2024-04-15: Review of WS-DL's 2023


Most of the Web Science & Digital Libraries Research Group, 2023-04-13

Although Covid continued in 2023, things at ODU and the Web Science and Digital Libraries (WS-DL) Research Group were mostly normal, or at least the new normal.  Most classes, meetings, some conferences, and even defenses are now a hybrid of f2f and online.  This year, we transitioned one faculty member, graduated two MS students and one BS student, advanced the status of six PhD students, and added five new PhD students.  

Students and Faculty

We did not graduate any PhD students this year, but we did have two students defend their MS theses, and one student finish his BS and enter the MS program:  

We did not add any faculty, but Dr. Faryaneh Poursardar transitioned from being a lecturer in the CS department to a research assistant professor at VMASC during the summer of 2023.  Although as a research professor she is no longer teaching, WS-DL has many collaborative projects with VMASC and we will continue to work with her there.  We continued to expand our course portfolio, with eight classes offered in S23 and six in F23, including new classes in deep learning (Dr. Wu), computer vision (Dr. Ashok), and scientific writing (Dr. Jayarathna).

We added 5 new PhD students:

We also had six students advance in their status:

  • Yasith Jayawardana's dissertation proposal "StreamingHub: A Framework to Build Real-Time Analytics Workflows for Scientific Research" was accepted on 2023-04-26.
  • Mohan Krishna presented his candidacy proposal "Enabling Customization of Discussion Forums for Blind Users" on 2023-07-18.
  • Javedul Ferdous presented his candidacy proposal "InSupport: Proxy Interface for Enabling Efficient Non-Visual Interaction with Web Data Records" on 2023-07-20.
  • Kehinde (Kenny) Ajayi presented his candidacy proposal "A Study on Reproducibility and Replicability of Table Structure Recognition Methods" on 2023-09-25.
  • Kritika Garg presented her candidacy proposal "Replaying Archived Twitter: When your bird is broken, will it bring you down?" on 2023-04-17
  • Himarsha, as a result of defending her MS thesis, advanced her status to PhD candidate

Publications and Presentations

We've given up trying to manually compile a list of publications from our group, but our best estimate for 2023 is a total of 58 publications, including: 9 journal articles, 33 conference/workshop publications, and 16 technical reports or other contributions.  I've included an expandable/collapsable gist below that is our merged 2023 publications list according to Scholar Groups.

In 2023, conferences were still a mix of f2f and virtual, with the former slowly returning to the norm.  Below is a partial list of trip reports for the events where we presented our work:

WS-DL students, alumni, and faculty at JCDL 2023 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Research Presentations and Outreach

In addition to the conferences and workshops listed above where we presented papers, we also had an array of presentations and outreach.  

This year, our main summer event was hosting eight students for the second year of our NSF Disinformation Detection and Analytics Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program.  The final presentations highlight the exciting progress we made last year and we look forward to third cohort this summer.

Dr. Jayarathna organized our fourth annual "Trick or Research" event, which was both f2f and virtual.  Some of our other outreach events include:

Software, Data Sets, Services

Our scholarly contributions are not limited to conventional publications or presentations: we also advance the state of the art through releasing software, data sets, and proof-of-concept services & demos.  Some of the software, data sets, and services that we either initially released or made significant updates to in 2023 include: 

Awards and Recognition

Many members of our group received awards and other forms of recognition: 


After receiving about $6M in total funding over the last three years, this year was mostly quiet with respect to external funding.  We did receive $27k from three external awards and one internal award.  
  • Drs. Wu and Jayarathna, received $15k for supporting student travel to the 2023 JCDL Doctoral Consortium.  
  • Drs. Poursardar and Weigle received $3000 from the ODU College of Sciences for “Incorporating AI Technologies into Data Science Courses in the Department of Computer Science”.
  • Dr. Jayarathna  was the PI, with Co-PIs Dr. Yusuf (Public Service), Dr. Allen (Geography), and Dr. Karunarathna (Academic Advising) for $7825 from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), Innovative Projects Grant for “CARE: Coastal Adaptation and Resilience Education”.
  • Dr. Karunarathna (PI) and Dr. Jayarathna (Co-PI) received $1000 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for “2023 Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program”.

Looking Ahead to 2024

Things mostly returned to normal in 2023, but periodic rescheduling of meetings and other events due to Covid is perhaps our new normal.  Regardless, 2023 was a strong year for us: we graduated one BS and two MS students and added five PhD students.  One of our faculty members, Dr. Faryaneh Poursardar, transitioned from lecturer to research assistant professor at VMASC.  We continued to publish in prestigious venues, even if our funding rate cooled down after a red hot 2022 ($4M). WS-DL continues to grow and thrive, and I am proud of all the members and alumni and their progress in 2023. 

If you would like to join WS-DL, please get in touch.  To get a feel for our recent activities, please review our previous WS-DL annual summaries (2022, 20212020201920182017201620152014, and 2013) and be sure to follow us at @WebSciDL to keep up to date with publications, software releases, trip reports and other activities.  We especially would like to thank all those who have publicly complimented some aspect of the Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group: our code, services, papers, or students and faculty.  We really appreciate the feedback, some of which we include below.


-- Michael