Redlining Richmond – DSL

One of the projects created by the Digital Scholarship Lab here at the University of Richmond, is a project called Redlining Richmond. Redlining is a “practice of denying services, particularly banking and mortgage services, to particular neighborhoods, sometimes literally drawing a red line on map to separate areas where loans would be made from areas where they would not.”

In the 1930s, a government-sponsored corporation was created after the Great Depression called the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC). This corporation was created to refinance home mortgages, prevent foreclosures as well as survey real estate trends in larger cities across the United States. This website focuses on the assessment surveys and map produced for Richmond, Virginia. I was completely blown away at the language used to describe inhabitants and terrain of the land and if the inhabitants were white – nothing else really mattered. But if inhabitant was Black, Jewish, or Hispanic or “ of a lower grade population”– that was an issue. Looking at the map and how the city was surveyed in the 1930’s explains why some areas are like they are now – they never had a chance and some areas have not changed.

It is one thing to hear stories from my parents, grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, but it is something different to see copy of US Government document used and how Black Americans were depicted on paper just because they were Black. Racist language may not have been used but racist attitude is obviously there.

In reviewing the maps, for every white neighborhood were assigned higher grades and much detail is given regarding the occupation and terrain of the land. For all the black neighborhoods were assigned lowest grade and occupations and description of the land were omitted. Did the HOLC maps cause the practice of redlining or did the maps just reflect that the practice was in place? That question may never be answered. This website has a plethora of information not just on the issue of race with regards to the assessment surveys, but you can also see the wealth and income disparities in Richmond in the 1930’s as well as the ages of the neighborhoods and buildings in the city at that time. The city of Richmond is rich in history and artifacts but also has many unhealed wounds.


Reading Response #5

In the article, Žižek Plagiarism and the Lowering of Expectations, Dr. Hollis Phelps, Assistant Professor of Religion at University of Mt. Olive, examines the issue of the fact that the Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, has admitted to plagiarism. Dr. Phelps adores Žižek and feels some type of way about Žižek admitting that he used someone else material for an article published in 2008.   On the one hand Phelps was disappointed in Žižek. Phelps says that “finding out that one of your favorite authors has plagiarized is the intellectual equivalent of learning of the infidelity of one’s partner”. But on the other hand, Phelps was not surprised.   He says that since being in a full time faculty position– his “views on scholarship and production are less naïve than they once where.” Phelps says that Žižek could not possibly read, research, and publish as much has he does along with international traveling and lecturing. Phelps states, “Actual production of scholarship often depends on others, whose work often remains largely unacknowledged.” Sort of like a “collaboration environment” as discussed in our other assigned reading, The Disruptive Power of Collaboration: An Interview with Clay Shirky.

Shirky talks about when new communication tools come along, that it changes how people contact each other and how they share information. These new technology changes span generations. Shirky discusses collaborative environments – environments where people share information no questions asked. Shirky gives example of that – Wikipedia. People can post, edit, delete information without permission or assistance. In my opinion – an important take away from Shirky interview was his discussion on Plan A versus Plan B. Shirky discussed that it is ok to have a Plan B. He talks about various successful companies we know today that are Plan B due to Plan A’s failure – such as Wikipedia and Twitter. “You can’t get a rocket to the moon just by aiming it. You also have to give yourself the ability to course correct.” Course correction can be more important than the initial direction.

After reading both articles together, does or has technology lower the expectations in scholarly writings? Will scholarship become a more collaborative environment? Will plagiarism be more defined as part of collaborative environment instead of being a dirty word in scholarship? Things that make you go hmm…


The disruptive power of collaboration: An interview with Clay Shirky.” McKinsey & Company. March 2014. <>.

Phelps, Hollis. “Žižek, Plagiarism and the Lowering of Expectations.” Inside Higher Education. July 17 2014.Web. <>.

Book Review – Big Data

They all are doing it – Google, Amazon and the US government and everyone is talking about it. What are they doing and why is it important? Thanks to our dependency on smartphones, Internet, and social networking, companies are collecting and storing data about us more than ever before. They all use “Big Data”.

Amazon uses customer data from previous purchases to give us recommendation. Google uses our search data and other information collected to sell ads and to promote other services and products. The National Security Agency collected phone records, e-mails, photos, documents from phone companies as well as Internet companies to track terrorists.

In the book, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, a professor of Internet governance and regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, and Kenneth Cukier, the data editor for The Economist, provided a solid overview of the what big data is, how it will change us and what we can do to protect ourselves from its dangers. The Human Face of Big Data by Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt told the personal stories behind big data, but in this book the authors focused on the explaining the impacts of living in world of big data. We now have the capability to capture and store massive amounts of data – this is done easily and cheaply and was impossible to do so in the past. “In the spirit of Google or Facebook, the new thinking is that people are the sum of their social relationships, online interactions, and connections with content. In order to fully investigate an individual, analysts need to look at the widest possible penumbra of data that surrounds the person – not just whom they know, but whom those people know too, and so on,” they write. The authors discuss that the value from data is not dead after its first use. Instead, “data exhaust” can be reused a limitless number of times either directly or in combination with additional information. In the past, “data exhaust” would have been junked but now can be put to use. Authors give example of Google and how they applied the principle of “learning from the data” by using typos entered by users in its search engines to create a better spell check program. The authors also provide an analysis of the dangers or “dark side to big data.” Privacy and protecting privacy is one the main risks of big data. The old approach of protecting privacy was for an individual to give consent or to opt out or making records pseudonymous but these strategies are losing effectiveness. “The ability to capture personal data is often built deep into the tools we use every day, from Web sites to smartphone apps,” the authors write. Given the countless ways data can be reused and sold to other companies, it is impossible for users to give consent. This book was an easy, quick read at only 200 pages; you do not need to be computer science graduate to gain something from book. The structure of this book is a comprehensive but entertaining introduction to the conversation of “Big Data”.


Mayer-Schönberger, V., & Cukier, K. (2013). Big data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Literature Review

Is the Internet Bad for Medical Information for the Consumer?

Health Consumers are bombarded daily with announcements regarding “medical breakthroughs” on television news programs, radio updates or in newspaper articles. Finding reliable and consumer friendly health information can be a challenge. Cline (2001) takes a look at various studies of consumers searching the Internet for health information. The author looks at why consumers access online health information and the potential benefits of search online for consumer health information. Kronick (2006), who is a reference librarian at the University of Connecticut Health Center, discusses how health consumers are overwhelmed with medical research findings often reported as “medical breakthroughs” on daily basis by various media outlets. The author understands that finding accurate medical news sources is challenging and interpreting those findings an even greater challenge. Kronick discusses how to understand the medical research process, how that medical research is communicated to the public and presents reliable, consumer friendly, medical news sources that are available.

Despite the vast amount of information of health information available on the Internet, there was none to little information about the accessibility, quality or readability of the health information on the Internet. The Internet has eliminated some of barriers in access to health information, but only if material can be read and understood by the various types of users. The ability of the health consumer to use the assessment tools found all depends on the consumers ability to find and understand the material. Berland (2001) conducted one of the first study to examine English and Spanish language health information on the Internet across multiple conditions. The author evaluated health information on breast cancer, depression. obesity, and childhood asthma available through English and Spanish-language web sites and search engines.   The author evaluated these sources to see whether key consumer questions were covered and if that information was accurate. The results of this study showed that information one English and Spanish-language web sites was accurate but inconsistent and required high reading levels to comprehend the health information found.

Cochrane, Gregory, Wilson (2012) did a study that compared the readability of health information intended for consumers found on government-funded websites (i.e. sites with a “.gov’ suffix) versus info found on commercially funded websites (i.e., sites with “.com” suffix). The authors discuss the issue that if information is going to be provided online, then health care practionioners and educators should take readability into account.

As more consumers use the Internet as a source of medical and health information, how has this affected the patient and doctor relationship? Does medical or health information obtained from Internet encourage patients to ask their physician questions or does it affect their decision about whether to see a doctor or not? Suziedelyte (2012) does an analysis that looks at whether health information from Internet encourage patients to see their physicians more frequently or was the health information found replacing the physician. The results showed that health information found on Internet had large, positive effect on patient-doctor relationship and that it was more of a complement to relationship not a substitute or replacement. Troug (2012) points out that with all the medical information available to consumers via Internet, there is a shift of authority in decision making from the physician to the patient.   The health information found gives patients power along with the impression that they can manager their own medical issues with the physician serving as consultant. Troug points out that this can be dangerous as it is helpful since the physician is seen as the expert and authoritative power over issues involving medical science and the patient has power over values or preferences.

Cyberchondria is a term used to define “a person who obsessively researches health information on the Internet, typically to find a disease matching particular (real or imagined) symptoms.” White & Horvits (2009) researches how the Internet can increase the anxieties of people when checking symptoms and trying to self-diagnose but have no medical training. The findings in this study showed that the Internet search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns.

Works Cited

Berland, G. K. (2001). Health Information on the Internet: Accessibility, Quality, and Readability in English and Spanish. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(20), 2612-2621. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.20.2612

Cline, R. J. (2001). Consumer health information seeking on the Internet: The state of the art. Health Education Research, 16(6), 671-692. doi: 10.1093/her/16.6.671

Cochrane, Z. R., Gregory, P., & Wilson, A. (2012). Readability of Consumer Health Information on the Internet: A Comparison of U.S. Government–Funded and Commercially Funded Websites. Journal of Health Communication, 17(9), 1003-1010. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.650823

Kronick, J. S. (2006). Is It a Medical Breakthrough? Journal of Consumer Health On the Internet, 10(1), 17-31.

Suziedelyte, A. (2012). How does searching for health information on the Internet affect individuals’ demand for health care services? Social Science & Medicine, 75(10), 1828-1835. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.07.022

Truog, R. D. (2012). Patients and Doctors — The Evolution of a Relationship. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(7), 581-585. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1110848

Reading Response #4

Remember in the Wizard of Oz and as Dorothy, Tin Man, Toto, and Scarecrow were walking and “following the yellow brick road” and there is a part that says “lions, tigers and bears, oh my!!! After reading the 3 assignments for this week, I thought “Big Data, Found Data, and Privacy, oh my!” After reading this week’s assignments, I reflected on my time searching the internet and the information I was conveying about myself.
The term “Big Data” sounds so scary and huge. But Big Data is a vague term that describes collecting and analyzing as much data as possible from traditional and digital sources and with this data, companies (and the government) are able to quantify and nearly predict what is and will be happening. So Big Data is just another term for the same data marketers have always used, right? Big Data is Big Statistics, Big Algorithms, Big Software, Big Computers – it is a different way to solving problems while providing answers to some of the same questions statistics has been trying to answer for years.
Tim Arnold writes it in his article, “Big Data: are we making a big mistake”, that the big data that companies are interested in is the “found data”; the leftovers from the “digital exhaust of web searches, credit card payments and mobiles pinging the nearest phone mast”. Arnold points out that since Edward Snowden leaked info regarding the NSA electronic surveillance program, we now know that the US government is just as fascinated with the information learned from our found data as Google and Facebook. This made me realize that if I continue to use the so call “free” services that Google provides, they have a complete picture of my shopping habits, eating habits, reading interest; they have a complete picture of me! I am sacrificing my “informational privacy” for free or useful services being offered.
As Ian Bogost, points out in his article “What is ‘Evil” to Google?”, Google chooses to use the found data to bombard me with advertisements delivered across its products but without my consent. But what happens when the next Google CEO chooses to sell that found data? Big Data has arrived but what are companies and the US Government (NSA) doing with it? How is it being analyzed? Is it being handled in an efficient and effective way? Greater transparency is needed is needed as to happens to found data and how are decision made based on found data analysis.
As Keiron O’Hara writes in, “Are We Getting Privacy the Wrong Way Round”, that “people have moved from documenting their lives to living them online, and the traces they leave are an important part of the business models” to many companies and the US Government. Big Data, Found Data and Privacy, Oh My!

Bogost, Ian. “What Is ‘Evil’ to Google?” The Atlantic. October 15 2013. <;.
Harford, Tim. “Big Data: Are We Making a Big Mistake?” Financial Times. March 28 2014. <;.

O’Hara, Kieron. “Are we Getting Privacy the Wrong Way Round?” IEEE Internet Computing 17.4 (2013): 89-92.

Annotated Biblography

Annotated Bibliography

Knowledge Management – Weekend College

September 21, 2014

Is the Internet Bad for Medical Information for the Consumer?



Cline, R. J. (2001) Consumer Health Information Seeking on the Internet: The State of The Art.

Health Education Research,16(6), 671-692. doi: 10.1093/her/16.6.671

This article looks at various studies of consumers searching the Internet for health information. The author looks at why consumers access online health information and the potential benefits of searching online for consumer health information. The author discusses three primary ways consumers access online health information. This article reviews potential benefits of consumers searching online for health information. The author also reviews the potential downfalls of using the Internet for health information. This article has been cited many times in more recent studies of consumers seeking health information via the Internet.

Cochrane, Z. R., Gregory, P. & Wilson, A. (2012). Readability of Consumer Health

Information on the Internet: A Comparison of U.S. Government-Funded and

Commercially Funded Websites. Journal of Health Communication, 17(9), 1003-1010,

doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.650823

The authors conducted a survey to compare the readability of health information available for consumers found on U.S. government funded websites (i.e., sites with a “.gov” suffix) versus the information found on commercially funded websites (i.e., sites with a .com” suffix).   Since this study looked at only the readability of information – does not discuss accuracy or reliability, the value of this article will be on importance of consumer’s ability to read and understand health information researched on the Internet.





Cyrus, J.W. (2014). A Review of Recent Research on Internet Access, Use, and Online Health

Information Seeking. Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 14(2), 149-157. doi: 10.1080/15323269.2014.888630

This article discussed the recent research done by consumers on the Internet looking for health information. The author discusses the methodology and literature used as well as the use of computers – desktop or smart phones to access the Internet. The article also looks at the health related information being accessed and how that varies depending on age, income race and gender as well as the frequency of access to health information. This present a current, fresh perspective on how the Internet is being used to research health information.



Kronick, J.S. (2006). Is It a Medical Breakthrough? Journal of Consumer Health On the

            Internet, 10, 17-31. doi: 10.1300/J381v10n01_02

Judith S. Kronick, MLS, a Reference Librarian at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and co-authors a quarterly newsletter for Connecticut public librarians as well as for those interested in consumer health information. This article discusses how health consumers are overwhelmed with medical research findings often reported as “medical breakthroughs” on daily basis by various media outlets. The author understands that finding accurate medical news sources is challenging and interpreting those findings an even greater challenge. This article discuses how to understand the research process, how that medical research is communicated to the public and presents reliable medical news sources available.   This article provides value to the process of medical research and how that information is communicated to the public.

Loos, A. (2013). Cyberchondria: Too Much Information For the Health Anxious Patients?

Journal of Consumer Health On the Internet, 17(4), 439-445,

doi: 10.1080/15398285.2013.833452

This article defines and discusses the term cyberchondira and how a search for a common symptom can escalate into the review of information on rare conditions that are possibly linked to common symptom. The author also discusses how consumers are becoming more dependent upon health information found via the Internet for self-diagnosis.

Suziedelyte, A. (2012). How does searching for health information on the Internet affect

Individuals’ demand for health care services? Social Science & Medicine, 75(10),

1828-1835, doil:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.07.022

The author did an analysis to determine how health information obtained from Internet affected the consumer’s demand for health care. The analysis examined if consumer health information is obtained from Internet – does this affect the number of visits to see physician.

The research performed address the question, what are health information seekers doing with this information obtained.

Troug, R.D. (2012) Patients and Doctors – The Evolution of a Relationship, New England

            Journal of Medicine 366(7), 581-585, doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1110848

Dr. Robert Truog is Professor of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical Schools, explains how the relationship between doctor and patient is the “core of medical ethics” but has evolved along three interrelated areas – clinical care, clinical research and society. This article provides interesting information around clinical research – how patients were not informed nor provided consent before being enrolled in research trials by their doctor. No attention is paid to discussion of physicians should be devoted to providing the best care to their patients regardless to cost. This article adds value to how the Internet has shifted the decision making power from physician to patient or sometimes to a shared decision between physicians and patient.

White, R. W., & Horvits, E. (2009). Cyberchondria: Studies of the Escalation of Medical

Concerns in Web Search. ACM Transactions On Information Systems, 27(4).


This article discusses how the Internet can increase the anxieties of people who have no medical training, especially when checking symptoms and trying to self-diagnose. The authors did a study on how people search for medical information via the Internet. The findings in this study showed that the Internet search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns. The study presented in this article is a study discussed in more recent studies on Cyberchondria.

Research paper brainstorm

Knowledge Management – Research Paper Brainstorming

I have not clue as to what to write about! After reviewing the various topics discussed in class on Friday; I chose the topic: Is the Internet Good For Medical Research – consumer prospective.

First thing that comes to my mind regarding this topic is how much I utilize WebMD website when I or anyone in my family has an ache, pain, bump or scratch that cannot be explain or may look a little abnormal. I love that website! What did new moms do prior to this website?

  • My initial thoughts of research are that I could look into how the Internet has allowed medical information to be available and shared to anyone – not just read by researcher, doctors and medical students reading the information in medical journals.
  • May also research and discuss how the Internet is good for medical research in terms of how average person will research a diagnosis received and the information helps him/her ask doctor questions as well as plan path to recovery and wellness.
  • Internet also allows researchers and doctors to share information at a much faster pace. How was medical research information shared before the Internet?
  • The Internet empowers the patients – makes for more informed citizens.   If child has rare disease – parents can easily connect with other doctors and families as well as information with regards to fundraising.
  • What are noted or documented studies of how Internet has been beneficial for medical research?  No need to look at medical research for clinical– do not know subject nor terminology!
  • Possibly discuss the benefits of sick patients who have access to Internet versus patients who do not have access to Internet.
  • How does one know if a medical website is credible? Stick with research the aspect of how the average consumer uses the Internet for medical research.
  • What does the medical community – doctors think of consumers researching medical information?
  • Discuss the pros and cons of consumer researching medical information. Are medical websites regulated or monitored? If so, by whom?
  • Does having medical information available via the Internet make a consumer a hypochondriacs?

These are just some questions/thoughts that came to mind. There are several avenues I could take but looking forward to information I will find.

Reading Response#2

This week’s reading assignments both discussed how reading on paper is still the preferred method of reading in spite of the technology advancement and popularity of e-readers and tablets. Ferris Jabr states in “Why the Brain Prefers Paper”, that since the 1980s, researchers have been exploring the differences in how humans read on screen and on paper. Most of the research done prior to 1992 concluded that people read more slowly and retained less information when reading on screen. But technology has improved since then. Tablets and E-readers have retina display and higher resolutions which means more clarity but why do people still prefer paper? Jabr writes researchers have stated that reading from a tablet or e-reader can be more mentally and physically tiring than reading on paper. The e-ink reflect ambient light like the ink on a paper book but the e-reader screens shines light directly into your face and with prolong reading can cause headache and eyestrain.  Jabr also discusses a study done in 2005 of 113 people in California by Ziming Liu of San Jose State University. Liu concluded that people who read on screens spend more time “browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords” than those who read on paper.

Brandon Keim states in “Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be….. Paper,” that we should not look at paper as the old way and e-readers as its inescapable replacement. We should look at paper as a “technology uniquely suited for imbibing novel and essays and complex narratives, just as screens are for browsing and scanning.”

Both Keim and Jabr discuss an experiment done by psychologist Erick Wästlund at Sweden’s Karlstad University.   Wästlund looked at reading on screen and found that scrolling had impact on performance. “Scrolling took a lot of mental resources that could have been spent comprehending the text instead”, said Wästlund.

I prefer reading paper but also enjoy reading on my Ipad. What I am reading determines which method to use; if reading for news or information, I will use my Ipad. If deep reading, I prefer paper. Both writers talk about the physicality and simplicity that reading a book offers. The weight of the pages of the book read versus the weight of the pages unread informs the reader of their place in the text may give a reader a sense of accomplishment. Reading on paper allows for highlighting or underlining words or sentences, and taking notes in the margin, which are also important to deep reading. Much of what is stated in both articles, I agree with but the research and surveys on paper versus e-reader are not over. A study by Sara Margolin, a psychologist of Brockport University, concluded that there is no difference in reading comprehension when students read on paper versus e-readers. She said, “It’s really a matter of personal preference.”


Jabr, . “Why the Brain Prefers Paper.” Scientific American 309.5 (2013): 48-53. <>.

Keim, Brandon. “Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be…Paper.” Wired. May 1 2014.Web. <;.

Post Reaction/Reflection to Blog

“Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”

  • Computer, tablets, cell phones, the internet, and social media are important part of the lives of today’s students.
  • Teachers have to meet students where they are in their learning – some excel with technology while other students may not.

The “Digital Native,” a Profitable Myth

  • Is Jathan Sadowski mad Marc Prensky over the use of the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”?
  • Most profound statement in this article to me, was at the end of article. In which, Sadowski states that “our understanding of new technologies tend to come directly from the very people who stand to reap the profits from them.” 






Sadowski, Jathan. “The “Digital Native,” a Profitable Myth.” July 9 2014. <;.

Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives.” On the Horizon. October 2001. <,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf&gt;.

TED TALK – “Color Blind or Color Brave?”

As I look back over my journey of life; I have had people say to me, “Melissa, I don’t see color” with regards to my race -i’m African American.  That statement always made me feel some type of way, a feeling I could explain but this video puts my feelings into words that I could not express!!!!!  Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and (wife of Star Wars creator George Lucas), explains the difference in being “color blind or color brave”. 


Other TED TALKS that interest me:

  • What the gay rights movement learned from the civil rights movement?  
  • What I learned from Nelson Mandela
  • Be passionate.  Be courageous.  Be your best.