The TPDL 2011 Doctoral Consortium, which I already blogged about in part 1, continued with 15 minutes of delay: Christopher Gibson also talked about eBooks – I wonder why his talk was not combined with Luca Colombo’s work in eBook reading experiences. Gibson’s specific topic is eBook lending services in UK public libraries. To quote the research questions from his paper:
Q1. How have public libraries addressed ebook service provision in the UK?
Q2. What challenges and opportunities exist in incorporating ebook lending into other reader services?
Q3. Is it feasible to lend ebook reading devices from public libraries?
Q4. How can the effectiveness of ebook lending services be measured?
Q5. How do library users view the provision of ebook lending services?
Q6. How can effective ebook lending services be developed?
To me an interesting aspect of his methodology was the use of targeted FOI (freedom of information) requests to gather data about eBook lending services. I cannot image this in this Germany where “Informationsfreiheit” is still in its infancy. One result from another survery done by Gibson: most eBooks are not included in library catalogs. I think this failure is found in German libraries too. In summary the PhD project looked very profound with some real practical values for libraries. On the other hand, the theoretical contribution, for instance the question what “lending” can mean in a digital library work, was only added in the discussion afterwards.
The next presenting PhD student was Adam Sofronjievic. I am sorry that I could not fully concentrate on his talk about a New Paradigm of Library Collaboration although it seemed very interesting. My talk is next
Today the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2011 started with tutorials and a Doctoral Consortium that I participate with a talk. The seven talks and discussions on ongoing PhD topics were rather diverse and interesting. I tried to briefly summarize at least some of them.
Luco Colombo started with his work on developing and evaluating eBook reading experience for children. Reading “traditional” books has been extensively investigated – this is not true for eBooks. Especially children are little involved in eBook studies. Colombo explained how the eBook reading experience is different because it directly involves searching, browsing, sharing, and recommending, among other arguments. A good reading experience results in a “flow state” where the reading gets positively lost in a book. Colombo’s method is a cooperative inquiry. It is not clear whether and by what eBooks are more engaging to children (age 9-11 in this study) than traditional books – maybe this PhD will show. The following discussion was dominated by the participating mentors Jose Borbinha, Milena Dobreva, Stefan Gradmann and Giuseppina Vullo.
In the second talk Krassimira Ivanova presented her dissertation on (content-based) image retrieval utilizing color models. Image retrieval on art images is difficult because it includes very different aspects (artistic styles, depicted objects etc.). Even aspects of color (contrasts, intensity, diversity, harmony etc.) are manifold – maybe this is why philosophy of color has a long history. Nevertheless Ivanova developed several machine learning methods for this color aspects that can be used for image retrieval. I am not sure whether the resulting APICAS system (“Art Painting Image Colour Aesthetics and Semantics”) has been evaluated with a user study. Similar to the first talk, the focus could be improved by more narrowing down and making clear the specific contribution. Finally we had some real discussion, but little time.