Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012-11-06: TPDL 2012 Conference

It all started last April, particularly on the 9th, when I received an email from the Dr. George Buchanan delivering the good news, my paper have been accepted at the annual international conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries TPDL 2012. Being the Program Chair, Dr. Buchanan sent me the reviews and feedback associated with my paper which was entitled “Losing My Revolution: How Many Resources Shared on Social Media Have Been Lost?” which paved the way in the following months for the preparation process to present this paper.

 Along with submitting the paper, Dr. Nelson gave me the permission to submit my PhD proposal to be considered for the Doctoral Consortium at the conference. Scoring my second goal, Dr. Birger Larsen and Dr. Stefan Gradmann sent me a delightful email announcing the committee's acceptance to my proposal and I was invited a day before the conference to present my work at the consortium.

The Hat-trick came a few weeks before the conference in the form of an email from Dr. Birger proposing that I present my work, from the doctoral consortium, at the poster session on the first day of the conference. Overwhelmed with joy, I gladly accepted this gracious invitation and started working on the poster.

After an 8 hour drive to New York and a couple of flights, I arrived to Larnaca airport in Cyprus. I can't complain because two of the most closest activities to my heart are driving and travelling. Anyway, I took the bus to Limassol from the airport and was supposed to take another bus to Paphos, where the conference is held, but unfortunately it didn't come. After a quick chat with two French ladies who happened to be heading to Paphos too, we shared a taxi there and I finally arrived to the hotel which I will be spending the following nights, Cynthiana beach hotel. With a captivating view and spacious suites, Cynthiana hotel was located 10 minutes by bus from the venue of the conference and half way to the center of the city.

After being confused with the British system in driving on the opposite side of the road and being directed by the kind locals to where the station was located, I took the bus on the following morning to the conference venue at Coral Bay Hotel. Dr. Larsen and Dr. Gradmann were waiting for me and the other to guide us to the presentation room. I was assigned Ms. Justyna Walkowska as my mentor to guide the discussion and give me constructive criticism. I personally loved this model of consortia as it gave the opportunity to the mentors to read the proposals in detail prior to the presentations giving them in-depth views of the work, rendering the feedback more constructive and beneficial.

After giving the presentation and receiving the questions and feedback, I sat down and listened to the work of fellow PhD students: Tuan VuTran, Armand Brahaj, and Nut Limsopatham. Shortly after wrapping up the consortium, Dr. Larsen and Dr. Gradmann took us to the city pier to have an authentic Cypriot dinner. The food, the atmosphere, and the company were marvelous. Later that night I arrived back to the hotel exhausted.

The next morning the conference commenced. Following the welcome notes by Dr. Buchannan Dr. Mounia Lalmas gave a marvelous keynote speech entitled “User Engagement in the Digital World”. Dr. Lalmas is a visiting principal scientist at Yahoo! Labs Barcelona. She talked about user engagement and the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral connection between the user and the technological resource. She discussed ways to measure this engagement and to model it, along with some select experiments discussing those several aspects.

After the keynote speech we had a short coffee break where I met some people I haven't seen since JCDL earlier in June. Then I headed to the 2nd track sessions entitled “Analyzing and Enriching Documents “ which included several interesting papers by Róisín Rowley-Brooke, my friend Luis Meneses, Daan Odijk, and Annika Hinze who had 4 papers published in this conference, which I found fascinating. The lunch break followed and I had to do a phone interview with Ms. Lesley Taylor from the Toronto Star who wrote an article about the paper I am presenting at the conference.

Following the lunch I attended the session entitled “Extracting and Indexing” where Guido Sautter, Benjamin Köhncke, and Georgina Tryfou presented their work. The minute madness started shortly after and followed by the poster session.

Standing by my poster in the middle of the room I started explaining my work to interested researchers in the field. After a while I started checking out other neighboring posters and I bet my friend Clare Llewellyn for drinks if she won the best poster award (spoiler alert, she owes me drinks now!) with her brilliant linen cloth poster. Later that evening and after the welcome reception we went out for dinner and drinks in another authentic Cypriot restaurant and had a lovely time.

The following day started with the second keynote speech by Dr. Andreas Lanitis from the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts, Cyprus University of Technology entitled: “On the Preservation of Cultural Heritage Through Digitization, Restoration, Reproduction and Usage”. In this captivating talk, Dr. Lanitis discussed the digital preservation of Cypriot Cultural Heritage artifacts, the restoration and reproduction.

After the coffee break I also attended the second track entitled: “Content and Metadata Quality” where two fascinating papers have been presented, one regarding the SKOS vocabularies and the other about meta learning from wiki articles. I was fairly nervous because the following session and just after lunch I was supposed to present my long paper too.

During lunch I had my second phone interview with Ms. Claire Connelly a journalist from News Ltd in Australia also writing an article about our work. Following lunch, this time I joined the 1st track sessions among which I will present my work. It started with Anqi Cui presenting his interesting work with PrEV (Preserving and Providing Web Pages and User-generated Contents). To my surprise he cited my work within his presentation and a sense of accomplishment flooded me. Scientific processes have been analyzed next in the following paper entitled: “Preserving Scientific Processes from Design to Publications”. After that I took the stage and I was surprised by the large number of attendees. The questions were marvelous and Cathy Marshall, among others, gave me very precious feedback. Following my presentation, Ray Larson and Maria Sumbana presented the following two papers.

After the coffee break we returned back to have the last round of sessions in which I chose again track 2 “Information Retrieval” presenting four more papers. At 7 o'clock we gathered by the lobby to board the buses taking us to the outskirts of the town to an authentic Cypriot restaurant. This one was different as it had a band and a folk dancing group who taught us how to do the Cypriot round and line group dancing.

The following morning I packed my bags and checked out before attending the last day of the conference which started with an enticing and captivating talk as usual by Cathy Marshall from Microsoft Research San Francisco. The talk was entitled “Whose content is it anyway? Social media, personal data, and the fate of our digital legacy”, similar to the equally wonderful speech she gave at JCDL. Finally I attended the set of sessions that I have been looking forward to the most, “track 2 User Behavior” presented by Michael Khoo and Catherine Hall, Sally Jo Cunningham, Fernanto Loizides, and my friend Gerhard Gossen.

The closing session followed up next concluding the conference where the best paper/demo/poster awards were handed to the authors among which our friend Clare Llewellyn.
In conclusion it was a really organized and successful conference, our presence was evident three times and I attended several interesting sessions, met old colleagues, made a lot of new contacts, and got really great feedback.

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-- Hany SalahEldeen

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