Current Topics Assignment
In this assignment, you will research a current topic
in the area of
databases, create a summary report, and give a
(~25 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 assessment, learning, and reporting of new topics.
This is an individual assignment,
meaning that you will work on it on your own.
Choosing a topic
You may choose your own topic, but you are encouraged to email or talk
to the instructor 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,
digital libraries, 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
summary document (1,500 - 2,000 words). This is not a long paper, so you
will need to carefully summarize the important points.
Your report should use 1.5 spacing and
10 point Times Roman font. 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).
Your report is due at 5:00pm on the Tuesday one week before your
scheduled presenation date. You should submit your report as a single PDF
document to the Blackboard digital dropbox for the course.
Present your topic to the class
You will give a presentation of your findings in class
on one of the following dates:
Oct 13, Oct 27, Nov 3, Nov 10, Nov 17, Nov 24 (two slots), Dec 1 (two slots)
Your presentation should last about 25 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 25 minutes, you will have to be selective about what
material to present (Don't try to cram it all in!).
After your presentation is over, be prepared to answer questions from
the class and the instructor.
It is highly recommended that you create some type of overhead slides
for your presentation. You may also want to refer to web sites and/or
give a demonstration.
If you do prepare overheads, make sure that you are prepared on the
day of your presentation (i.e. you have them on a USB drive or server
that you can access from the classroom computer).
By 5:00pm on the day AFTER your presentation, submit any slides you use
in your presentation as a PDF document to the Blackboard digial dropbox
for the course.