Publications



WODC publications (in Dutch)

see here

PhD thesis

  • S. W. van den Braak, "Sensemaking Software for Crime Analysis," PhD Thesis , Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2010. bibtex Go to document
    @PHDTHESIS{Thesis, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den},
      TITLE = {Sensemaking Software for Crime Analysis},
      institution = {Utrecht University},
      YEAR = {2010},
      address = {Utrecht, The Netherlands},
      url = {http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2010-0226-200328/UUindex.html},
      abstract = {Criminal investigation is a difficult and laborious process that is prone to error as teams of investigators may be subject to tunnel vision, groupthink, and confirmation bias. As a result, miscarriages of justice may ensue. To overcome these problems, in the Dutch law enforcement organization, crime analysts have been given a more important role. It is now their task to critically evaluate the investigation that is going on. They have to make sense of the vast amount of evidence available in a case by generating plausible scenarios about what might have happened. Subsequently, they have to assess the quality of their scenarios and choose the best alternative. Due to the difficulty of this process, a great need exists for software that supports crime analysts in their task. However, current support tools for crime analysis do not allow analysts to record scenarios and their relation to the evidence and as a result the most important part of the analysis process remains in the analysts' minds. Therefore, they may benefit from so-called sensemaking systems that allow them to make their reasoning process explicit by visualizing scenarios and the reasons why these scenarios are supported by the evidence. Nevertheless, such sensemaking tools for crime analysis are relatively sparse and often do not incorporate a logical model of reasoning with evidence in the context of crime analysis. This thesis aims to fill this gap by proposing sensemaking software that has specifically been designed for crime analysis. Such a tool should be rationally well-founded, natural, useful, usable, and effective. To this aid, a proof-of-concept application called AVERs (Argument Visualization for Evidential Reasoning based on stories) was built that implements a rationally well-founded and natural model of the reasoning that takes place in crime analysis. In this way a standard of rational reasoning is encouraged and errors may be reduced. Using AVERs analysts are able to create visual representations of scenarios and evidential arguments. Scenarios are represented as causal networks of events, while evidential arguments are arguments based on the evidential data in the case. Such arguments are based on argumentation schemes that often come with critical questions. These questions make the analysts more aware of possible sources of doubt and encourage them to critically examine the evidence. Evidential arguments can be used to support or attack scenarios with the available evidence. In this way, this software allows the analysts to reason about scenarios and to critically evaluate them. Moreover, it provides features that can be used to compare alternative scenarios. A series of empirical studies has confirmed that the design and implementation of AVERs fulfills all five criteria to a certain degree. This means that it is useful to crime analysts and satisfies their desires, while it may improve their analysis of the case and the communication of their results to the investigators working on the case, and ensures that rational analyses are performed. Therefore, through this software in the future biases in the crime analysis process may be avoided.}
    }

Book chapters

  • S. van den Braak, S. Choenni, and S. Verwer, "Combining and Analyzing Judicial Databases," , Custers, B., Calders, T., Schermer, B., and Zarsky, T., Eds., Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2013, vol. 3, pp. 191-206. bibtex Go to document
    @incollection {MVI, author = {van den Braak, S. and Choenni, S. and Verwer, S.},
      title = {Combining and Analyzing Judicial Databases},
      booktitle = {Discrimination and Privacy in the Information Society},
      series = {Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics},
      editor = {Custers, Bart and Calders, Toon and Schermer, Bart and Zarsky, Tal},
      publisher = {Springer Berlin Heidelberg},
      isbn = {978-3-642-30487-3},
      keyword = {Engineering},
      pages = {191-206},
      volume = {3},
      url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-30487-3_10},
      note = {10.1007/978-3-642-30487-3_10},
      abstract = {To monitor crime and law enforcement, databases of several organizations, covering different parts of the criminal justice system, have to be integrated. Combined data from different organizations may then be analyzed, for instance, to investigate how specific groups of suspects move through the system. Such insight is useful for several reasons, for example, to define an effective and coherent safety policy. To integrate or relate judicial data two approaches are currently employed: a data warehouse and a dataspace approach. The former is useful for applications that require combined data on an individual level. The latter is suitable for data with a higher level of aggregation. However, developing applications that exploit combined judicial data is not without risk. One important issue while handling such data is the protection of the privacy of individuals. Therefore, several precautions have to be taken in the data integration process: use aggregate data, follow the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act, and filter out privacy-sensitive results. Another issue is that judicial data is essentially different from data in exact or technical sciences. Therefore, data mining should be used with caution, in particular to avoid incorrect conclusions and to prevent discrimination and stigmatization of certain groups of individuals.},
      year = {2013}
    }

Journal articles

  • F. Bex, S. van den Braak, H. van Oostendorp, H. Prakken, B. Verheij, and G. Vreeswijk, "Sense-making software for crime investigation: how to combine stories and arguments?," Law, Probability and Risk, vol. 6, iss. 1-4, pp. 145-168, 2007. bibtex Go to document
    @article{LPR, author = {Bex, F. and van den Braak, S. and van Oostendorp, H. and Prakken, H. and Verheij, B. and Vreeswijk, G.},
      title = {Sense-making software for crime investigation: how to combine stories and arguments?},
      volume = {6},
      number = {1-4},
      pages = {145-168},
      year = {2007},
      doi = {10.1093/lpr/mgm007},
      abstract ={Sense-making software for crime investigation should be based on a model of reasoning about evidence that is both natural and rationally well-founded. A formal model is proposed that combines artificial intelligence formalisms for abductive inference to the best explanation and for defeasible argumentation. Stories about what might have happened in a case are represented as causal networks and possible hypotheses can be inferred by abductive reasoning. Links between stories and the available evidence are expressed with evidential generalizations that express how observations can be inferred from evidential sources with defeasible argumentation. It is argued that this approach unifies two well-known accounts of reasoning about evidence, namely, anchored narratives theory and new evidence theory. After the reasoning model is defined, a design is presented for sense-making software that allows crime investigators to visualize their thinking about a case in terms of the reasoning model.},
      URL = {http://lpr.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/1-4/145.abstract},
      journal = {Law, Probability and Risk}
    }

Refereed papers in conferences and workshops

  • S. W. van den Braak, S. Choenni, R. Meijer, and A. Zuiderwijk, "Trusted third parties for secure and privacy-preserving data integration and sharing in the public sector," in Proceedings of the 13th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research, New York, NY, USA, 2012, pp. 135-144. bibtex Go to document
    @inproceedings{DGO12, author = {van den Braak, S.W. and Choenni, S. and Meijer, R. and Zuiderwijk, A.},
      title = {Trusted third parties for secure and privacy-preserving data integration and sharing in the public sector},
      booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research},
      series = {dg.o '12},
      year = {2012},
      isbn = {978-1-4503-1403-9},
      location = {College Park, Maryland},
      pages = {135--144},
      numpages = {10},
      url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2307729.2307752},
      doi = {10.1145/2307729.2307752},
      acmid = {2307752},
      publisher = {ACM},
      address = {New York, NY, USA},
      keywords = {data integration, data sharing, public sector, trusted third parties},
      abstract = {For public organizations data integration and sharing are important in delivering better services. However, when sensitive data are integrated and shared, privacy protection and information security become key issues. This means that information systems must be secured and that access to sensitive data must be controlled. In this paper, a framework is presented to support data sharing between public organizations for collaboration purposes. The framework focuses on solutions towards optimal data sharing and integration while ensuring the security and privacy of individuals. Data sharing is based on the need-to-know principle, that is, data are only made available when they are required to perform core processes. To facilitate this, an approach is introduced in the form of a trusted third party that manages access control to personal information and thus helps to protect the privacy of individuals. It is argued that the proposed framework is suitable for data integration and sharing on various levels. An example of best practices of data sharing in the Netherlands shows how this framework facilitates data sharing to perform knowledge transfer and other higher-level tasks.}
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak, A. Sonnenschein, S. Choenni, and P. R. Smit, "A method for explaining and predicting trends: an application to the Dutch justice system," in Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, New York, NY, USA, 2011, pp. 66-70. bibtex Go to document
    @inproceedings{ICAIL11, author = {van den Braak, S.W. and Sonnenschein, A. and Choenni, S. and Smit, P.R.},
      title = {A method for explaining and predicting trends: an application to the Dutch justice system},
      booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law},
      series = {ICAIL '11},
      year = {2011},
      isbn = {978-1-4503-0755-0},
      location = {Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania},
      pages = {66--70},
      url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2018358.2018367},
      doi = {10.1145/2018358.2018367},
      acmid = {2018367},
      publisher = {ACM},
      address = {New York, NY, USA},
      keywords = {Dutch justice system, argumentation, causal reasoning, explanation, prediction, trends},
      abstract = {A method, named Trendwatch, has been developed for explaining and predicting trends in which a structural break has occurred. Using this method it is possible to explain such a break in terms of causal networks of factors. The thus created explanation is validated using evidential arguments based on expert opinions. Moreover, this explanation is used to predict the future course of the trend after the break. To do so, experts are asked to predict the development of the factors at the beginning of the explanation.}
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak, H. van Oostendorp, H. Prakken, and G. A. W. Vreeswijk, "Representing narrative and testimonial knowledge in sense-making software for crime analysis," in Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. JURIX 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2008, pp. 160-169. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{JURIX08, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Oostendorp, H. van and Prakken, H. and Vreeswijk, G.A.W.},
      TITLE = {Representing narrative and testimonial knowledge in sense-making software for crime analysis},
      BOOKTITLE = {Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. {JURIX 2008}: The Twenty-First Annual Conference},
      YEAR = {2008},
      editor = {Enrico Francesconi and Giovanni Sartor and Daniela Tiscornia},
      pages = {160--169},
      address = {Amsterdam, The Netherlands},
      publisher = {IOS Press},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/JURIX08_BraakEtAl.pdf},
      abstract = {In the AVERs sense-making tool for crime analysis different types of information are represented in different ways. More precisely, narrative knowledge is represented in an explanatory direction and testimonial knowledge in an indicative direction. This paper shows that this distinction agrees with the preference of potential users and reduces the number of interpretation errors made by them.}
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak, H. van Oostendorp, G. A. W. Vreeswijk, and H. Prakken, "Utilizing compression and refinement to handle large cases in crime analysis," in Workshop Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument, Patras, Greece, 2008, pp. 60-67. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{CMNA08, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Oostendorp, H. van and Vreeswijk, G.A.W. and Prakken, H.},
      TITLE = {Utilizing compression and refinement to handle large cases in crime analysis},
      BOOKTITLE = {Workshop Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument},
      editor = {Floriana Grasso and Nancy Green and Rodger Kibble and Chris Reed},
      YEAR = {2008},
      pages = {60--67},
      address = {Patras, Greece},
      isbn = {978-960-6843-12-9},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/CMNA08_BraakEtAl.pdf},
      abstract = {When large arguments are produced graph visualizations are often hard to read. Argument visualization software should therefore offer features that allow users to display their graphs in a readable way. More specialized software for crime analysts should also offer the ability to elaborate on graphs and to hide redundant nodes. While doing so, it should be easy to unfold all hidden information about a certain node if desired. Therefore, refinement and compression methods are implemented in the AVERs software for crime analysts. This paper presents the results of a study that tested the effect of compression and refinement on the quality of the users' analysis of a simple crime case and their understanding of this case. In this study professional crime analysts and students who used these methods outperformed users that were only allowed to use conventional methods to handle large graphs. }
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak, H. Oostendorp, G. A. W. Vreeswijk, and H. Prakken, "The role of compression and refinement in visualization tools for crime analysts," in International Perspectives in the Learning Sciences: Cre8ing a Learning World. Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference for the Learning Sciences – ICLS 2008, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2008, pp. 144-145. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{ICLS08, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Oostendorp, H. and Vreeswijk, G.A.W. and Prakken, H.},
      TITLE = {The role of compression and refinement in visualization tools for crime analysts},
      BOOKTITLE = {International Perspectives in the Learning Sciences: Cre8ing a Learning World. Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference for the Learning Sciences - {ICLS} 2008},
      editor = {Gelof Kanselaar and V. Jonker and Paul A. Kirschner and F. J. Prins},
      volume = {3},
      YEAR = {2008},
      publisher = {International Society of the Learning Sciences},
      address = {Utrecht, The Netherlands},
      pages = {144--145},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/ICLS08_BraakEtAl.pdf},
      abstract = {This paper presents the results of a study that tested the effect of compression and refinement, as implemented in the AVERs graph visualization software for crime analysts, on the quality of the usersÕ analysis of a simple crime case and their understanding of this case. In this study professional crime analysts and students who used these methods outperformed users that were only allowed to use conventional methods to handle large graphs.}
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak, G. A. W. Vreeswijk, and H. Prakken, "AVERs: an argument visualization tool for representing stories about evidence," in Proceedings of the 11th international conference on Artificial intelligence and law, New York, NY, USA, 2007, pp. 11-15. bibtex Go to document
    @inproceedings{ICAIL07, author = {van den Braak, S.W. and Vreeswijk, G.A.W. and Prakken, H.},
      title = {AVERs: an argument visualization tool for representing stories about evidence},
      booktitle = {Proceedings of the 11th international conference on Artificial intelligence and law},
      series = {ICAIL '07},
      year = {2007},
      isbn = {978-1-59593-680-6},
      location = {Stanford, California},
      pages = {11--15},
      numpages = {5},
      url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1276318.1276321},
      doi = {10.1145/1276318.1276321},
      acmid = {1276321},
      publisher = {ACM},
      address = {New York, NY, USA},
      abstract = {This paper proposes an architecture for a sense-making system for crime investigation named AVERs (Argument Visualization for Evidential Reasoning based on stories). It is targeted at crime investigators who may use it to explain initially observed facts by drawing links between these facts and hypothesized events, and to connect the thus created stories to evidence through argumentation. AVERs draws on a combination of ideas from visualizing argumentation and the anchored narratives theory.}
    }
  • F. Bex, S. van den Braak, H. Oostendorp, H. Prakken, B. Verheij, and G. A. W. Vreeswijk, "Sense-making software for crime investigation: how to combine stories and arguments?," in Proceedings of the 19th Belgian-Dutch Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2007, pp. 311-312. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{BNAIC07, AUTHOR = {Bex, F. and Braak, S. van den and Oostendorp, H. and Prakken, H. and Verheij, B. and Vreeswijk, G.A.W.},
      TITLE = {Sense-making software for crime investigation: how to combine stories and arguments?},
      BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of the 19th Belgian-Dutch Conference on Artificial Intelligence},
      YEAR = {2007},
      editor = {Dastani, M.M. and Jong, E. de},
      pages = {311--312},
      address = {Utrecht, The Netherlands},
      type = {Extended Abstract},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/BNAIC2007_BexBraakEtAl.pdf}
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak, H. van Oostendorp, H. Prakken, and G. A. W. Vreeswijk, "A critical review of argument visualization tools: Do users become better reasoners?," in Workshop Notes of the ECAI-2006 Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (CMNA VI), Riva del Garda, Italy, 2006, pp. 67-75. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{CMNAlong, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Oostendorp, H. van and Prakken, H. and Vreeswijk, G.A.W.},
      TITLE = {A critical review of argument visualization tools: Do users become better reasoners?},
      BOOKTITLE = {Workshop Notes of the {ECAI-2006} Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument ({CMNA VI})},
      YEAR = {2006},
      editor = {Grasso, F. and Kibble, R. and Reed, C.},
      pages = {67--75},
      address = {Riva del Garda, Italy},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/ECAI06_Long_Paper_BraakEtAl.pdf},
      abstract = {This paper provides an assessment of the most recent empirical research into the effectiveness of argument visualization tools. In particular, the methodological quality of the reported experiments and the conclusions drawn from them are critically examined. Their validity is determined and the methodological differences between them are clarified. The discrepancies in intended effects of use especially are investigated. Subsequently, methodological recommendations for future experiments are given.}
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak and G. A. W. Vreeswijk, "A knowledge representation architecture for the construction of stories based on interpretation and evidence," in Workshop Notes of the ECAI-2006 Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (CMNA VI), Riva del Garda, Italy, 2006, pp. 76-82. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{CMNAshort, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Vreeswijk, G.A.W.},
      TITLE = {A knowledge representation architecture for the construction of stories based on interpretation and evidence},
      BOOKTITLE = {Workshop Notes of the {ECAI}-2006 Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument ({CMNA VI})},
      YEAR = {2006},
      editor = {Grasso, F. and Kibble, R. and Reed, C.},
      pages = {76--82},
      address = {Riva del Garda, Italy},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/ECAI06_Short_Paper_BraakVreeswijk.pdf},
      abstract = {This paper describes Stevie, a knowledge representation architecture for the analysis of complex legal cases. Stevie is targeted at legal professionals who may use it to infer stories (plausible and consistent reconstructions of courses of events) from evidence and hypotheses. Stevie is based on known argument ontologies and argumentation logics. }
    }
  • S. W. van den Braak and G. A. W. Vreeswijk, "AVER: Argument visualization for evidential reasoning," in Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. JURIX 2006: The Nineteenth Annual Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2006, pp. 151-156. bibtex Go to document
    @INPROCEEDINGS{JURIX06, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Vreeswijk, G.A.W.},
      TITLE = {{AVER}: Argument visualization for evidential reasoning},
      BOOKTITLE = {Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. {JURIX} 2006: The Nineteenth Annual Conference},
      YEAR = {2006},
      editor = {Engers, T.M. van},
      pages = {151--156},
      address = {Amsterdam, The Netherlands},
      publisher = {IOS Press},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/projects/evidence/publications/JURIX06_BraakVreeswijk.pdf},
      abstract = {This paper reports on the ongoing development of a collaborative, web-based application for argument visualization named AVER (Argument Visualization for Evidential Reasoning). It is targeted at police officers who may use it to express their reasoning about a case based on evidence. AVER provides an interface which supports the construction and visualization of argument graphs and handles more advanced argumentation concepts such as schemes. Further, it is based on a known argument ontology and has a solid theoretical underpinning in formal theories of argumentation.}
    }

Technical reports

  • S. W. van den Braak, H. van Oostendorp, H. Prakken, and G. A. W. Vreeswijk, "Representing causal knowledge in sense-making software for crime analysis," Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, UU-CS-2008-024, 2008. bibtex Go to document
    @TECHREPORT{Techrep, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den and Oostendorp, H. van and Prakken, H. and Vreeswijk, G.A.W.},
      YEAR = {2008},
      TITLE = {Representing causal knowledge in sense-making software for crime analysis},
      number = {UU-CS-2008-024},
      institution = {Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University},
      url = {http://www.cs.uu.nl/research/techreps/repo/CS-2008/2008-024.pdf}
    }

Master’s thesis

  • S. W. van den Braak, "Progress is not optimization: Co-evolutionary robotics in simulation," Master’s Dissertation , Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2005. bibtex
    @MASTERSTHESIS{ThesisMaster, AUTHOR = {Braak, S.W. van den},
      TITLE = {Progress is not optimization: Co-evolutionary robotics in simulation},
      institution = {Radboud University Nijmegen},
      YEAR = {2005},
      address = {Nijmegen, The Netherlands},
      abstract = {In this thesis, various aspects of the co-evolutionary projects of Nolfi and Floreano will be investigated. First of all, we will test the extent to which their "Evorobot" software allows one to replicate Nolfi and Floreano's experimental results. We will argue that numerous limitations and difficulties make it impossible for us to obtain complete resemblance. Secondly, we will investigate whether progress throughout generations occurs. Moreover, we will test the progress for its monotonicity, using the isotonic regression analysis, and we will see that in all experiments the progress is significantly nondecreasing. Further, we will argue that evolving the individuals within more complex environments will lead to a larger amount of progress, while the use of environmental change or plasticity results in a smaller amount of progress. Finally, we will investigate the extent to which the co-evolutionary robotics of Nolfi and Floreano, as based on their software, is comparable to natural evolution. We will propose 3 criteria (i.e. the concepts, techniques used, and results), in order to examine the naturalness of their co-evolutionary robotics. We will claim that on the basis of these criteria there is no principled reason to deny the biological plausibility of Nolfi and Floreano's approach, although in practice, their co-evolutionary robotics is still far removed from it. Biological plausibility thus remains a fundamental important challenge for future research on co-evolutionary robotics.}
    }