Current Topics Assignment
In this assignment, you and a partner will research a current topic
in the area of
databases, create a summary report, and give a brief
(20 minute) presentation in class on the topic. The goals of this
assignment are to: 1) give you experience quickly learning about and
presenting a new or emerging topic related to databases, and 2) learn
about new technologies, applications, and issues related to databases.
As an information scientist, you may often be called upon to do this type
of quick assessment, learning, and reporting of new topics.
You will work on this assignment with one other classmate.
Choosing a topic
You (and your partner)
may choose your own topic, but feel free to email the instructor or
class discussion list if you would like to get feedback about your topic
before starting. Some appropriate topics include: emerging database
technologies, application interfaces, database standards, database
privacy, database security, social and ethical issues, XML/XSLT/RDF,
digital libraries, data warehousing, interfaces to databases, personal
databases, OAI, and multimedia databases. There are many other
interesting topics - feel free to browse the web, and current database
literature for other ideas.
Research your topic
Be sure to use and reference a variety of reputable sources to research
your topic. Although your topic may vary, the following is a list of
items you should address in your research:
- Overview of the topic and issues.
- Why is this topic important?
- What are the main issues?
- Who (people, companies, organizations) are involved and how?
- Where is the topic going (i.e. what is on the horizon)?
Create a report
To help summarize your research, prepare a report in the form of an
brief (5-8 page) document. You may include figures
as needed, but be sure that 1) you are allowed to use the figures, and
2) that you cite your sources using a common style (e.g. MLA, APA).
Present your topic to the class
You (and your partner)
will give a brief presentation of your research in class
on one of the following dates: Oct 9, Oct 16, Oct 23, Oct 30,
Nov 6, Nov 13, Nov 20, Nov 27.
Your presentation should last no more than 20 minutes. The time limit
will be strictly enforced and part of your grade will depend on your
presentation style and completing your presentation in the time allotted.
Keep in mind that in 20 minutes, you will have to be selective about what
material to present (Don't try to cram it all in!).
People can refer to your report for
more detailed information. You may use Powerpoint slides as part of
your presentation. If so, please send a copy of the slides to the
instructor at least two hours prior to class on the day you are
scheduled to present.