Information Systems

The dramatic growth of the past half-century has led to higher living standards in much of the world, but has also resulted in urban sprawl, choking pollution and global warming. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, information technology (IT) has been at the heart of the transformation — driving change, infusing almost every aspect of life. So it's hard to ignore IT's role in sustainability, which is commonly defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In fact, according to experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business, IT is both the hammer and the nail — the problem and the solution. In Part 1 of a two-part series about IT's role in sustainability, Knowledge@W. P. Carey looks at how IT is the problem. In Part 2 we'll explore the solutions IT offers.

Social media, including blogs, discussion boards and networking sites like Facebook have changed the laws of nature for communications and marketing. Kevin Dooley, a professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, has been observing the behavior of this new medium using a text analysis tool he developed at ASU with communications professor Steven Corman. Using examples from his website, Wonkosphere, which tracks activity on the political blogs, Dooley shows how bloggers have accelerated the flow of information, and because they are early adopters of things new, have become a valuable source of feedback for politicians and marketers alike.

The most popular indices currently in use today, such as those developed by the National Association of Realtors, measure the median home prices nationally and in a given region. But is median price the best way to measure the trend in home prices? W. P. Carey real estate professor Karl Guntermann and research associate Alex Horenstein have developed a new index for Arizona — this one based on repeat sales.

Passwords are "the dirty little secret" of the computer-security industry, says Arvind Krishna, a software security expert. The use — and misuse – of passwords illuminates a cyber-security conundrum: is it about the user, or the data? Industry experts like Krishna study the plethora of security screw-ups for clues. Krishna favors centralizing identity management — he mentions passports as a real-world example — but much work and deep thinking must be done before such a concept can become workable in the cyber-security world.

Keyword searches can be a waste of valuable time, affecting productivity in a company with an extensive database. New research from an information systems professor at W. P. Carey School of Business has come up with a better idea for document storage and retrieval: dynamic visual hierarchies that tap the human searcher's ability to recognize information, rather than recall it.