Computer Science and Information Security

Technical, business-related, and global information about computer science and information security.


Spring 2024 MSSI Capstone Schedule and Requirements

March 10: a mid-project progress summary and an annotated report outline
April 21: a complete project report


Save your time! Use these search techniques:
  • Put quotation marks around PHRASES (two or more words), so that the words are searched together
    --- Example: "chicken pox"
  • Put an asterisk at the end of words, so that you get all of the word endings
    --- Example: high* = high, highs, higher, highest
  • Think of alternate spellings or synonyms
    --- Examples: house OR home OR dwelling OR residence; "cyber security" OR cybersecurity -- it's used both ways
    -- You should also add "information security" OR "computer security" OR "network security" or cyberdefense [this does not need quotation marks because it is only one word]
  • Put each concept (idea) on a different row, so it is easier to adjust your search.
  • "Turn on autosuggest" = you get suggested search words, like "Denial-Of-Service Attack"
  • "Add search field" = add another row
  • If you get too many results (maybe 100+), move your most important concept into TITLE or SUBJECT/ TITLE/ ABSTRACT, as shown. If you do not like those results, put that concept back to "All Fields" and choose a different concept to put into TITLE or SUBJECT etc.


On this guide, How to Access Full Text tells you how to get to ALL of our full text.

ALL databases let you FOCUS your search, so that you can get exactly what you want.


Start here:

1. Engineering, Computer and IT Topics, and More -- Start with Compendex, then look at IEEE xplore and other databases in the Computer Science list

2. Business News and Information -- Start with ABI/INFORM, then look at the other databases in the Business list, under CORE

How to find databases:

1. Library home page --> Databases --> [database name]


Databases --> "Browse list of databases" :

Then choose the SUBJECT, to get the list of all the databases about it:

To see what a database is about, click "More Info" next to its name:


In addition to news, news items can also provide the names of information sources about your topics.

It is extremely important to make sure that your writing does not use someone else's work without properly acknowledging it. Even paraphrasing (putting someone else's writing into your own words) must be done in a very careful way.

These tutorials will help you learn the basics of avoiding plagiarism. You will always need to know this, not only during your academic career, but throughout your professional career, too.

Go to the JHU tutorials about plagiarism.

Due on SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2024:   Mid-project progress summary and an annotated report outline.
---> The annotated outline is the first draft of your project report and must include all the sections, according to “MSSI Capstone Project Requirements”.
  • The progress summary should describe what have been completed, what still need to be done, and any significant changes to the project proposal.
  • The outline must include a review of at least 5 literature items.
  • The references and citations should follow the “Reference Style” specified in “MSSI Capstone Project Requirements” (that is, either IEEE or ACM).

1. Definitions

  • “Annotated” = “with notes”
  • “Citation” and “reference” are almost the same thing.
    --- “Citation” = author, title, journal or book title, year, and the other things required by IEEE or ACM style.
    --- “Reference” = information that you actually USE, and so you "cite" it in your reference list.

2. Problem Definition
Make sure that your problem definition (also called "thesis statement") is very clear, and include evidence to support it.

---Definition from the Writing Center at U. North Carolina Chapel Hill
"A thesis statement is “usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader...
The rest of the paper…gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your [analysis].”

---"Write a Strong Thesis Statement! (from U. Evansville, IN)


3. Writing Tips

  • Spell check is good, but you must still read through it or have a friend read through it, because there are many words that mean different things. For example:  there/their;  great/grate
  • A Capstone is a formal piece of writing, so do not use informal language
  • What about authors who disagree with you or point out limitations to your approach? You should make sure to talk about those; for example, "Some authors point out that _______. However, our approach avoids that problem by ______."
  • Every word and every sentence must be clear. If you use words like "it" or "he" or "those," make sure that the reader will know who or what the word is referring to.
  • Every paragraph must follow logically from the one before it -- if you are going to introduce a new subject, say something like, "Related to that is the concept of X," or "Now we will discuss Y."
Writing and Language Help

Technical Communication Lab (Center for Leadership Education)
You can make appointments online.

---Technical Writing Consultations
---ESL Consultations

Center for Language Education

---ESL programs and courses [as of January 2024, the web site is not up to date]

Writing Center (Gilman Hall)
---You can make an appointment online

Also see these guides:

---Writing Resources
---Writing a Literature Review

Your Reference List

  1. The "style" of your references must be either IEEE or ACM
  2. For more information about these styles, go to the library's Citing Sources guide and click on More Styles


Citing Things That Are NOT Journal Articles

  • It can be hard to cite things that are not regular journal articles
  • But good news: the pieces of information that you need are mostly the same for everything -- author/editor (individual or corporate), title, date, publication/database, URL, date accessed
  • If you use RefWorks, Save to RefWorks will help with things that are not journal articles.
    Find this tool INSIDE RefWorks, at TOOLS --> Tools --> INSTALL
  • It is better to give TOO MUCH information than NOT ENOUGH, so that people can find the information you used

For example: the item below has an author, title, web site name, URL, date, and whatever date you accessed it. If you are using RefWorks, the  "Save to Refworks" tool will help you add the basic pieces, and then you can check to make sure that it is the correct ACM or IEEE style.

If you are having trouble citing anything, please contact Sue the Librarian (

What Should The Final Report Look Like?

At the end of the MSSI Capstone Project Requirements are examples of the general structure for your final reports. This is what it says:

"...In general, all the papers published by ACM or IEEE conferences and journals can be followed for the organization of your report and the style of citations and references. The following are just a couple examples."

To find more examples, you can go to the IEEExplore (the IEEE database) or ACM Digital Library (the ACM database).

RefWorks is the citation manager that is supported by JHU. It is free for you.

Log in here.
  • Here is our guide about how to use it
  • Here are video tutorials
  • NEVER do searches from INSIDE RefWorks. Always search from inside the database itself, such as Compendex
  • NOTE:  To create a bibliography, ALL of your references must be in ONE folder (you should label this folder VERY CLEARLY)

Using Folders and Subfolders to Organize Your References

Your Biblography (the list of references at the end)
  1. The "style" of your references must be either IEEE or ACM
  2. To create your reference list in RefWorks, choose "Create Bibliography," then click on the next "Create Bibliography"
  3. Enter either  "IEEE" or "ACM" in the search box, as shown
  4. You will see several choices. Choose the IEEE or ACM style shown below in YELLOW :

Put IEEE in the search box, UNCHECK the little box as shown, and choose the title in yellow:


OR,  put ACM in the search box, and choose the title in yellow:

How to Insert In-text Citations
A citation inside the paper (not at the end in the bibliography) is called an "in-text citation" or an "in-line citation."
  • IEEE and ACM require "numbered" bibliographies (reference lists) -- this means that they are listed in the order that you used them in your paper. This page of the Refworks guide tells you how to install the add-ons.
Keeping Track of Your In-text Citations

The first two lines below show numbered references, in the order that you used them in the paper.

At the bottom of the box is an author/date style.

With a numbered style, it is easy to lose track of which reference goes with which sentence. A safe way to do your in-text citations is to use an author/date style instead, such as APA 7th.

Then, when you are completely finished with your paper, your very last steps should be

  1. PUT ALL OF YOUR REFERENCES INTO A SINGLE FOLDER!  RefWorks is not able to take your references from more than one folder.
  2. Change those in-text author/dates into numbers
  3. Click on your one REFERENCES folder and "Create Bibliography" in IEEE or ACM style.

MOST COMMON PROBLEM:  Not Having Enough Time

  • We tried to make everything perfect, and spent a lot of time on collecting and storing data… So we were not able to make full use of our data…

  • Unforeseen challenges and roadblocks that made progress slower than desired (like waiting for a device to arrive).

  • Getting a concrete idea that we believed could be done in one semester as well as would be a novel approach in the industry.

  • To find the right direction for further steps when the research get stuck. To describe the project backgrounds in great detail to general audience without specific knowledge about the project.

  • We wrote the report at the end instead of writing some documentation down as we go, so we had to go back in memory a lot.