section.  The article was not a supplement — it was refereed apart from the other article.
    • Traditional article available as a PDF file
  2. Preprints:
    1. preprint of hypertext article
      • available in XHTML (22 nodes, 60 files)
      • available in tar.gz format (approx. 1.2 Mb)
    2. preprint of traditional article (in PDF, 3 letter-sized pages)
Related technical report: CS-2003-09
  • Online Glossary Tools for Technical Reading by Mona M. Noor, Dec. 2003
[R] {H*} A Personal Information & Knowledge Infrastructure Integrator (2004)
K. Andrew Edmonds, James Blustein, and Don Turnbull
Journal of Digital Information (JoDI)
Vol. 5, Issue 1, Article number 243
Availability: link to article at journal website
Abstract

The Next Big Thing is being grown organically, cultivated by software developers and pruned by personal weblog publishers. The rising weblogging space of the Internet is looking more like traditional hypertext than the World Wide Web of the 1990s. The ways in which weblogging has evolved beyond the previous limitations of the Web as hypertext will be explored and the ways weblogging is evolving towards common-use hypertext destined to play a critical role in everyday life. We have a vision of a universal information management system built on extending the traditional hypertext framework. In our utopian future, everyone will use tools descended from today's blogs to structure, search, and share personal information as well as to participate in shared discussion.

We begin by expressing a vision of common-use hypertext for information management and interpersonal communication. This vision is grounded in the rapid evolution of weblogs and known issues in information systems and hypertext. The practical implications of who will use these systems, and how, is expanded into a detailed exploration of weblogs now and in the future as usage scenarios. After recapping the current issues facing the weblogging community we look to the long-range implementation issues with optimism.

Our system is forward-looking yet realistic. The activities the system will support are extrapolated from recent developments in the online community and most of the sketches of implementation are based on current approaches. It is of more than passing interest that the features we extrapolate were all described by Ted Nelson as early hypertext ideals. Of particular interest is that the features are now being implemented because of perceived immediate need by communities of interest.

[R] Improving Intrusion Detection Systems Through Heuristic Evaluation (2004)
Andrew T. Zhou, James Blustein, and Nur Zincir-Heywood
In 17th Annual Canadian Conf. on Electrical and Computer Engineering
May 2004 (vol. 3, pp. 1641 – 1644)
INSPEC Accession Number: 8082900
Availability:
Abstract

This work is a report on efforts to improve the usability of intrusion detection systems. Specifically, we first conducted a worldwide survey of system administrators from different countries and economic sectors to understand the state of practice in security management with a particular focus on intrusion detection systems (IDSs). Then, based on these survey results and in depth interviews, we developed new heuristics to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of IDSs. The comparison of our refined heuristics and Nielsen's general heuristics on Snort, Snortsnarf and our proposed interface show that evaluators using our heuristics find significantly (p<0.0002) more of the problems. Also, evaluations with both sets find fewer problems in our interface than in Snort or Snortsnarf.

Related technical report: CS-2003-06
  • The State of Network Security Management: Issues and Directions by Andrew T. Zhou et al., May 2003
Hierarchical Task Analysis for Intrusion Detection Systems (2004)
Shibu Bashir
A research paper submitted to the Faculty of Computer Science [at Dalhousie University] in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Electronic Commerce
Availability:
Spatial Ability and Information Shape: When do individual differences matter
James Blustein and Jason Satel
In Third Workshop on Spatial Hypertext, 2003.
Abstract

Psychologists have long known that cognitive differences between individuals can significantly affect performance on a variety of tasks. Several recent studies have shown that so-called spatial reasoning ability has a significant effect on users success with (spatial and non-spatial) hypertexts. If we understood why spatial ability has such a strong effect on success with hypertext then we could adapt hypertext for use by different types of people, and explore new types of presentation.

It is clear that the different success rates are not solely due to the hypertext systems and the need to integrate two-dimensional spatial data (as with spatial HT systems like VKB) but rather the need to make sense of, and navigate in, multi-dimensional structures of meaning. A. Dillon and D. Schaap refer to some of these issues as information shape.

Despite clear evidence that spatial reasoning ability affects success with hypertext, studies of the effect are remarkably vague about what subfactors were assessed. We have made a preliminary analysis of these studies to determine their common components. We present both a survey of studies of hypertext that have found such effects, and an investigation into the underlying causes.

Available as Dalhousie Computer Science Technical Report CS-2003-11
Hypertext 2002: Proceedings of the Thirteenth ACM Conf. on Hypertext and Hypermedia
Kenneth M. Anderson, Stuart Moulthrop, and James Blustein (eds.)
Published by The Association for Computing Machinery, ISBN 1-58113-477-0.
[R] Methods of Generating and Evaluating Hypertext
James Blustein and Mark S. Staveley
In Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST) vol. 35 2001
Martha E. Williams, ed.
Section 6 (pp. 299 – 335)
Published on behalf of the American Society for Information Science and Technology by Information Today, Inc.; 2001.
[R] Automatically Generated Hypertext Versions of Scholarly Articles and Their Evaluation
James Blustein
In ACM Hypertext 2000 Conf.
May – June 2000

Available in PDF (approx. 575 000 octets):

Abstract

The overall objective of this work is to develop and evaluate ways of automatically incorporating hypertext links into pre-existing scientific articles. Some readers like hypertext even when it is not as useful to them as the linear document from which it was generated. Hypertexts must therefore be evaluated for usefulness and acceptability. We describe rules for making links and an experiment using two methods of applying those rules, to show how such rules should be evaluated, and to see if they truly help people. In addition to measures of performance we also collected measures of preference. The effectiveness of these links was evaluated by testing with people. Performance was determined by measuring the accuracy and inclusiveness of answers to questions about the article, and written summaries. Readers judged the quality of links (and thereby the quality of the rules used to forge them) and the overall effectiveness of the hypertext. Most readers did not read the entire articles in the time allotted. Readers had no preference for articles with or without novel link types, but they did have a strong preference for definition and structural links over (novel) semantic links. Readers of documents with only structural links had comprehension scores that were inversely proportional to their satisfaction ratings. No performance difference was detected.

Dalhousie Computer Science Technical Report CS-2002-06: Recording Links Followed in a Single HTML Document
James Blustein
(Formerly in press at The Perl Journal, but retroactively rejected by new management)
Availability:
Abstract

This report describes in detail a combination of tools (written in Perl, Javascript and the hypertext markup language (HTML) that were used to record the links users followed within a single web page.

The method was developed specifically for use with the Perl 5 language and the Netscape World Wide Browser (version 4 for Unix) but can be easily adapted to other browsers. The main drawback to the method is that users must click the back button twice to return to the previous link. It should be a simple matter to eliminate that drawback using today's browsers.

Panel: Adaptive Hypermedia
James Blustein and Luis Francisco-Revilla
sigWEB Newsletter vol. 8, no. 2, June 1999
Available (in PDF) from ACM
Hypertext Versions of Journal Articles: Computer-aided linking and realistic human-based evaluation
William James Blustein
Doctoral thesis
April 1999
Department of Computer Science, University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
A PostScript version (encoded by gzip) is available for FTP from ftp.csd.uwo.ca in the pub/thesis directory.
Abstract

My overall objective is to develop and evaluate ways of automatically incorporating hypertext links into pre-existing scholarly journal articles. I describe a rule-based approach for making three types of links (structural, definition, and semantic). Structural links are a way of making explicit some connections between parts of the text. Definition links connect the use of a term, defined elsewhere in the document, to that definition. Links that connect parts of text that discuss similar things are semantic links. I distinguish several types of semantic links.

I use two information retrieval (IR) systems (Cornell's SMART system and Bellcore's Latent Semantic Indexing) to select links based on the content of the articles. I conducted an experiment to compare the performance of the links forged using these two systems.

The effectiveness of the links (and the rules used to make them) is tested by people reading the hypertext versions for information under a time constraint. A within-subjects experimental design was used. Each of the nineteen experimental participants read one version of each of three scholarly articles in a different hypertext form (one had only simple links, the others had definition links and semantic links selected using one of the IR systems). Subjects' preferences were also measured.

Although I used three survey articles from published sources for my evaluation experiment there was no difference in reader preference or performance on the basis of article. Subjects ratings of the utility of the various links shows a significant preference for structural links over semantic links. Definition links were preferred to structural links, although the result was not significant. No difference between the links created using the two IR systems was detected.

However there were significant differences in the times that readers spent on documents created using the various treatments When they read in documents with only structural links readers were more likely to have read the whole article, and their satisfaction scores were inversely proportional to their comprehension score.

The method of evaluating hypertext versions of journal articles for use by researchers may be applied to other hypertext versions.

[R] {H*}Evaluating Automatically Generated Hypertext Versions of Scholarly Articles
James Blustein
Hyped-Media to Hyper-Media: Toward Theoretical Foundations of Design, Use and Evaluation
Workshop at CHI '98 conference
Organized by N. Hari Narayanan
19 – 20 April 1998
ACM SIGCHI
Los Angeles, California
Note: The talk was based on an early version of my PhD research. My PhD proposal in brief and completed PhD thesis are also available.
Availability: link to article
Abstract

In this paper I present an experimental approach to the evaluation of a type of hypermedia application. My overall objective is to develop and evaluate ways of automatically incorporating hypermedia links into pre-existing scholarly journal articles. The focus of this paper is the evaluation method. My method allows the results to be applied to other documents than just those tested.

To properly convert ordinary documents into useful hypermedia two constraints must be satisfied: the links must be useful to the readers and the risk of disorientation introduced by the new structure imposed by the links must be minimized. I describe a rule-based approach for making links. In my experiment I use two methods to detect when the rules should be applied. The effectiveness of the links is tested by people performing realistic tasks. Readers judge the quality of links (and thereby the quality of the rules used to forge them) and the overall effectiveness of the hypermedia.

[R] A Design for the Construction and Evaluation of an Automatic Hypertext Generator
James Blustein
Communication and Information In Context: Society, Technology, and the Professions
Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conf./Travaux du 25e congrès annuel
Canadian Association for Information Science (CAIS)/Association Canadienne des Sciences de L'information (ACSI)
Edited by Bernd Frohmann
8 – 10 June 1997
Learned Societies Congress/Congrès des sociétés savantes
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, Newfoundland
Note: The talk was based on my PhD proposal. The proposal in brief is also available.
Abstract

My overall objective is to develop and evaluate ways of automatically incorporating hypertext links into pre-existing scientific articles. Hypertext can support all of the ways we believe people use printed versions of articles and can add additional useful features. However many readers find hypertext confusing and not all texts are suitable for conversion to hypertext. Some readers like hypertext even when it is not as useful to them as the linear document from which it was generated. Hypertexts must therefore be evaluated for usefulness.

To properly convert ordinary documents into useful hypertext two constraints must be satisfied: the links must be useful to the readers and the risk of disorientation introduced by the new structure imposed by the links must be minimized. I describe rules for making links and two methods to detect when the rules should be applied.

I propose to provide links by applying rules based on the content of the articles using two methods: the Cornell's SMART system and Bellcore's Latent Semantic Indexing. I will evaluate the effectiveness of these links by testing with people. Readers will judge the quality of links (and thereby the quality of the rules used to forge them) and the overall effectiveness of the hypertext.

[R] Methods For Evaluating the Quality of Hypertext Links
James Blustein, Robert E. Webber, and Jean Tague-Sutcliffe
Information Processing & Management (March 1997, vol. 33, no. 2, pp.255 – 271)
Abstract

We present two methods for evaluating automatically generated hypertext links. The first method is based on correlations between shortest paths in the hypertext structure and a semantic similarity measure. Experimental results with the first method show the degree to which the hypertext conversion process approximates semantic similarity. The semantic measure is in turn only an approximation of a user's internal model of the corpus. Therefore we propose a second evaluation method based on measuring user's performance using hypertext. Finally, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of computer versus human evaluation, respectively.

Document record and abstract available
Implementing Bit Vectors in C
James Blustein
Dr. Dobb's Journal (August 1995, vol. 20, issue 8, #233)
Note: An updated version is available at <URL:http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~jamie/BitVectors/>. The code should be available online from the DDJ FTP site (see http://www.ddj.com).

Bit vectors provide an extremely space- and time-efficient means of implementing arrays of Boolean values.

IR-STAT-PAK
James Blustein, Jean Tague-Sutcliffe
Presented at SIGIR '95 Conf. (July 1995)
The C code is available from the Retrieval Group of NIST. A brief (4 page) overview is available as a PostScript file, a PDF file, in XHTML 1.0 format and even in HTML 4.0 format.

A program to compute descriptive and analytic statistics for the TREC IR trials.

A Statistical Analysis of the TREC-3 Data
Jean Tague-Sutcliffe, James Blustein
in Text Retrieval Conference
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A.
November 1994
Abstract

A statistical analysis of the TREC-3 data shows that performance differences across queries is greater than performance differences across participant runs. Generally, groups of runs which do not differ significantly at large, sometimes accounting for over half the runs. Correlation among the various performance measures is high.

Both an image-only scan of the hardcopy, and a scan which includes optical character recognition are available.  Both are in PDF.  The size of the file that encodes the image-only scan is about 4.8Mb, the version with OCR is about 6.5Mb in size.
[R] Using LSI to Evaluate the Quality of Hypertext Links
James Blustein and Robert E. Webber
in IR and Automatic Construction of Hypermedia: a research workshop
13 July 1995
Maristella Agosti and James Allan, eds.
ACM SIGIR
Available in two formats;
Abstract

Useful hypertext is constrained by the need for users to be able to find documents about similar topics without extensive navigation. We show how examining the properties of a graph built by a document's hypertext links can be used to evaluate the usefulness of the document. To formally measure the quality of hypertext linking in a corpus, we compare the semantic similarity of pairs of documents with the minimum number of links between their corresponding nodes in an analogous hypertext graph. We use the measure of document-to-document similarity computed using latent semantic indexing as our measure of semantic similarity. Our method has been applied to a corpus composed of Usenet messages.

An Evaluation of Tools for Converting Text to Hypertext
William James Blustein
Masters thesis
December 1993/January 1994
Department of Computer Science, University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
Abstract

Methods for automatically converting semi-structured text (Usenet messages) into hypertext form using information retrieval methods were investigated. The methods were evaluated using statistical means to determine which will produce hypertext best suited to browsing and searching. Methods were evaluated by comparing a measure of semantic similarity of all document pairs with the shortest path in a graph formed by hypertext links between those documents.

I have made some minor corrections since publication.

See also
significant electronic publications above

Address

J. Blustein
Faculty of Computer Science
Dalhousie University
6050 University Avenue
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 4R2
Canada

E-mail: <jamie@cs.dal.ca> or <jamie@acm.org>
Fax: (+1)(902)492-1517
http://www.cs.dal.ca/~jamie/pubs/index.html

This document is copyright by its author, J. Blustein.

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