What is TIC and what can it do for me
TIC basically provides different buckets (or think desktops) for projects related fragmented information, lets you understand your projects by finding overlaps through information and provides an overview of collections changes over time. You don't need to learn new organization techniques and it lets you externalize and preserve some additional project knowledge you already have, but is otherwise hard to externalise with information.
What are we studying
We are studying how people work on their projects or tasks through their information (files, emails, web pages, notes, etc.). We are interested in how project related information collections form, are used over time and how they change and what is the tacit knowledge that gets lost in hierarchies or piles.
Information is fragmented over many applications and it is difficult to understand one's projects collections. By having the knowledge of how people form these collections, we might provide better tools or suggest (and maybe add) integrations possibilities to present applications. To be able to this, we need your help to harvest data about your project related collections.
How can I help this study
You can help just by using this Firefox extension. All the instrumentation to collect the data we need in this research, is already a part of TIC extension and all data you enter in it are automatically backed up and stored securely on our server. This is the data we will harvest in our research. In case you need to restore your collections we can also help you retrieve it from our servers.
What data are collected
The extension only stores paths (links) to files and folders being dragged over, their sizes and last modification times, statistics about directory structures, web links and notes that you enter. We have no means to access your files and folders and we leave your files, emails and folders intact. We do not collect the content of your files, folders, emails or password protected web pages (such as intranets, web email clients). We can, however, see the content of publicly available web pages and the text you enter in the extension.
What happens to my data
We leave your information (files, emails, web pages) intact and the content is never read, touched or changed. When files, folders and web pages are dragged over, only links to them are stored (together with the size, modified time and folder statistics). All additionally entered data is stored on your computer (in your browser's profile folder). If you participate in the research, your data is also backed up on our servers which is used for the research purposes.
No information will ever be shared with agents or entities outside the research group or used for any purpose other than tool research and development. We do not know any information other than one you enter in the tool. The data you enter will be transmitted to, and kept on a professionally managed server by our research team at Lancaster University. While data integrity and security will be maintained on a best effort basis, we take no responsibility for data that is accidentally lost or stolen.
How are my data and privacy protected
Your privacy and protection of your data is our top priority. If you participate in the research, your id by default looks something like this: 6d8450ee26bb97157d8ab4fa07fbcf15. So by default we do not know who you are. Information that you enter in the extension and gets transferred to our servers could potentially reveal your identity. Please do not enter sensitive information such as credit card numbers or information of national security. Nevertheless, all your information will be kept strictly private and confidential and NOT shared with anyone but our research team. If the researchers wish to disclose your data to anyone outside the study, they will contact you (providing you enter also your email in the extension) for explicit permission before hand.
Is my data secure
We use strong encryption to encrypt all communications between your browser and our server (SSL 256-bit AES). We also rely on Firefox's certificate verification mechanism to have the client verify that our server is really who it claims to be. Our server is professionally managed and hosted at University of Primorska - Faculty of mathematics, naturals sciences and information technologies (https://pim.famnit.upr.si) -- and is completely under our control.
We have made reasonable practical efforts to protect your backed up data on our servers. However, this does not mean that we can make any guarantees that the bad guys won't outwit us. Keeping web sites and services secure is a difficult art! When you download the extension, our terms and conditions say that we cannot be held liable for data loss or theft.
Can I withdraw from the study
Should you choose to withdraw from the study, you can do it by going to the extension preferences and deselecting the "Participate in research". This turns off all backing up of your data to our servers. You can continue to use TIC freely. However, this does not delete your data that has already been transferred to our server. If you want us to delete your data from the server (also destroying backups), contact us at the below e-mail addresses directly.
If you do not participate in the research, all your information is kept only on your own computer and we do not have any means to access it. We recommend you have some alternative backup strategy to back up your Firefox profile.
If you later decide to participate again, you can select "Participate in research" in the extension preferences.
Terms and conditions - MIT licence
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
The software is provided "AS IS", without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non infringement. In no event shall the authors or copyright holders be liable for any claim, damages or other liability, whether in an action of contract, tort or otherwise, arising from, out of or in connection with the software or the use or other dealings in the software.
Can I contribute to the project
Everyone is welcome to contribute and join the project:
You can contribute by using the extension and give us feedback, ideas and find bugs. The
discussion forum is available at Google groups and you can always send us an email. If you want to add something to the code you are welcome to do so. The code is freely available on the
Google code. You can basically do whatever you please with it. We would be happy to incorporate your contributions in the main branch. Other questions, comments, requests & bugs
We have prepared a list of answers to
some FAQ and the extension behaviour.
You are still welcome to e-mail us with any questions, concerns or comments that you may have.
TIC lead developer:
Matjaž Kljun - firstname.lastname@example.org