Doctorate in Business and Socioeconomic Sciences

Research Profile Arno Scharl

Arno Scharl
Full Professor, Department of New Media Technology

Description of Research Profile
After fifteen years of research, teaching and management experience, both within Austria and internationally (Australia, Singapore, United States), I am currently the head of the Department of New Media Technology ( Prior to my current appointment, I held a professorship at Graz University of Technology (Faculty of Informatics) and was a Key Researcher at the Austrian Competence Center for Knowledge Management. Between 2003 and 2005, I served as a Professor of Information Systems at the University of Western Australia (School of Economics and Commerce, Graduate School of Management), following visiting appointments with Curtin University of Technology (Curtin Business School) and the University of California at Berkeley (Haas School of Business). Between 1990 and 1997, I completed my master and doctoral degrees at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. After submitting and publishing my habilitation on Evolutionary Web Development, I was awarded the venia docendi in 2000 – the highest Austrian post-doctoral academic qualification required for achieving professorial status. Additionally, I hold a doctorate and Master of Science degree from the University of Vienna, Department of Sports Physiology.
Recognitions of my early research as a doctoral student and Assistant Professor include the Senator Wilhelm Wilfling Award 2000 (Vienna University of Economics & Bu¬siness), the Excellent Doctoral Thesis Award 1998 (University of Vienna), the Stephan Koren Award 1998 (Senior Faculty Association of the Vienna University of Economics & Business), and the Rudolf Sallinger Award 1997 (Austrian Economic League).

Knowledge Acquisition and Management
Over the last 15 years my interdisciplinary work focused on knowledge acquisition and management, business intelligence, automated media monitoring, the integration of semantic and geospatial Web technologies, new forms of communication and collaboration in virtual communities, information systems development methodologies, and the evolution of electronic markets. Relevance and quality of this work are reflected in more than 140 refereed publications in prestigious international outlets such as Data & Knowledge Engineering, Information Sciences, Journal of Marketing Communications, Electronic Commerce Research & Applications, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Information Technology & Management, and the International Journal of Electronic Markets. In addition to these refereed publications, I served as the editor of two books on The Geospatial Web and Environmental Online Communication in Springer’s Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing Series, as well as several conference and workshop proceedings.

Media Monitoring and Web Mining Framework
The outlined research has led to the development of a comprehensive media monitoring and Web mining framework, which has attracted more than two million Euros in external research funding and draws upon expertise in natural language processing and contextualization, ontology learning, information integration and visualization, and human-computer interaction. The framework combines a strong theoretical foundation with state-of-the-art software engineering and terabytes of Web data gathered and annotated since 1999. The resulting portfolio of semantic technologies sheds light on the perceptions of different stakeholder groups, reveals flows of relevant information, and provides indicators for assessing the effectiveness of marketing activities.
International collaborations and the acquired third-party funding helped refine and apply the above mentioned framework. It received its first international recognition outside the academic community through the European eContent Tourism Survey, which was presented at the European Forum Alpbach 2001. The follow-up application, the US Election 2004 Web Monitor, has then applied the framework to the analysis of political communication. My research group developed methods to annotate positive or negative sentiment automatically, a measurement that exposes the effectiveness of communicative strategies when addressing specific audiences. These annotation mechanisms also guided the development of the IDIOM1 project, which investigated topical trends in contextualized information spaces.

RAVEN2 Project
The RAVEN2 project extended this line of research by including corporate knowledge repositories and introducing a longitudinal analytical aspect. The capabilities of the developed methods have been demonstrated through two award-winning public showcases:
• US Election 2008 Web Monitor |
Austrian National Award for Multimedia and e-Business 2008
(Winner of the Online Communities, Web 2.0 and Social Networks Category)
• Media Watch on Climate Change |
Digital Earth 3D Visualization Challenge 2007 (Winner), Semantic Web Challenge 2007
(Finalist), Austrian National Award for Multimedia and e-Business 2009
(Jury Prize in the Energy, Climate and Environment Category)
These showcases not only reveal how often, in what media, and where geographically information is presented, but also provide a real-time account of topics that target audiences associate with an organization, its products or services. Multiple-coordinated views including domain ontology graphs, geographic maps and information landscapes help to track and understand context while navigating large repositories of Web data. Business applications of these technologies include Web intelligence, market research, campaign management, product development, and benchmarking the effectiveness of public outreach programs. The gathered information creates feedback loops and shows how well an organization's communication is received, understood, and remembered. Detecting patterns and trends in online media coverage assists in the allocation of limited resources, and in reaching target audiences more effectively. The decisions of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to utilize the platform reflect its unique capabilities and the high quality of the underlying methods.

In addition to the outlined research activities, I have extensive teaching experience on the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels (PhD programs as well as executive management education). Personal feedback and evaluations by the university administration and student organizations suggest that both the content and the presentation format of my lectures and seminars are well received. New media technology has played an important role in these units not only as one of the major topics covered, but also to provide e-learning support and interactive services – e.g., in the pre- and post-module phases of executive programs. As a founding member of MODUL University Vienna, I was also responsible for curriculum development and submitting the MBA Program in New Media Technology and Management to the Austrian Accreditation Council. Establishing a corporate advisory board with the CEOs of major Austrian IT companies such as A1 Telekom Austria, Cisco, Microsoft, and Fujitsu Technology Solutions has helped to continually evolve this curriculum in line with changing industry demands, and to increase the overall attractiveness of the study program. Industry contacts have been utilized regularly to engage students, to incorporate real-world case studies into assignments, and to invite guest lecturers to illustrate the workflows and business practices of large organizations.
International contacts and networks have proved equally beneficial for conceptualizing and conducting state-of-the-art research. Among the associate partners of our current projects are the United States Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Club of Rome (CoR), the University of Sheffield (USFD) and the London School of Economics (LSE). Given the active knowledge exchange with these organizations and their willingness to participate in joint events (in June 2010, for example, we invited several of them to a Symposium on Climate Change Communication and Collaboration;, these contacts are highly valuable for enriching and advancing the research of the Department of New Media Technology.

Selected Theses Supervised
1. Gerhard Wohlgenannt, Learning Ontology Relations by Combining Corpus-Based Techniques and Reasoning on Data from Semantic Web Sources, 2010

2. Horst Treibelmaier, Erstellung eines empiriegeleiteten Erklärungssystems für Entwicklungstendenzen des E Commerce, In progress

3. Franz Wirl, Entwicklung eines Annotationssystems für elektronische Lernmaterialien, In progress

4. Christiane Dominovich, ARCH Data Integration Framework: eine Usability-Fallstudie zweier Matching-Applikationen, In progress

5. Stefan Gindl, Context-Aware Sentiment Detection, In progress

6. Alexander Hubmann-Haidvogel, Interactive Visualization of Threaded Dialogs Using Multiple Coordinated Views, In progress