Computer science and engineering research is May cover story in Communications of the ACM

Shipman-MarshallResearch led by Dr. Frank Shipman and Dr. Catherine Marshall in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University was highlighted on the May cover of Communications of the ACM, which is the flagship publication of the Association for Computing Machinery.

As more and more content is created and shared within social media applications and services, ownership is becoming increasingly difficult to determine. Twitter conversations, Amazon reviews and Facebook commentary are examples of how the creative activities of many join together in ways that challenge traditional concepts of content authorship and ownership.

Shipman, professor, and Marshall, adjunct professor, are both founding members of the Texas A&M Center for the Study of Digital Libraries, and have been exploring what social media users believe is appropriate and what should be prohibited. Surveys based on concrete realistic scenarios were used to examine the social norms surrounding saving, reusing and removing content. With an understanding that real behavior often differs from aspiration, additional questions probed users’ recent social media activities.

Results showed that people have differing views about content ownership that take into account the original purpose of the content, their personal connection to that content, the particular context and goals of later uses or manipulations of that content, and the media and technology involved. While reported behaviors did not always match beliefs, explanations of behavior include similar discussions of rights, risks and goals.

To learn more about how social media users view issues of content ownership, see the cover story and associated video.