School of Information Researchers Recognized with Literati Awards for Outstanding Research Papers


Emerald Publishing’s 26th Annual Literati Awards recognized articles authored by two San José State University professors and one alumna: Michelle Chen, associate professor at the School of Information; Patricia Franks, professor at the School of Information; and Emily Coyne, graduate of the School of Information’s Master of Library and Information Science program.

Emerald Publishing, a firm that has a portfolio of 300 journals, 2,500+ book titles and more than 1,500 case studies on the impact of research, hosts the annual Literati Awards to recognize articles in three categories: Outstanding and Highly Commended Papers, Outstanding Reviewers, and Outstanding Author Contributions. Judged by Emerald’s journal and book series editorial boards, the awards are granted based on the authors’ ability to demonstrate excellence and impact in their field.

Social Media and Trust in Government

Chen and Franks’ paper, “Voices in the Cloud: Social Media and Trust in Canadian and U.S. Local Governments,” was among three papers selected for the Literati Highly Commended award. The paper, co-authored with Lois Evans of the University of British Columbia and published in Records Management Journal, represents a culmination of research conducted on the use of social media in state and local government entities in Canada and the U.S. between 2013 and 2018.

The paper examined two questions: Can local government use social media to increase citizen trust? And, if local government can use social media, what can be learned about the administration of social media that results in an increase in citizen trust of government?

“We were all thrilled when we learned that we’d won the award — after all of the work we put in on the project, it was surely wonderful to see this result!” said Chen.

“The study found that most cities maintained tight control over content, account creation and employee and audience participation to ensure compliance with federal and provincial or state legislation and to mitigate technology and content-based risks,” Chen elaborated.

“Contrary to previous research, this study indicates that fiduciary trust relationships do require trust by the agent (i.e. institution) and the principal (i.e. citizen). The paper also provides a solid comparison among U.S. and Canadian cities in terms of using social media to broadcast information, respond to service requests and provide issue management,” added Chen. The paper “covered one sub-topic that emerged from all our research collaborations/discussions.”

Each of the paper’s co-authors participated in the InterPARES Trust research grant project, aimed at developing knowledge essential to the long-term preservation of authentic digital records, and Franks was appointed lead researcher on the topic of social media and trust in government. 

Franks, who is currently exploring the impact of another emerging technology–Blockchain Distributed Ledger Technologies–on archives, records management, and information governance programs, said of her co-authors: “It was a pleasure to work with them on this research project and an honor to share with them recognition for our work. The award validated our decision in 2013 to invest time and resources into this research topic.”

Franks said the study, which examined 20 local governments in Canada and the US, “represents a point in time, as social media use at the local governments continued to expand and evolve during and after the data collection period. Programs have become much more centralized and mature over the years. The use of social media is constantly changing due to new and evolving platforms, but the importance of the use of social media by government entities remains.” 

“Metrics still matter, but governments have moved beyond focusing on metrics including breadth of the community (size and the growth of the community) to analyzing the depth (time spent on site), direct engagement (response times and volume and frequency of engagements with the public), customer experience (gleaned from sentiment analysis based on what is being said about the agency’s programs, etc.), and most importantly strategic outcomes (how social media strategies impact strategic priorities,” noted Franks.

Big Data in Accounting

Coyne received the Literati Outstanding Paper award for her work, “Big Data Information Governance by Accountants,” which was published in International Journal of Accounting and Information Management. Coyne, whose future goals include obtaining a Ph.D. in Business Information Technology, said she started out wanting to be a librarian, but “fell in love with information management while studying at SJSU.”

Working with colleagues from the University of Memphis, Tennessee, to address a lack of understanding about big data in the accounting field, Coyne’s research looked at ways to address how accountants can turn big data into useful information, as well as how they can assist with information governance.

“My husband is an assistant professor in the School of Accountancy at the University of Memphis and specializes in accounting information systems,” she said. “He and I joined forces to create a model called Accounting Architecture to teach the various aspects of information systems specifically to accountants, including a model representing the creation, use, and maintenance of information in any system. We realized this model, like so many others, was insufficient to address the challenges and intrinsic value of information derived from big data.” 

“Accountants are concerned with all things involving money in business, and information is a valuable asset,” Coyne emphasized. “Our goal continues to be teaching accounting students to understand and value information and the technology we use to govern it. We want to encourage accountants, as custodians of the language of business, to be actively involved in the governance of big data and all other information assets within their organizations.”

Sally Wilson, head of publishing at Emerald, acknowledged the exceptional work of the award winners: “We understand the hard work and commitment that goes into writing and reviewing high quality research papers. At Emerald, we pride ourselves on supporting our author and reviewer community along their research journey.”

Congratulations to year’s winners, who according to Wilson were “selected based on their research excellence, rigor and relevance.”