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Searching the World Wide Web – Finding the Right Information the First Time

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Information and Network Security

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1358.1 - 26.1358.15



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Paper Authors


Kristine Donate Florida Atlantic University

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Twenty years in the RF Analog/Mixed Signal Design and EDA software industries doing design, customer support, application engineering, technical writing, training development and delivery, project management, AE and business management. Current focus is on telephony and IVR technologies.

Realization of software development as a true passion of mine led to the pursuit of a Master's degree in Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University, graduated in December, 2013.

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Ravi T. Shankar Florida Atlantic University

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Ravi Shankar has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. He is currently a senior professor with the Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at Florida Atlantic University. His current research interests are on K-12 education, engineering learning theories, and education data mining. He has been well funded by the high tech industry over the years. He has 7 US patents, of which 3 have been commercialized by the university. He has published earlier work on the use of the semantic web for medical applications at another conference. This work is part of an ongoing teaching and research project that leverages our collaborative teaching in smart phone app development. We plan to leverage this in generalizing the course offering so other interdisciplinary groups' efforts are facilitated.

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Diana Mitsova Florida Atlantic University

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Diana Mitsova has a background in research design, statistical and spatial analysis, as well as environmental planning and modeling using geographic information systems, and interactive computer simulation. Her primary area of research involves the impact of urban development on ecosystems and other environmentally sensitive areas.Her recent publications focus on the impact of climate-related stressors on coastal communities and the implementation of planning approaches related to enhancing coastal resilience to natural hazards. Her research has been funded by the National Park Service through FAU Environmental Sciences Everglades Fellowship Initiative, USGS, and The Nature Conservancy.

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Francis Xavier McAfee Florida Atlantic University

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Francis X. McAfee, Associate Professor in the School of Communication & Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) merges his background as a ceramic sculptor and printmaker with new digital technologies. After graduating with a BFA in Art in 1989 he joined the Florida Center for Electronic Communication (CEC) as a lead artist creating animation for applied research projects. These computer animated films were nationally and internationally screened in New York, Chicago, Hollywood, San Francisco, and Tokyo in industry recognized competitions as the International Video Art Competition, the New York Festivals, and the American Film Institute.

McAfee is also active in web-based virtual reality projects. His research includes digital archaeology of a deteriorating ancient tomb in Sicily to help preserve and visualize its’ characteristics for future study. His collaboration with Florida International University’s International Hurricane Research Center showed how certain roof construction materials may become projectiles during high wind events. For the FAU Center for Environmental Studies’ Sea Level Rise Summit McAfee lead a student team to produce a short animated video showing what might happen to the neighborhood around the Miami Freedom Tower if sea level rises to its full potential impacts. The video was picked up by National Public Radio and other media outlets. In 2007 he helped visualize the research of FAU’s Ocean Engineering using animation for a competition for a State of Florida Center of Excellence. FAU won the completion and has since been named as a national research center, Southeast Regional Marine Renewable Energy Center. Since 2009 he has collaborated with colleagues in Computer Sciences and other colleges to form cross-disciplinary student teams that create software applications for Android mobile devices.

McAfee compliments his professional activities with volunteer service for ACM SIGGRAPH. He served on their executive committee as Director for International Chapters and has organized local Fort Lauderdale chapter events for over 20 years.

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Searching the World Wide Web – Finding the Right Information the First TimeAs the World Wide Web (web) continues to expand, the information available via the Web is anever-growing forest of useful and non-useful details. The casual user may be surviving theirattempts to query the web by typing a few keywords into their favorite browser while performingan initial search. Typically the initial search is followed by one or more subsequent searcheseach with a refinement of the search keywords based on the previous search results. Theresulting task of separating the relevant search results from those that are distracting and non-helpful often presents the user with a daunting and time consuming task. During Fall 2013,eleven groups of students, from engineering, urban planning, and communications andmultimedia studies developed mobile applications (Apps) in collaboration with communityindustry mentors. Fifty students actively explored discipline-specific content to create Appsrelated to crowd-source reporting of marine debris, native and exotic species, facilitatingcommunity involvement in rainwater harvesting, community gardens, and children educationabout green communities. With mentorship from faculty sponsors, these students thencollaborated to develop student-driven Apps. Industry and community partners served as judgesto rank the Apps and recommend improvements. The results from pre- and post-surveysconducted to assess the knowledge gains from this cross-college educational experience, all threegroups of students reported improvement in their critical thinking and app developmentcompetency. Our paper will describe the effort during Fall 2013 to assist the studentdevelopment teams find the information they need on the web by leveraging the Semantic Web.Starting with an introduction of the Semantic Web, we will explain how information andknowledge can be more efficiently extracted from the deepest and widest recesses of the web.We will detail the various methods being employed to collect information from the student teamssuch as surveys and presentations along with questions and answer sessions. Students areproviding strategic keywords used and websites found while researching aspects affecting theapplications they are developing such as educational information, funding/spending, communityimpact and subject matter fundamentals. Next, the concepts and descriptions of an ontology andtaxonomy will lay the foundation of our premise. The student provided keywords and the mostapplicable website they lead to are being categorized and organized to provide a structuralframework upon which the ontology for our search tool is based. A presentation follows of thetaxonomy defining the relationships between keywords and the location of most relevantinformation associated with the specific keywords on the web. Finally, we will leverage existingwork utilizing the semantic web and storage of keyword collections, or profiles, in a SemanticSearch Engine tool. Through the modifications described to the existing tool, we willdemonstrate how to optimize and drive maximum efficiency while searching the web andvarious on-line databases ultimately aiding the student teams to be more efficient in theirresearch efforts.

Donate, K., & Shankar, R. T., & Mitsova, D., & McAfee, F. X. (2015, June), Searching the World Wide Web – Finding the Right Information the First Time Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24695

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