An IST Independent Study is an excellent way to take an academic theory
that you are interested in and apply that theory in a novel way to solve real
world issues. Potential research topics areas are:
- Real Life, Real Users, and Real Information Needs: This is an opportunity
to analyze large sets of queries submitted to Web search engines by users
in the real world. The Web holds the possibility of addressing a wide range
of issues, from technological, social, cultural, and political, among others.
As an information medium, how is the Web currently being utilized? What can
we hypothesis about its use in the future? What will be the impact? Major
Web search engines (currently Excite, AlltheWeb, and AltaVista) have provided
millions of queries from hundreds of thousands of users worldwide for analysis.
Possible specific topic areas include medical, education, gender, sexual issues,
language, and e*commence.
- Helpful Information Technology for Normal People: If your interest
is system design, this is an exciting research project -- designing and developing
information systems that personalize themselves to individual users. We are
developing a Web information system that adapts itself based on the specific
interactions of an individual, with the aim of improving the effectiveness
of the user's search. We are currently in Release 2 of the system, so we are
now at the really cutting edge of personalization research. A great time to
get involved with the project. Requires some programming, so a working to
other research directions for this project are available that do not require
- Providing Information of Value: For the first time, the majority
of people in the US are utilizing the Web as their primary information source,
replacing not only newspapers but also radio and television. How reliable
is the Web as an information source? How can this content be evaluated when
the threshold for publication is minimal? What technologies can we employ
to assist people in locating information of value? How can we evaluate these
technologies? This is a great research area for those students interested
in the information content and publishing aspect of the Web. Specific research
is on-gong in several areas, including nutrition and education.
If interested in pursuing an independent study, contact Dr.
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