Category Archives: Professors

New faculty — Dr Natalie Pang & Dr Joanna Sin

We welcome 2 new talented faculty members to the Division — Dr Natalie Pang and Dr Joanna Sin.

Dr Natalie Pang

Dr. Natalie Pang

obtained her Ph.D. in Information Management from Monash University in 2009, where her research was also awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Doctoral thesis excellence and the Faculty of IT doctoral medal. Her research interests are mainly in information commons/common pool resources, digital heritage, records management, structuration theory and the philosophy of information. A graduate of Melbourne University and Nanyang Technological University, Natalie has served as a Research Associate of Museum Victoria (History and Technology), the Victorian Association of Tertiary Libraries, and Research Fellow of the Centre for Community Networking and Research (CCNR), Monash University. She will be teaching a new course on Storytelling in Organisations in Semester 2.

Dr Joanna Sin

Dr Joanna Sin

 holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). Previously, she received her B. of Social Science degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, majoring in Geography and minoring in Anthropology. Her research interests include library services and uses, information behaviours, information organisation and retrieval, and information equity. She teaches in the information organisation area. Before joining NTU, Joanna was a visiting assistant professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison. She also has experience working in technical and reference services in academic libraries. She will be teaching Information Organisation in Semester 1 and Cataloguing & Classification in Semester 2.

Dr Chris Khoo at IFLA Annual Conference

Dr Chris Khoo attended the World Library and Information Congress: 76th IFLA General Conference and Assembly  from 13-15 Aug 2010, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I met many old friends from around the world, including several librarians from NTU and the National Library Board! I had a reunion with Dr Abdus Sattar Chaudhry, who is doing very well at the U. of Kuwait, and Dr Cheryl Cordeiro (a.k.a. Miss Singapore), a graduate of our MSc Information Studies program who has now settled in Sweden. (See picture below)

I presented a paper on a collaborative project with three other information schools in Asia (abstract below). Nurhazman Abdul Aziz, a recent Information Studies graduate and a librarian at NTU, presented a paper on social web applications, co-authored with NTU librarians Mr Chia Yew Boon and Mrs Hazel Loh. Well-done, Hazman!

Paper abstract and pictures below.

Factors Affecting Re-Usability of Learning Objects Across National Boundaries: An Exploratory Study of Information Organization and Knowledge Management 
     By Christopher Khoo (NTU, Singapore), Abdus Sattar Chaudhry (U. of Kuwait), Sujin Butdisuwan (Mahasarakham U., Thailand), Joyce Chen (National Taiwan Normal U.)

Abstract. This paper reports an exploratory study of the factors likely to affect the re-usability of lecture slides across different LIS schools. The study was carried out in the context of a collaborative project to develop a regional repository of learning objects in LIS. Existing lecture slides on topics in Information Organization and Knowledge Management from four schools were compared to identify common content that suggest reusability of the content, as well as unusual, innovative or well-developed content that can be reused to enhance another instructor’s lecture presentation.

Lecture content on practical topics or that cover international standards and specifications tend to be similar across LIS schools and are likely to reusable with little modification, except for language translation. Lectures that provide a general introduction to a topic or address an abstract topic tend to be quite different because the instructor can address the topic from different perspectives and select different types of information. Introductory/superficial treatments of a topic are more likely to reused across different courses. The type of information on a lecture slide may affect its reusability. Core concepts and frameworks, and quotes from experts tend to recur across the schools. Well-developed examples, illustrations, diagrams and images can be reused by other instructors to enhance their lectures. Different countries have different strengths, and lecture material from a particular country may have more in-depth treatment of particular topics. A repository of lecture slides from different countries will be enormously useful both for instructors teaching a course for the first time, as well as instructors seeking to improve a lecture presentation.

Chris, Cheryl & Abdus at Gothenburg, Sweden

Hazman presenting at IFLA Annual General Meeting 2010

Dr Theng at IADIS Multi Conference

Dr Theng Yin Leng attended the IADIS Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (MCCSIS 2010) in Germany, 26-31 July. She presented papers at 3 mini-conferences.

1. Investigating the Influence of Reading Habits and Design Features on Perceived Acceptance of E-Book Systems – A Case study on FlipViewer Xpress
By Yin-Leng Theng, Anu Prasad Ramany, Chua Jit Chee, Tan Kee Siong and Ho Seng Beng
Presented in the Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction 2010 mini-conference.

Abstract. Due to the variety of tools and devices available for reading e-books, readers are faced with a sense of ambiguity over what would best serve their interests. This calls for more studies on users to be placed at the forefront of designing e-books. Using FlipViewer Xpress as an exemplary e-book system, this study developed a theoretical model to investigate the determinants and effects of reading habits and design features on users’ acceptance of e-book systems. Findings show FlipViewer Xpress was useful for browsing and scanning as well as selective and linear reading, but in contrast to earlier studies on e-book systems, FlipViewer Xpress was also suitable for in-depth and concentrated reading as well as repeated reading. The paper concludes with a discussion on the factors that affect users’ perceptions of acceptance of Flipviewer, in particular, and e-book systems in general.

2. Usage of E-Health Services: Examining the Age Differences in Individual Decisions
By Pallavi Rao, Shalini Chandra and Yin-Leng Theng
Presented in the e-health 2010 mini-conference

Abstract. This study investigated the factors influencing consumers’ intention to continue using healthcare portals and the impact of age on it. Findings from prior information systems research were used to theorize a research model which considers satisfaction and trust as the key constructs and subjective-norms, preference (for human contact) and self-efficacy as their antecedents. Research hypotheses derived from this model were empirically validated using a field survey. Data collected (N=88) was first analyzed to see the significance of hypothesized paths. Further, this data was grouped on age and analyzed to see the effect of age on consumers’ continuance intentions. Results showed that generally satisfaction was the main factor determining continuance. But, compared to perceptions of the middle-aged users, young adults’ perception of trust in healthcare portals was influenced by their self-efficacy. In contrast, middle-aged users’ perception of trust in healthcare portals was influenced by subjective-norms and their preference. Theoretical and practical implications for understanding the effects of age differences in consumers’ continued use of healthcare portals are discussed.

3. E-Learning in Second Life: Opportunistic Virtual Spaces for Social-Collaborative or Deep-Reflective Learning?
Yin-Leng Theng
Presented in the E-Learning miniconference

Abstract. This paper describes an exploratory study to investigate whether Second Life is a viable social space for e-learning. A total of 361 Second Life users took part in the online survey. We first developed a theoretical model based on Technology Acceptance Model linking the antecedents into the key factors using information acquired from an extended literature review. We then undertook a survey of Second Life users. Data collection was carried out via a self-reported questionnaire. Through the use of statistical tests, our findings showed that system-input efficacy and system-output efficacy were determinants of social-collaborative learning and deep-reflective learning, leading to perceived satisfaction of Second Life as a virtual space for e-learning.

DIS at ICADL conference at Gold Coast, Australia

Drs Dion Goh, Lee Chei Sian, Schubert Foo, Chris Khoo and PhD student Kokil Jaidka attended the International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL) held at Gold Coast, Australia, from June 21-25.

In addition to presenting a paper at the conference, Kokil presented at the Doctorial Consortium, chaired by Drs Edie Rasmussen and Schubert Foo.

Pictures below. Abstracts of papers that DIS folks presented:

Do Games Motivate Mobile Content Sharing?
     By Dion Goh, Chei Sian Lee, Alton Chua
Abstract. Indagator (Latin for explorer) is a game which incorporates multiplayer, pervasive gaming elements into mobile content sharing. Indagator allows users to annotate real world locations with multimedia content, and concurrently, provide opportunities for play through creating and engaging interactive game elements, earning currency, and socializing. A user study of Indagator was conducted to examine the impact of the usability of Indagator’s content sharing and gaming features, as well as demographic profiles on participants’ motivation to use the application. Participants felt that the features in Indagator were able to support the objectives of content sharing and gaming, and that the idea of gaming could be a motivator for content sharing. In terms of motivation to use, usability of Indagator’s gaming features, gender and participants. familiarity with mobile gaming emerged as significant predictors. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

A Multifaceted Approach to Exploring Mobile Annotations
     By Guanghao Low, Dion Goh, Chei Sian Lee
Abstract. Mobile phones with capabilities such as media capture and location detection have become popular among consumers, and this has made possible the development of location-based mobile annotation sharing applications. The present research investigates the creation of mobile annotations from three perspectives: the recipients of the annotations, the type of content created, and the goals behind creating these annotations. Participants maintained a two week-long diary, documenting their annotation activities. Results suggest that range of motivational factors, including those for relationship maintenance and entertainment. Participants were also more inclined to create leisure-related annotations, while the types of recipients were varied. Implications of our work are also discussed.

Imitating Human Literature Review Writing: An Approach to Multi-Document Summarization
     By Kokil Jaidka, Chris Khoo, Jin-Cheon Na
Abstract. This paper gives an overview of a project to generate literature reviews from a set of research papers, based on techniques drawn from human summarization behavior. For this study, we identify the key features of natural literature reviews through a macro-level and clause-level discourse analysis; we also identify human information selection strategies by mapping referenced information to source documents. Our preliminary results of discourse analysis have helped us characterize literature review writing styles based on their document structure and rhetorical structure. These findings will be exploited to design templates for automatic content generation.

Preservation of Cultural Heritage: From Print Book to Digital Library – A Greenstone Experience
     By Henny M. Sutedjo, Gladys Sau-Mei Theng, Yin-Leng Theng
Abstract. We argue that current development in digital libraries presents an opportunity to explore the use of DL as a tool for building and facilitating access to digital cultural resources. Using Greenstone, an open source DL, we describe a 10-step approach in converting an out-of-print book, ‘Costumes through Times’, and constructing a DL creation of costumes.

From left: Vilas Wuwongse (AIT, Thailand), Kokil Jaidka (NTU), Nisachol Chamnongsri (Suranaree U. of Technology, Thailand), Shigeo Sugimoto (U. of Tsukuba, Japan), Gobinda Chowdhury (U. Technology Sydney), Chris Khoo (behind the camera!)

Gold Coast skyline from Hilton Surfer's Paradise hotel

Gold Coast skyline from Hilton Surfer's Paradise hotel

Dr Brendan Luyt at COLIS 2010 conference

Dr Brendan Luyt presented a paper at the COLIS 2010 conference in London, 21-24 June. The paper was co-authored with Dr Intan Azura, who is teaching in the Policy and Leadership Studies Group, National Institute of Education, Singapore.

The sigh of the information literate: an examination of the potential for oppression in information literacy
     By Brendan Luyt & Intan Azura
This paper uses Eugene Matusov and John St. Julien’s work  on print literacy as a base for exploring how information literacy could be seen as an instrument of bureaucratic and colonial oppression. Three examples are given. The first involves the use of information literacy to push the norms of intellectual property protection, regardless of a wider technological and social context that suggest an ongoing and dramatic transfer of rights from the public to content producers.  The second concerns the effects produced by a lack of attention to media monopolization in information literacy initiatives. The concentration of what is essentially a capitalist industry helps narrow the range of ideas and perspectives considered mainstream in society, adding to a new form of mental colonialization that information literacy embraces through its lack of critical attention. Finally, by not challenging the positivist conception of knowledge that animates much of the LIS field, oppression is further enabled as it continues a tradition in educational institutions of ignoring the conditions of textual production, which allows the work of bureaucratic inscription to continue unimpeded. But if it is the case that information literacy can contribute to oppress rather than liberate, it is certainly also the case that it does not have to do so. The nature of information literacy as an oppressive or liberating tool depends on how it is constituted by the wider LIS community. The hope of this paper is that by raising the possibility of information literacy oppression, the field as a whole can safeguard against it.

Dr Shaheen conducted a training course in Lahore, Pakistan

In December 2009, I spent two weeks in my hometown (Lahore, Pakistan) to visit my parents and other family members. On the invitation of Pakistan Library Association (PLA), I conducted a one-day training course on “Information Management in Learning Organizations’ on 23 December 2009 for local information professionals.

This course was jointly organized by PLA (Punjab), Knowledge and Information Management Academy (KIMA), and the Punjab University Library. The course was inaugurated by Prof. Mujahid Kamran, Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, who emphasized that library and information professionals need to develop new competencies and get ready to play an important role in the fast emerging knowledge society.

Some 50 LIS professionals participated in this course and I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and the level of interaction.  I covered topics such as role of information management (IM) in learning organizations, information management cycle, IM and strategic planning, and information and knowledge audit. This event was repeatedly covered by one local TV channel in its evening news bulletins. My nieces and nephews were very excited to see it on TV.  

Let me also tell you a little about my hometown. Lahore is a historical city and capital of Punjab province. It is the second largest city of Pakistan after Karachi and its population is estimated around 7.5 million. One common thing among people in Lahore and Singapore is their love for food. You can have plenty of choices as almost all types of cuisines are easily available in Lahore. However, Chinese restaurants are more popular, although food served by them is quite different from Chinese restaurants in Singapore.  You can get more information about Lahore from

Dr Shaheen conducting a workshop in Lahore

Dr Shaheen conducting a workshop on "Information Management in Learning Organizations" in Lahore

— Shaheen Majid

Congratulations to Dr Lee Chei Sian & Dr Alton Chua on winning AcRF research grants!

Congratulations to Dr Lee Chei Sian and Dr Alton Chua on their sucessful AcRF research grant applications!

  • Investigating the Effective Use of Social Computing Applications: The Role of Individual Differences (PI: Lee Chei Sian) (see abstract below)
  • Automated User-Based Question-Answering System (PI: Alton Chua) (see abstract below)

Investigating the Effective Use of Social Computing Applications: The Role of Individual Differences (AcRF research grant, Principle Investigator: Dr Lee Chei Sian)

Social computing has transformed the way people communicate, share and collaborate online. Undoubtedly, the accessibility and shared computing resources brought about by social computing applications are having a profound impact on individuals and organizations. Here, a fundamental issue is the relationship between the type of applications available and the individuals that employ them. While work in this area is nascent, early research has indicated that individual differences appear to play an important role in how and what social computing applications (e.g. blogs, wikis, social network services) are used to explore opportunities, or to manage problems or issues. The objective of the project is to expand our knowledge on the use of a variety of social computing applications and how these applications can be integrated to afford individuals the resources they need to support social interactions at work or at play. 

Automated User-Based Question-Answering System (AcRF research grant, Principle Investigator: Dr Alton Chua)

Unlike search engines, Question Answering (QA) systems provide concise answers to questions formulated in natural language. Automated QA systems accept users’ question and return sentences from Web pages deemed to contain relevant answers. On the other hand, user-based QA systems allow users to post questions and receive answers offered voluntarily by others.  In Automated QA systems, research gaps exist in the area of question-clustering and answer-selection. In user-based QA systems, current research efforts fail to address how the heavy dependence on other users’ participation can be alleviated. Moreover, scholarly inquiries into these two systems have yet to dovetail into a composite research stream where techniques gleaned from automated QA systems could be exploited for user-based QA systems.  For these reasons, this proposal seeks to develop a coalesced research perspective on QA systems.  Specifically, its aims are to:  (1) develop an efficacious question-clustering technique intended for managing user-generated content; (2) develop a theoretical model that selects and ranks answers; (3) design and develop a content-extraction system that harness content from Web 2.0 platforms;  and (4) implement and evaluate an automated user-based QA system which does not rely on the goodwill of users’ participation.

Major research grants won by DIS faculty in 2008 & 2009

DIS has been very successful in winning major research grants in the past 2 years. Major research grants won include:

  • Business models for Interactive Digital Media (IDM) services and policy implications for regulators (Principal investigator: Dr Ravi Sharma,  Funding: NRF-IDM)
  • MobiTOP: A system for the mobile tagging of objects and people (PI: Dr Dion Goh, Funding: A*Star)
  • MARGE (Mobile Alternate Reality Gaming Engine) : Layering Gaming  Interactions in Mobile Content Sharing Environments (PI: Dr Dion Goh, Funding: NRF-MDA)
  • Empirical Usability Studies with E-Learning Systems: Towards Executable Cognitive User Models as Design and Usability Evaluation Aids (PI: Dr Theng Yin Leng, Funding: A*STAR)
  • Promoting Exercise and Healthy Food Consumption: A Study on Senior Citizen’s Acceptance and Adoption of Digitally Mediated Fitness Games (PI: Dr Theng Yin Leng, Funding: Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation)
  • Sentiment Summarization of Multiple Genre Review Documents (PI: Dr Na Jin Cheon, Funding: AcRF)

Faculty@Conference – The Second Knowledge Cities Summit (5 & 6 November 2009)

Dr Ravi Sharma was in Shenzhen, China, recently for The Second Knowledge Cities Summit.  He presented his paper on “Learning Communities in a Flat World: An analysis of the People’s Republic of China“, co-written with Wang Sheng-Chieh, Chen Yufang and Sammie Chen Qing from the MSc Information Studies programme.

Conference Backdrop

At the Conference

In this paper, they presented a framework for developing a learning and benchmarking modality of analysis.  The 4-pillar framework (Sharma et al 2008) they used suggests that infrastructure, governance, culture and talent operationalise a learning community with some 10 key dimensions which help discern success or failure.  Using public and external sources of validated data to obtain proxy indicators for the 10 dimensions, they studied the development of 7 communities across China which span the development spectrum.  The possible emergence of China as an advanced knowledge economy poses some very interesting development opportunities for other nations.  The paper examined the central research question of whether (and how) it is possible to “flatten” the divides between advanced and less developed regions of a vast and populous country using knowledge policy as a tool.

In particular, they considered whether developing learning communities is an effective means of bridging knowledge gaps and the differences in growth and development.  This is founded on the notion of a flat world – one which can be transformed into a level playing field.

Shenzhen Skyline

Shenzhen Skyline

With Karl Wiig at the banquet

With Karl Wiig at the banquet

iP 143

Co-authors. From left: Chen Yufang, Wang Sheng-Chieh, Sammie Chen Qing

Faculty@Conference: University of Hawaii at Manoa (October 2009)

Dr Brendan Luyt was at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in October 2009 and gave a talk on “Developing a Public Library System for Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s“.  Here is a short abstract of his paper.


Developing a Public Library System for Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s

The 1950s and 1960s were turbulent years for much of Africa and Asia as nationalist calls for freedom succeeded in dismantling the old colonial empires of Britain and France. That the “wind of change,” as former United Kingdom PM Harold Macmillan characterized these calls in 1960, also affected the world of libraries should not be surprising. My aim is to look at three social, political and economic factors operating at the time and the effects they had on Singapore’s public library system: the colonial inheritance, ethnic issues, and the geopolitical situation. Together, these three factors proved instrumental in shaping many of the key policies of the emerging public library system in independent Singapore. Their story is important, not only to correct an overly Western centric focus in the field, but also as a reminder of the role social and political context plays in the creation and development of any library system.