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SIMS Research Projects - Descriptions                Summary List of projects


Current ARC-Supported Research

Smart Information Portals: Meeting knowledge and decision support needs of health care consumers for quality online information
Discovery Project 2006-2008 $186,000
A/Prof F. Burstein, A/Prof J. Warren, Prof. S. McKemmish and A/Prof J. Fisher

Smart information portals, tailored to the communities needs, will contribute to emerging national information infrastructure for consumer focused information provision. They will support government initiatives promoting the role of online access to reliable, quality information in achieving good health, patient empowerment, participation in informed decision making, self management, and greater treatment compliance. Through the National Research Priority 3 goal of smart information use, the project addresses Priority 2 goals relating to ageing well; ageing productively; preventive health care; and strengthening the social and economic fabric to enable Australians to make choices that lead to healthy, productive and fulfilling lives.

Overcoming barriers to effective Internet use by community sector organisations
Linkage Project 2005-2007 $72,444
Prof. D. Schauder and Dr K. Williamson, with VICNET

Providing adequate Internet access for rural and regional Australia is an important priority for governments at all levels. For communities in these areas to benefit from the information economy and realise a continuing improvement in their social, economic and environmental wellbeing, such access must be both affordable and sustainable. Community organisations make an important contribution in these areas and this research will examine the questions about how they adopt such innovations, and how they make use of the Internet to further interaction with their community. It will identify and examine barriers to such use, relating the barriers to both their root causes and the benefits / behaviour on which they impact.

Socio-technical determinants of agile, network-centre organisations
Discovery Project 2005-2007 $157,000
A/Prof H. Hasan (University of Wollongong), Dr K. Crawford (Novae Research), Dr D. Hart (ANU), Dr H. Linger, Dr L. Warne (Department of Defence) and Ms I. Ali (Department of Defence)

Many companies provide value for customers by exploiting information and communication technology in support of networks of self-organising employee teams. Such network-centric approaches to organisational structure and function are becoming desired in diverse government organisations and societal settings. On one hand, the civil society is increasing reliant on virtual networks and online communities. On the other, the military's imperative to learn how to fight smarter in the information age heralds a fundamental shift from platform-centred warfare to a mode with diffuseness of command and control. The findings of this research will enable the potential benefits of network- centrism to be realised in these nationally critical areas.

One Day, We'll All Invest This Way! Regulating Online Investment
Discovery Project 2005-2007 $285,000
Prof. D. Kingsford Smith (Faculty of Law), Dr K. Williamson and Prof. S. Bottomley (ANU)

This project will provide policy recommendations to promote national research priority 3: particularly goals 4 & 5. It will do this by using good regulation to increase the safety of online investing services. It will bring to Australia international expertise not available here, crucial to good regulation of online investing. If investors trust this mostly beneficial technology it will further Australians' prosperity through investment e.g. for retirement. Competitive advantage through good regulation will bring overseas investors to Australia through the Internet. It will consolidate its role as a financial centre.

With 51% of adults owning shares, this research could save Australians more than $1.6 billion per annum!

Enhancing patient management and clinical systems in hospital ward settings using mobile, wireless technologies
Linkage Project 2004-2006 $75,000
Dr L. Heslop (Monash University School of Nursing), Dr L. Dawson, A/ Prof. J. Fisher, Dr A. Howard (NEC) and Dr A. Rothfield (Southern Health)

Wireless networks, hand held devices and associated applications are key emerging technologies. This project will investigate the implementation of wireless devices and applications for patient administration at Southern Health in two ward settings (neurology and neurosurgery) at Monash Medical Centre. A wireless infrastructure is being installed and clinical staff will be able to conduct their rounds with notebook computers or PDAs at the patients' bedside. The research team will assess the acceptance of the new devices and applications by nursing and medical staff. Outcomes from the project will include a set of guidelines and techniques for introducing and managing technology-enhanced patient administration and clinical systems.

Create Once, Use Many Times: The Clever Use of Metadata in eGovernment and eBusiness Recordkeeping Processes in Networked Environments
Linkage Project 2003-2005 $192,000
Prof. S. McKemmish, Mr A. Cunningham (National Archives of Australia) and A/Prof A. Gilliland-Swetland (UCLA), with State Records Authority of New South Wales, the Australian Society of Archivists and National Archives of Australia

Descriptive metadata, ie. structured context-rich information about business processes, agents and information resources, is a vital tool in managing business transactions and related information objects in complex intranet/internet environments to support eBusiness and eGovernment. However the implementation of recordkeeping metadata standards is proving to be problematic: tools for automatic metadata creation are inadequate, and current systems environments generally do not support the sharing of metadata between business systems for multiple purposes. This research project will develop a proof of concept prototype to demonstrate how standards-compliant metadata can be created once in particular application environments, then used many times to meet a range of business purposes. The prototype will be implemented in a test-bed site to provide a model for best practice.

Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project Website

Trust and Technology: Building Archival Systems for Indigenous Oral Memory
Linkage Project 2003-2005 $293,300
Dr K. Williamson, Dr L. Russell (CAIS), Prof. S. McKemmish, Prof. D. Schauder, Ms J. Heazlewood (Public Record Office of Victoria), with The Koorie Heritage Trust, the Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce, the Public Record Office of Victoria and the Australian Society of Archivsts, Indigenous Issues SIG

Oral memory, the passing of culture and history from one generation to the next through storytelling and song, has always been an integral part of Australian Aboriginal culture and, prior to European settlement, was the main method of transferring cultural and historical information. Although oral memory is still highly valued by Indigenous people, to date there has been no extensive effort by Australian archival services to discover how to capture it and make it accessible to the relevant communities. Many significant records about Indigenous communities reside in institutions such as libraries, public record offices and other archives, and are often text-based and written from a non-Indigenous perspective. For reasons such as distrust in government institutions, and lack of educational opportunities, many Aboriginal people have been reluctant (and often unable), to access this material.

Starting late 2003, this three-year project will undertake an extensive analysis of Indigenous needs in order to develop trust and understanding of key issues such as access to archives, intellectual property, and authenticity. Archival techniques and information technology will then be used to build a prototype of a trusted archival system for Indigenous oral memory, emphasising preservation and access.

Trust and Technology Project Website

An Intelligent, User Sensitive Portal to Breast Cancer Knowledge Online
Linkage Project 2002-2004 $170,000
Prof. S. McKemmish, Dr K. Williamson, A/Prof. F. Burstein, A/Prof J. Fisher, Ms J. Anderson, Ms S. Lockwood (Breast Cancer Action Group) and Ms Rosetta Manaszewicz (Breast Cancer Action Group) with the Breast Cancer Action Group (VIC) Inc.

Although there is now a plethora of information resources available online for women with breast cancer and their families, research indicates dissatisfaction with its timeliness, relevance, format and quality. Information and decision support needs vary according to disease stage, education, age, location and ethnicity, however the resources are most often designed for a homogenous mass audience. The project will address these issues by analysing the diverse information needs of women with breast cancer and their families and by assessing and describing existing online resources in user-aware ways. It will then design and prototype a web-based user-sensitive portal capable of matching user-aware resource descriptions and user needs profiles to provide differentiated access to breast cancer knowledge online.

Breast Cancer Knowledge Online (BCKO) Project Website

Other Current Research

An Explanatory Study of Development Practices used in the Development of Small Business Web-Based Systems
MSG 2006 $15,280
Dr Kathy Lynch & Dr Peta Darke

Given the problematic nature of web-based systems development and methodologies, this project explores development practices for developing web-based information systems in SMEs from both the developers and business owners’ perspective. Key outcomes include:

  • Development of a profile of approaches used in developing small business web-based systems.
  • Establishing the level to which formal methods are used.
  • Identify key development characteristics and issues for SME owners arising from the approaches used.
  • A preliminary model describing commonly used approaches and issues. Guidelines for SME owners to assist them participate more effectively in the development process.

Australian Civil Society: Priorities and Strategies for the Information Economy
NOIE 2004 $30,000
Prof. D. Schauder, Dr G. Johanson, Mr L. Stillman & Mr T. Denison

The CCNR has been funded by the Information Economy Division of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts to identify Australian Civil Society priorities and strategies for the information economy, related to the take up and effective use of ICT and to the priorities and strategies contained in the Government’s Australia’s Strategic Framework for the Information Economy 2004-2006.

This development is to take the form of a scoping study based on a series of consultations with members of Australian Civil Society. Four consultations are planned, in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The findings from these group discussions will form the basis for further discussion and refinement at a RACS Research Workshop to be held early in 2005, leading to the creation of a Draft Information Economy Framework for Australian Civil Society.

Community Building: the Power of Public Library Networks
MSG 2005 $12,000
Dr. G. Johanson and Ms. J. Anderson

The proposed research aims to highlight the ability of public library networks to foster community building, and has never been undertaken before in this manner. Community building is a priority of the Victorian State Government, and is strongly supported by the Australian government as well. The Australian Library and Information Association endorses this project. The umbrella organisation for public libraries in Victoria (VICLINK) sees this research as complementary to its own interests. A rationalisation of diverse datasets will be welcomed by researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers alike, and should assist in their own fields of endeavour. The combined use of quantitative and qualitative evidence in this project opens the way for further opportunities for collaborative research projects across disciplines.

Developing and Evaluating Location Based Services (LBS)
CRC Sustainable Tourism $80,000
Dr L. Dawson, Dr P. Sharma (University of Queensland), Ms S. Foster, Mr P. Hawking (Victoria University) and Mr A. Stein (Victoria University)

This project will investigate the commercial applicability of Location Based Services in the Australian tourism industry. The focus will be on the infrastructure - both physical as well as content - required to support these services. The project will develop three specific applications (intelligent GPS based commentary system, technology for event management, recommender systems for LBS ) on different scales, for different stakeholders and within different business environments. The scopes of these three applications will be a critical guide on the use of LBS applications in the wider tourism industry. It is intended to use the next Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 as a test bed.

Evaluation of a Computerised Intervention for Depression and Low Social Support in Coronary Heart Disease Patients in General Medical Practice
Faculty of Medicine SGS 2005 $72,000
Prof. J. Richards (Centre for Health Program Evaluation), Dr G. Lambert (Department of Medicine), A/Prof F. Burstein, Dr M. Nelson (General Practice) and Prof. A. Murphy (General Practice)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in Australia and a leading cause of disability among older people. In 2001, approximately 17% of all Australians and 40% of people aged over 65 years had CHD. While CHD on its own often causes significant disability, co-morbid depression and poor social support seriously impede prognosis and increase the risk of death, independent of conventional risk factors such as hypertension. This study will test whether computerised psychosocial treatment plus usual care, delivered by GPs, is more effective than usual GP care alone for improving various clinical endpoints in patients with established CHD. Psychosocial endpoints will include depressive affect, social skills and social support, angry affect and quality of life; physiological endpoints will include heart rate, blood pressure, heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity.

Intelligent Healthcare Information Portal to Support User-Centric Information Provision for People with Stress and Anxiety
MSG 2005 $19,850
A/Prof. Julie Fisher, A/Prof. Frada Burstein and Prof. Jeff Richards (School of Primary Health Care)

There is a plethora of online health information, however, research indicates dissatisfaction with its timeliness, relevance, format and quality. For those with an illness, information and decision support needs will vary yet resources are designed for a homogenous audience. This project seeks to extend the findings of an earlier project, which established that implementing user profiles, information could be better tailored to the individual consumer. This project in conjunction with researchers from the School of Primary Health Care, will assess the applicability of this work for stress and anxiety management. It will involve examining the user requirements, profiles and information resources required by people suffering from problems of anxiety and stress.

Knowledge Organisation for Managing Risk in Food Safety
MSG 2005 $19,542
Dr. H. Linger and A/Prof. F. Burstein

The aim of this project is to develop an ontology for knowledge representation for managing risk in a food safety context. The ontology will form a comprehensive framework, describing the structural elements, relationships and processes required to develop a risk management information system for food safety. The significance of this project is that it will be the first systematic, formal organisation of the complete range of food safety issues that encompasses the full network of stakeholders. This project will also be the first stage in the development of a full knowledge management framework for food safety issues management.

Memories, Communities, Technology - an Arts/ICT Search Conference
Monash-KCL Conference fund 2006 $30,000, AITSG 2004 $10,000, SIMS $10,000
Prof. S. McKemmish, Mr H. Short (Kings College London), Prof. M. Quartly (Arts), E. Ketelaar (Univ.Amsterdam)

The aim of the project is to explore the rich interplay between memories, communities and technologies at the nexus between the humanities, sciences and information technology. The prime mechanism for this will be “Memories, Communities, Technologies: an Arts/ICT Search Conference” to be held at Monash University’s centre at Prato in Italy, on Wednesday 4 - Friday 6 October 2006. The conference will invite international participation by leading historians, social scientists, archivists, librarians, information technologists, linguists, sociologists and others engaged in research and development relating to memories, communities and technologies, particularly E-Research, as well as key industry and community stakeholders. The conference will be preceded by a working meeting to be held in Melbourne Australia on Tuesday 11 October 2005, to set the agenda for the Prato conference.

A Pilot Web Portal for Online Access to Australian Historical Archival Records of Victorian Indigenous Languages
AITSG 2005 $10,000
Dr H. Bowe (Arts), Dr K. Lynch and Dr L. Russell (Arts)

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the Aboriginal languages of the South-eastern regions of Australia. Prior to colonisation there were approximately 36 Indigenous languages spoken in Victoria, more than three-quarters of these have already been lost, whilst survival of almost all of the remaining are extremely threatened. This project will create a prototype web portal which will provide a crucial resource for members of the wider community interested in Indigenous Languages of Victoria, by providing access to repositories of on-line resources relating to these languages. In particular these resources will be useful to students and teachers involved in the recently accredited VCE LOTE study – Indigenous Languages of Victoria: Revival and Reclamation.

Strategic Positioning of IT Governance within Corporate Governance: Maximising Value from IT Investments through IT Governance
MSG 2006 $17,565
Dr Adi Prananto

Currently, in the business domain, there is nothing more paramout than the issue of Corporate Governance and IT Governance (ITG). The fact that IT spending does not guarantee the delivery of business value, emphasises the need to establish an appropriate ITG framework to maximise the value of IT investments. However, the poorly understood relationship between ITG and Corporate Governance may ultimately lead to the marginalisation of the potential strategic values delivered by IT. The findings of this research will play a significant role in better understanding the role and contribution of ITG towards good corporate governance. Arguably, this understanding will enable a typical Australian organisation to enhance its ITG framework and increases its competitiveness in the marketplace by maximising the value derived from its IT investments.

Using Mobile Devices to Collect Data that Assists in Clinical and Service Developments within the Care of Stroke Patients
MSG 2005 $11,468
Dr. Linda Dawson, Dr. Liza Heslop (School of Nursing), and Mr. David Ramsay (Southern Health)

This project will provide a prototype, or proof of concept, for collecting and analysing appropriate data that assists in the planning of care and service delivery for stroke patients. The data collected will be based on standard stroke assessments and scores such as GCS, Barthel and NIH scores. The data will be collected within a mobile device-based infrastructure and will be stored in an appropriate database for analysis. This project will provide the foundations for a larger project based on collecting more comprehensive stroke patient data which can be used to improve predictive outcomes for stroke patients and improve patient care for stroke patients.

Completed Research Projects

Electronic Health Records: Achieving an Effective and Ethical Legal and Recordkeeping Framework
Discovery Project 2002-2004 $79,453
Dr L. Iacovino, Dr D. Mendleson (Deakin University School of Law), Dr B. McSherry (Monash University Faculty of Law) and Mrs M. Paterson (Monash University Faculty of Law)

This project takes place in the context of recent proposals for a nationally coordinated distributed system of electronic health records. Without any systematic ethical and legal safeguards or recordkeeping framework, the application of new technologies for networking health records lacks social credibility. This multidisciplinary study will provide a set of principles and standards relating to authenticity, ownership, access, privacy and confidentiality of doctor-patient communications in a networked environment, which, if implemented, will benefit patients and the medical community thus furthering the development of a more efficacious national health system.

Benchmarking Location Based Systems - the Potential of Location
CRC Sustainable Tourism $40,000
Dr L. Dawson, Dr P. Sharma (University of Queensland), Ms S. Foster, Prof. J. Zeleznikow (Victoria University), Mr P. Hawking (Victoria University), Mr A. Stein (Victoria University) and Mrs D. Nugent (University of Queensland)

Location based systems (LBS) are computerised systems that depend on the automated detection of the location of a target (eg. A tourist on the move, a tour vehicle …) to either deliver or collect information. Currently, mobile phones are seen as the obvious (but not the only) means of information delivery/collection for LBS. This technology has considerable potential for the Australian tourism industry. This project aims to assess the state of knowledge regarding LBS technologies in the Australian tourism industry, its potential usefulness for the tourism industry, recommend potential future commercial exploitation of LBS technologies in the tourism industry and to identify areas where further research may be needed.

Social Computing and complexity: human-centred design and deployment of ICT in large organisations
MRF 2004 $80,000, FIT $50,000, SIMS $25,000, BusSys $25,000
A/Prof. J.Fisher, Prof. G. Shanks (BusSys), Prof. S. McKemmish, Prof. A. Flitman (BusSys), Dr H. Linger, Prof. D. Green, and other researchers from SIMS and Business Systems

The SIMS and School of Business Systems application for a Monash Research Fund grant in the area of Social Computing, was the only successful MRF bid for the Faculty of I.T. in 2004. It grew out of an application for an ARC Research Network in 2003, which was unsuccessful in obtaining seeding funding. However this application brought together a critical mass of researchers and collaborators. This MRF project will aim to build a network from the ground up, starting within our own Faculty, by helping to identify cross-school collaboration opportunities in the area of Social Computing.

Improving Meteorological Forecasting Practice with Knowledge Management Systems
Linkage Project 2002-2003 $240,000
Dr H . Linger, A/Prof. F. Burstein, Dr K. Korb (CSSE), Dr A. Nicholson (CSSE), Mr C. Ryan and Mr J. Kelly (Bureau of Meteorology) with the Bureau of Meteorology

Twenty-first century weather forecasting presents a number of challenges. Meteorologists need to assess a vast amount of data under strict time constraints, incorporate predictive numerical modeling and their collective experiential knowledge into the forecast process, learn from the forecast process, and meet increasing user demand within limited resources. This project seeks to help forecasters meet these challenges by changing the information technology paradigm which has traditionally underpinned meteorology from one exclusively comprised of predictive numerical models to one which incorporates the knowledge and experience of forecasters.
This research builds on a longstanding and very successful collaboration between the Bureau and Monash.

Adaptive Systems
FITR 2003 & MRF 2003
Prof. G. Webb (CSSE), Prof. S. McKemmish, A/Prof. F. Burstein, A/Prof. K. Smith (Business Systems), and others from the Faculty of Information Technology

This research program uses adaptive systems as a unifying focus for several existing successful research activities within the Faculty of Information Technology. Two related projects will explore how the content, delivery and presentation of information systems can be adaptive – responsive to the needs and context of the user. One project will focus on user-adaptation: employing user needs analysis and user behaviour modeling techniques to gain insights into the content of interest to different user groups, their access characteristics and patterns of behaviour. The other project will consider environment-adaptation: how best to present information to users taking into account the user and task needs, network connection and the viewing environment.

Empowerment for the West: Technologies & Knowledge Management for Community Service Providers in Melbourne's Western Region
MSG 2004 $10,000
Ms Kerry Tanner and Dr Graeme Johanson

The purpose of this research is to introduce information and knowledge management planning to community-based human services providers in the disadvantaged Western region of Melbourne. The research will act as a pilot for a potential Linkage application with partner Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services.

Strategic planning will facilitate information and knowledge exchange through information and communications technologies. Currently, there are weak inter- and intra- organisational information and knowledge structures. The sociological theory of structuration will underlie an action research process in order to identify current and potential patterns of engagement between agencies through technology.

A Process Theory View of IT Governance Practice and the Realisation of Business Value from IT Expenditure
MSG 2004 $5,600
Dr Judy McKay and Prof. Rudy Hirschheim (Louisiana State University)

IT represents a substantial investment for most organisations, but concerns are often voiced as to the effectiveness of these investments. Improving IT governance practice should lead to more confidence in the realisation of business value from IT and in the management of IT-related risk. Adopting a process theory view suggests that good IT governance is reliant on a series of processes to convert IT expenditure into IT assets which have the desired impacts on organisational performance over time. This research will explore a processual view of IT governance practice, and look to expand the current structural views on IT governance.

Social Computing in Health Care and Communication
FITR 2003
Prof. S. McKemmish, Dr H. Linger, Dr L. Seldon (NetComp), Prof. L. Dooley (GSCIT)

This program brings together a multidisciplinary team to develop social computing in health care and communication as an area of new research strength for the Faculty of Information Technology. It will focus on: (1) development of a strategic research plan for the extension of social computing research, building on existing strengths and research partnerships with industry in this field; (2) extension of networks and industry support, improving the number and quality of links between the Faculty and industry; (3) establishment of links between this area and other Faculty initiatives in the Intelligent and Pervasive Computing areas; (4) building collaborative alliances with national and international researchers and research groups involved in all aspects of social computing; (5) the development of intelligent interfaces for delivery of customised health consumer information, knowledge management in healthcare and the social and business impacts of mobile devices in healthcare and communication, and e-health services.

Towards Mobile Real-time Multicriteria Decision Support for Open-field Triage in Contingency Management
MSG 2004 $10,000
Dr Jocelyn San Pedro, Dr Leonid Churilov, A/Prof. Frada Burstein, A/Prof. Arkady Zaslavsky (CSSE), and Dr Julie Hodgkin (University of Stirling), A/Prof. J. Wassertheil (Medicine)

Contingency management, whose purpose is to reduce the level of risk associated with emergencies and disasters, is currently one of the Australian national priority areas. The generic process of triage (comprehensive real-time initial assessment) is a key part of contingency management. The proposed multi-disciplinary research project investigates the issues of planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of a mobile real-time multicriteria decision support system that is aimed at improving the quality and responsiveness of open-field triage. The research team will utilise the results to provide evidence of prior research and international collaboration to support future ARC Discovery/Linkage applications.

Building the Internet Workforce Project Evaluation
DEST, via Monash University $25,000
K. Williamson, G. Johanson

This project was undertaken between April and June, 2003. A report was written for DEST and the investigators are at present writing an article for a higher education journal (Feb 2004).

Business-IT Alignment Profiles and Executives' Perceptions of Business Value Derived from IT Investments
MSG 2003 $7,000
J. McKay, R. Hirschheim (Louisiana State University)

IT represents a substantial investment for most businesses, but there are concerns about whether such investments offer good returns and deliver the expected business value. A key contribution to the delivery of business value is the notion of business-IT alignment, or whether business and IT goals and strategies are mutually supportive and result in outcomes beneficial to the organisation.

This research project examines business-IT alignment in-depth, developing profiles of IT strategies appropriate for particular generic types of business strategy. The project will study these profiles, and will consider their impact on executives' perceptions of the business value derived from IT.

Community Points of Presence Evaluation
MSG 2003 $13,000
G. Johanson

This research project will carry out a multi-dimensional evaluation of an interrelated group of state government supported community networking projects in a regional area. The community networking projects will develop locally managed "Points of Presence" and other ICT infrastructure. Our research will develop and implement a range of appropriate evaluation methodologies, data capture processes and information management structures for the action research cases, and will report on the progress of individual cases. This research project will develop and implement a systematic evaluation methodology which is participatory, which allows for local context and variations, and which is replicable.

CoolCampus: Infrastructure for Pervasive Computing Research
FITR 2003 $80,000
P. Steele (FIT), J. Fisher, and others

Pervasive computing research investigates the technical and social challenges of creating computerised environments that will recede into the background of our everyday lives and empower us to be more effective in all of the activities that we undertake. This project focuses on two interrelated ares of research: the use of mobile agents and multimedia techniques in resource constrained environments (based at Peninsula campus) and the integration of web services, handheld computers, context-aware mobile agents and sensor networks to support and develop pervasive information services for Monash students and staff (based at Caulfield campus).

Developing Application Environments for Mobile Devices in Health Care: Investigating Issues of Usability and Acceptance
MSG 2003 $5,500
L. Dawson and J. Fisher

This project will investigate how the development of application environments for hand held mobile devices can be designed to better meet the needs of users. The research will involve a study into the development of one application in the health sector and its implementation. Issues to be investigated will include: how factors relating to the usability of the devices and the application environment were addressed during the development phase, how the devices and the application environment were implemented to increase acceptance by the users, how user testing was undertaken and how well the devices and application met the needs of users.

Knowledge Management Strategies in Australia and New Zealand: A Comparative Study
MSG 2003 $10,000
F. Burstein, G. McCullough and G. Oliver (Open Polytechnic of New Zealand)

A replication of the Monash survey of the uptake of knowledge management in Australia is currently being conducted in New Zealand. This project will compare the results obtained in New Zealand with Australia. This collaborative study will enhance the value of the initial project and promote Monash research internationally. Publications outlining findings will be distributed to government bodies and more widely to the interested organisations in both countries and this will publicise the work of the School at a national and international level. The initial project got very high industry acceptance including sponsorship for the follow-up studies. This project has the same potential.

The Role of Electronic Networks in Online Investment: A Pilot Study
MSG 2003 $10,000
K. Williamson, D. Kingsford-Smith (Law)

Recently there has been a burgeoning in the availability of discounted online investment opportunities, where advice is not offered. This has encouraged ordinary people to become online retail investors. There has been an association made between online investment and less discerning investment decisions. In this context, Australia's major online broker intends to launch an electronic network to support clients. In order to assist the meeting of needs, at the same time as minimising legal pitfalls, this project will seek to investigate retail investors' needs for information and advice in relation to the legal issues involved in hosting an electronic network.

Tertiary Student Understandings of Information Literacy in a Digital Age
MSG 2003 $10,000
S. Wright

This project will use qualitative research methods to explore Faculty of IT students' understandings of information literacy. In particular, it will address: (1) requirements for information literacy in their study, and the strategies developed by students in response; (2) the impact of increasingly accessible electronic materials upon the learning process, as well as upon students' handling of more traditional information sources. The project will yield new understandings of information literacy in higher education which will prove useful to students, teaching staff, and library staff alike. It will also lead to long-term research collaboration between the Faculty of IT and Monash Library.

Web-based Intelligent Multicriteria Decision Support System for Weather Forecasting
MSG 2003 $10,000
J. San Pedro, F. Burstein, J. Hodgkin (University of Stirling)

This project aims to upgrade a prototype decision support system for tropical cyclone forecasting into a world-class web-based decision support system. This presents a big step towards international recognition of the research activities and systems development initiatives of the Faculty of IT. The project will result in the development and implementation of an advanced web-based intelligent support system architecture for weather forecasting. It will involve a visit from an international expert in intelligent multicriteria decision support systems (MDSS). The project will further strengthen collaboration with international MDSS communities and the Bureau of Meteorology, and will provide support to an early career researcher.

Australian Trade Union Heritage Gateway

This one year project was completed in 2002. It was funded by the Australian Research Council and funded and supported by industry partners University of Melbourne Archives, Australian National University, University of Wollongong, Monash University School of Information Management and Systems and Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. Key researchers were Mr Michael Piggott, (University of Melbourne), Dr Sigrid McCausland (Australian National University), Mr Michael Organ (University of Wollongong), Professor Sue McKemmish (SIMS), Mr Gavan McCarthy (Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre) and Mr Bruce Smith.

Archival records of trade unions in Australia are scattered between a number of university archives, state libraries and state archives. This project arose out of a recognition that there is no central access point to the information about these collections, and that those access points which are available to researchers lack the contextual detail necessary to fully understand the records. The project therefore developed a database of structured data about Australia's trade unions and their archival records and to establish a web based 'front end' gateway.

Australian Trade Union Archives Website

Characteristics and Choices of Public Access Internet Users
MSG 2002 $16,000
G. Johanson, G. Hardy (CCNR), C. Sherman (Communities Online)

Little is known of the characteristics of public library public access internet users, or of the uses which they make of public access internet provision. To aid a deeper understanding of issues, and to evaluate appropriate methodologies, this study examined: (1) the demographic characteristics of Public Library public access internet users compared with the broader municipal demographic, (2) the content and applications most utilised by those public access users, and (3) the extent to which public access internet provision met the needs of those users.

Survey results

A Critical Analysis of the Role of Simon's Process Theory of Decision-Making in Decision Support Systems (DSS) Research
MSG 2002 $13,000
D. Arnott, G. Pervan, R. Hirschheim

The aim of this project was to critically assess the role of Simon's Nobel Prize winning theory of decision making in DSS research. The starting proposition was that despite the importance of Simon's theory to decision making research, more recent theoretical contributions need to be better integrated into DSS theory and practice. We believe that the aura of the Nobel Prize may have led researchers to over-emphasise the theory and this has inhibited the search for alternative theories. This project is of considerable importance to the discipline, as it was the first rigorous critique of a major theoretical foundation of decision support systems.

Developing the Competency of Australian Public Librarians in Using Online Databases

This research was funded by the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library of Australia and was conducted in 2001 and 2002. Key researchers were Dr Kirsty Williamson (SIMS) and Ms Marion Bannister (Charles Sturt University).

This project investigated the requirements for developing and maintaining the competency of public library staff in using online databases to satisfy client enquiries, and developed and tested training modules to meet these requirements. The project used qualitative research methods to examine the perceptions of librarians about their skills and training needs, and combined this with objective testing to measure competency.

More information

Evaluation of the Usability of Electronic Library Resources

This project was funded by the Australian Research Council and industry partner the State Library of Victoria. The research was completed in 2001. Key researchers were Dr Kirsty Williamson, Assoc Prof Frada Burstein (both SIMS)

This research addressed the question: What are the features which contribute to an attractive and usable electronic information resource? It involved testing Four databases to assess their usability. Four Victorian public library services were involved, with each of these services being allocated two of the four resources for assessment. Focus groups of library staff were used to explore
perceptions of database content and usability. This qualitative data were supplemented with quantitative measurements produced by a generic, multi-criteria evaluation tool called MultiVal, developed by researchers at the University of Melbourne and Monash University to evaluate the success of decision support systems. Outcomes from the project have included a comprehensive evaluation method for electronic resources, a prototype web based tool for multicriteria evaluation, a set of recommendations to publishers about how they might measure resource use, and recommendations to remove barriers and improve access to electronic resources.

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Information and Communications Technology, Capacity Building and Meeting Community Needs: Interdisciplinary Concept Exploration and Search Conference Evaluation
MSG 2002 $19,000
S. McKemmish, L. Stillman

This process of systematic knowledge inquiry through a structured concept exploration process brought together for the first time Australian and international experts in information technology, social work, public policy. The intended impacts of the knowledge exploration process were: (1) the setting of new research agendas for studying the impact of information and communication technologies on the social, community and non-profit sectors; (2) influence upon the development of public policy through the participation of key public sector stakeholders; (3) the development of partnerships for future collaborative research or public enterprise. In addition, the knowledge exploration process was evaluated as a technique for future research agenda setting in the Faculty.

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An Investigation into the Effect of Mobile Device Types on Use and Management of Data by Nomadic Consultants
MSG 2002 $10,000
H. Scheepers, J. Fisher, L. Dawson

The use of mobile devices is described as the third wave of the computer revolution, namely ubiquitous computing. This expectation is further fuelled by media hype describing the possibilities and endless applications. Previous research in this area mainly focussed on the technical aspects. An area that has received less attention is the use of mobile devices within organisations. This research extended prior research completed during 2000 in a company involved in weight loss management. This project involved setting up a pilot study with a relevant company to determine how the mobile device enhances or detracts from the nomadic consultants' work practice.

Knowledge Management in the Financial Services Sector

This research was funded by FujiXerox Australia Ltd ($15 000 cash, plus $10,000 software) and conducted in 2002 by Assoc Prof Frada Burstein and Ms Suzanne Zyngier.

This Monash/Fuji Xerox collaboration investigated the current state of knowledge management within the Australian financial services industry. It built on the results of an exploratory survey of the current views, awareness and knowledge management strategies of the top 1000 Australian companies. The Australian survey findings were compared with data from a similar study examining European financial institutions.

A key finding was that although many financial services organisations are ahead of their European counterparts in developing knowledge management strategies, they tend to lag behind in implementation. In particular, very few Australian companies have established a repository to manage knowledge.

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Knowledge Management for Information Communities

Funded by the Strategic Monash University Research Fund, the Faculty of Information Technology and SIMS in 2000 and 2001. Key researchers were Assoc Prof Frada Burstein, Prof Sue McKemmish, Prof Don Schauder, Dr Kirsty Williamson (all SIMS)

An umbrella research program rather than a specific project, Knowledge Management for Information Communities addressed the need for a comprehensive approach to enterprise knowledge management and sought to harness the range of complementary experience and perspectives amongst SIMS/EIRG researchers and to nurture strong alliances with industry and academia.

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Literacy Online for People with Physical and Intellectual Disabilities and the Deaf: Through Sports, Arts and Recreation

This project ran from March 2000 to March 2002. It was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Communications and Information Technology’s AccessAbility Program and conducted in conjunction with the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT). SIMS’s Information and Telecommunications Needs Research Team (Dr Kirsty Williamson, Dr Steve Wright and Ms Louise Stockfeld) conducted the research.

The project’s aim was to assist people with disabilities to improve their literacy skills through use of specially developed web sites. NMIT staff and students worked with the researchers in an action research process of developing trial contents, formats and interface features, then iteratively trialling and refining them.

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Mobile Commerce: Changing the Way We Do Business

Funded by the Faculty of Information Technology, SIMS and the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering in 2001/02. Key researchers are Assoc Prof Christine Mingins and Dr Peter Stanski (both School of Computer Science and Software Engineering), Dr Linda Dawson and Mr Andrew Barnden (both SIMS)

This project brought together researchers from two major research areas in the Faculty of Information Technology. The focus of the research was the integration and synthesis of the enabling technologies of mobile computing with the design and redesign of business process environments. Collaboration on this and other projects led to the establishment of the m-Commerce Centre in October 2001.

Online Services for People with Disabilities in Australian Public Libraries

This two year project was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Communications and Information Technology’s AccessAbility Program and by VICNET. It was completed in 2000.

This project researched and selected a core set of adaptive equipment, suited to people with a range of different disabilities for use in public library online services. A set of related training packages were designed and tested and standards and policies were developed to achieve appropriate levels of online public access for disability groups.

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The Potentialities of Online Banking for the Australian Community: A Pilot Study
MSG 2002 $15,000
K. Williamson, S. Lichtenstein, E. Lanyon

Although online banking has been a significant innovation, adoption by domestic customers in Australia has been slower than in some comparable countries. Experts have posited that this is due to a range of user concerns which include issues of trust, privacy, and security. In collaboration with the Faculty of Law, and in a broad banking context, this multidisciplinary project explored the reasons why particular banking choices are made by customers, together with the barriers to the adoption of online banking. Implications for other areas of e-commerce were also explored.

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Recordkeeping Metadata Project

The Recordkeeping Metadata Research project was an eighteen month (1998/99) project jointly funded by the Australian Research Council and a National Archives of Australia led coalition of industry partners involving State Records NSW, Queensland State Archives, the Records Management Association of Australia and the Australian Council of Archives.

With the priority of getting Australia online has come the urgent challenge of finding ways to maintain authentic, reliable and useable evidence of business in cyberspace. Working in the context of a range of metadata related initiatives in Australia and elsewhere, this research aimed to comprehensively specify and codify the metadata necessary to identify, authenticate, describe, manage and make accessible documents created in the course of business of all kinds. The project’s main outcome is the Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema.

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Teleworking: Implications for Academic Staff

This research was commissioned by Monash Information Technology Services and conducted in 2000 by the Information and Telecommunications Needs Research (in particular Dr Steve Wright).

This research highlights the main factors that affect teleworking (most commonly working at home using information and communications technologies) by academic staff. It seeks to gauge the perceptions of academic staff about the pros and cons of teleworking, along with the perceptions of those who are affected by the work of academics. The final report includes a number of recommendations for the development of policy governing teleworking by academics.

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The Uses of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in Contemporary Social Movements: A Pilot Study
MSG 2002 $10,000 S. Wright, P. Lentini

This cross-faculty collaborative project explored those issues of knowledge management that arise when social movements adopt information and communication technology as a means of communication and organisation. In particular, it used qualitative research methods across four case studies - both Australian and international - to examine question of information overload and the democratisation of processes and knowledges.

 
Contact : simsresearch@sims.monash.edu.au ---- Copyright © 2003 Monash University ---- Last updated: 30 August 2007