I am passionate about finding ways to help people better understand and think about information in various forms, but specifically, on the Internet. Currently, I am working on projects all aimed at taking webometrics and NLP data (about a public health issue) and making it more accessible and perceptible for stakeholders. My past experiences, including my work at DPCI in New York City, my Master of Science in the School of Media Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and my work at RIT Press (Carey Graphic Arts Press) have given me a unique background and perspective to approach my current PhD research as well as provided me with important technical skills for the application of the concepts.
My passion also lends itself to education and teaching. I have completed 3 years as a Teaching Assistant (TA) at the University of Western Ontario, which included the responsibility of weekly 2 hour hands-on tutorials for first year undergraduate students. I also had previous teaching experience at RIT, working as a TA for an upper-level undergraduate course on web development. At DPCI, teaching was also a key responsibility of my job as I would often hosting 8-hour Adobe training sessions training sessions for clients. There is nothing more rewarding than helping a person better understand something that they are interested in.
Ninkov, A and Sedig, K. (2020) "The Online Vaccine Debate: Study of A Visual Analytics System." Informatics. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.
Online debates, specifically the ones about public health issues (e.g., vaccines, medications, and nutrition), occur frequently and intensely, and are having an impact on our world. Many public health topics are debated online, one of which is the efficacy and morality of vaccines. When people examine such online debates, they encounter numerous and conflicting sources of information. This information forms the basis upon which people take a position on such debates. This has profound implications for public health. It necessitates a need for public health stakeholders to be able to examine online debates quickly and effectively. They should be able to easily perform sense-making tasks on the vast amount of online information, such as sentiments, online presence, focus, or geographic locations. In this paper, we report the results of a user study of a visual analytic system (VAS), and whether and how this VAS can help with such sense-making tasks. Specifically, we report a usability evaluation of VINCENT (VIsual aNalytiCs systEm for investigating the online vacciNe debaTe), a VAS previously described . To help the reader, we briefly discuss VINCENT's design in this paper as well. VINCENT integrates webometrics, natural language processing, data visualization, and human-data interaction. In the reported study, we gave users tasks requiring them to make sense of the online vaccine debate. Thirty four participants were asked to perform these tasks by investigating data from 37 vaccine-focused websites. Half the participants were given access to the system, while the other half were not. Selected study participants from both groups were subsequently asked to be interviewed by the study administrator. Examples of questions and issues discussed with interviewees were: how they went about completing specific tasks, what they meant by some of the feedback they provided, and how they would have performed on the tasks if they had been placed in the other group. Overall, we found that VINCENT was a highly valuable resource for users, helping them make sense of the online vaccine debate much more effectively and faster than those without the system (e.g., users were able to compare websites similarities, identify emotional tone of websites, and locate websites with a specific focus). In this paper, we also identify a few issue that should be taken into consideration when developing VASes for online public health debates.
Ninkov, A., & Sedig, K. (2019). VINCENT: A visual analytics system for investigating the online vaccine debate. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics.
This paper reports and describes VINCENT, a visual analytics system that is designed to help public health stakeholders (i.e., users) make sense of data from websites involved in the online debate about vaccines. VINCENT allows users to explore visualizations of data from a group of 37 vaccine-focused websites. These websites differ in their position on vaccines, topics of focus about vaccines, geographic location, and sentiment towards the efficacy and morality of vaccines, specific and general ones. By integrating webometrics, natural language processing of website text, data visualization, and human-data interaction, VINCENT helps users explore complex data that would be difficult to understand, and, if at all possible, to analyze without the aid of computational tools.
The objectives of this paper are to explore A) the feasibility of developing a visual analytics system that integrates webometrics, natural language processing of website text, data visualization, and human-data interaction in a seamless manner; B) how a visual analytics system can help with the investigation of the online vaccine debate; and C) what needs to be taken into consideration when developing such a system. This paper demonstrates that visual analytics systems can integrate different computational techniques; that such systems can help with the exploration of online public health debates that are distributed across a set of websites; and that care should go into the design of the different components of such systems.
Ninkov, A., & Vaughan, L. (2017). A webometric
analysis of the online vaccination debate. Journal of the
Association for Information Science and Technology.
Webometrics research methods can be effectively used to measure and analyze information on the web. One topic discussed vehemently online that could benefit from this type of analysis is vaccines. We carried out a study analyzing the web presence of both sides of this debate. We collected a variety of webometric data and analyzed the data both quantitatively and qualitatively. The study found far more anti- than pro-vaccine web domains. The anti and pro sides had similar web visibility as measured by the number of links coming from general websites and Tweets. However, the links to the pro domains were of higher quality measured by PageRank scores. The result from the qualitative content analysis confirmed this finding. The analysis of site ages revealed that the battle between the two sides had a long history and is still ongoing. The web scene was polarized with either pro or anti views and little neutral ground. The study suggests ways that professional information can be promoted more effectively on the web. The study demonstrates that webometrics analysis is effective in studying online information dissemination. This kind of analysis can be used to study not only health information but other information as well.
Vaughan, L. & Ninkov, A. (Early View). A New Approach to Web Co-Link AnalysisJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.24000/full
Numerous web co-link studies have analyzed a wide variety of websites ranging from those in the academic and business arena to those dealing with politics and governments. Such studies uncover rich information about these organizations. In recent years, however, there has been a dearth of co-link analysis, mainly due to the lack of sources from which co-link data can be collected directly. Although several commercial services such as Alexa provide inlink data, none provide co-link data. We propose a new approach to web co-link analysis that can alleviate this problem so that researchers can continue to mine the valuable information contained in co-link data. The proposed approach has two components: (a) generating co-link data from inlink data using a computer program; (b) analyzing co-link data at the site level in addition to the page level that previous co-
Ninkov, A. (2014). A Multivariate Analysis of the Human Factors and Preferences Towards Digital Publishing Platforms for the iPad. Rochester Institute of Technology.
Tablet computers have been widely adopted in America today, with 34% of American adults ages 18+ owning this type of digital device (PEW, 2013). With the emergence of new portable computer technology, reading on digital devices has become more popular than ever before. In particular, tablet computers have enabled users to read enhanced e-book material that, while still text-driven, incorporates all facets of multimedia and technology. With many different digital publishing solutions available for publishers to deploy their content, the goal of this research study was to determine whether there are significant differences in user preferences and comprehension for a publication re-created with three different digital publishing solutions (i.e., Adobe DPS, iBooks Author, and EPUB).
The methodology of this research study was a human factors experiment testing for a significant difference in the reading experience of subjects exposed to one of three digital publications. A field experiment consisting of ninety subjects assessed these publications, thirty for each of the three output formats.
No significant difference among the publications was found for readers' pleasure with the overall experience or for their interaction with the multimedia elements. A marginally significant difference among the publications was found for the value added by the multimedia elements of the publication. A significant difference among the publications was found for the readers' ability to recognize information and comprehend material from the publication.
Ultimately, these results showed a trend that readers' of the digital publishing platforms that allowed for greater interactivity experienced more value added by the multimedia elements of the publication and increased ability to recognize information from the publication. However, the pleasure with the overall experience of the publication and the readers' interaction with the multimedia elements in the publication was determined to not have a significant difference between the publications.
Therefore, while readers did not tend to interact differently with the multimedia content or experience any greater pleasure based on the publication they read, readers of more interactive publications did tend to see more value added by the multimedia elements and were better able to recognize the information they had experienced.
of Western Ontario (2014 - present)
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
PhD Library and Information Science
Supervisor: Dr. Kamran Sedig
Topic: Integrating Webometrics, Sentiment Analysis, Data Visualization, and
Human-Data Interaction in a Visual Analytic System
Rochester Institute of Technology (2011-2013)
School of Media Sciences
Master of Science: Print Media
Supervisor: Chris Bondy
Thesis Project: A Multivariate Analysis of the Human Factors and Preferences Towards Digital Publishing Platforms for the iPad
University of Ottawa (2007-2011)
Bachelor of Arts: Joint Honours BA Communication and Sociology
L’Université Catholique de Lille (2010)
Study Abroad, classes included International Communication and French Immersion
Algonquin College (2011)
Series of Web-Design Courses
Brighton High School (2003-2007)
Rochester, New York
Faculty of Information & Media Studies - University of Western Ontario (2014 - Present)
25-30 first and second year undergraduate students in the Faculty of
Information and Media Studies.
lectures of one – two hours on course curriculum including: media studies,
essay writing, and communication history.
- Graded and evaluated students in numerous ways including exams, papers, presentations, and participation.
Course Development – MIT 1025 First Year Foundations
- Worked with
Paul Benedetti on developing MIT1025.
- Created a TA Handbook to provide a resource for TAs to ensure consistency between semesters/tutorials and help TAs with preparing for their weekly 2 hour tutorials.
- Still working with
Paul Benedetti on a webometrics based public health project investigating the presence of alternative health information online.
- Worked with Dr. Jacquelyn Burkell on writing a literature review about online reputation, looking specifically at the factors that contribute to it, how it is determined, how it is related to offline reputation, and whether it transfers across platforms.
Database Publishing Consultants Incorporated - New York, New York (2013-2014)
implemented, researched, and supported cross-media publishing workflows and
digital asset management systems.
directly with clients to assess their needs and devise workflow solutions.
- Provided Digital
Asset Management analysis, design, and implementation.
- Conducted Content
Management Systems analysis, design, and implementation.
designed and analyzed graphic user interfaces.
- Developing and designed mobile applications.
- Working with Adobe
Digital Publishing Suite.
RIT Press - Rochester Institute of Technology
Graduate Publishing Assistant
for converting a variety of printed publications to E-Book format.
- Managed the
uploading of content to the subscription only online publication The Haydn Journal.
information on various digital publishing software, apps, and workflows to meet
Cary Press’ needs.
marketing research on a variety of potential publications (some of which are
currently being produced).
- Helped with
editing content for multiple publications.
School of Media Sciences - Rochester Institute of Technology
- Helped with
cataloging the inventory of all the online content in the School of Media
- Worked to develop the lab section of the upper-level undergraduate class Information
Architecture, where students learn the fundamentals about the uses of markup
languages, mostly XML.
- Assisted in the preparations for the CMIC Summit, a captivating panel discussion with
cross-media communication industry experts looking into the future of the
graphic communications industry.