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  • The increasing frequency of environmental fires is a serious issue around the world and one that is being exacerbated by climate change. Millions of hectares and thousands of homes are at risk. Recovery times will, for much of the devastation, in Australia, Greece, California, India, and elsewhere will run to decades. New approaches to reducing the risk of fires are now needs, ones that do not simply involve political grandstanding and the purchase of glamorous but largely ineffective solutions.

    Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, a research team from India point out that one of the main contributors to the ease with which fires can spread is the accumulation of biomass, such as dry pine needles, on the forest floor. Pankaj Verma of the TR Abhilashi Memorial Institute of Engineering and Technology in Tanda Mandi, and colleagues have explored the potential for reducing the biomass risk. They suggest that it is worth engaging at-risk communities to see this "waste" material as a valuable energy resource for power production. This would have many other environmental and economic benefits, as well as clearing the forest floor and reducing a highly inflammable fuel source for fires.

    Forests play an integral role in the ecological cycle, offering habitat and food for various species and hosting diverse vegetation. The team note that in Himachal Pradesh, India, forest cover has increased, but the predominant species is the Chir Pine or Longleaf Indian Pine (Pinus roxburghii), which sheds a large volume of dry needles particularly from January to April. The number of forest fires in the region seems to have risen with the ascent of this tree species.

    Despite their availability, dry pine needles are seldom used as fuel due to their low energy density and heating value. The researchers propose that with appropriate technology, it should be feasible to convert this low energy density biomass into high energy density fuel, such as briquettes. As India's energy demands rise, such a waste-to-energy approach could help address this issue, providing a renewable energy source and simultaneously reducing forest fire risk.

    This concept also promotes the sustainable use of forest resources, encourages environmental conservation, and offers social and financial benefits to local communities.

    Verma, P., Sharma, K., Mahajan, A. and Sharma, R. (2024) 'Forest fire mitigation by social economic development of local communities using pine needle as potential fuel', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp.57–67.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2024.138887

  • Researchers writing in the International Journal of Data Mining, Modelling and Management discuss the evolution and growing academic interest in chatbots, with a special focus on the widely discussed large language model known as ChatGPT. The team has analysed data from Scopus and the Web of Science (WoS) covering the period 1998 to 2023.

    The results show remarkable annual growth rates of almost 20 percent in WoS and almost 30 percent in Scopus in the number of publications discussing chatbots. This obvious conclusion is that there is a growing scholarly interest in this kind of artificial intelligence and its use in "conversational" software agents.

    Hamed Khosravi, Ahmed Shoyeb Raihan, and Imtiaz Ahmed of West Virginia University in Morgantown, USA, and Mohammad Reza Shafie and Morteza Hajiabadiof the Iran University of Science and Technology in Tehran, explain how chatbots use algorithms trained on natural language databases to mimic human conversation. These AI tools can respond with apparently cogent answers to questions or prompts and are increasingly used in customer service, education, mental health, financial management, and many other areas. Users need to be aware that while the term "intelligence" is used in this context, the software is not inherently intelligent in the conventional sense and can readily generate fanciful or even false information in response to a given prompt. Nevertheless, on the whole, these tools can be very useful in streamlining interactions and precluding the need for human staff to undertake many mundane tasks.

    These systems employ natural language processing (NLP), a subset of AI that allows machines to interpret prompts and generate an apparently human response. In the current work, Khosravi and colleagues focus on one of the more well known systems, ChatGPT. This tool uses deep-learning techniques to generate contextually relevant and coherent responses. Its advocates point to its more advanced abilities when compared to the previous generation of chatbots and other AI tools in this area.

    In examining the research literature, the team notes that there has been a shift towards areas such as mental health and task analysis and how AI tools might be used in those contexts and what its limitations might be. The way AI is being used now and how that is changing will, of course, affect how development moves.

    There is a pressing need to ensure that the tools are not only technologically superior but also ethically sound and contextually aware. The next generation of AI tools may need less human oversight, but there will perhaps always be a need for some human supervision of outputs. This progression could lead to AI applications that provide preliminary medical insights, support clinical decision-making, enhance writing and translation tasks, simulate organizational interactions, and assist in policy formulation.

    Khosravi, H., Shafie, M.R., Hajiabadi, M., Raihan, A.S. and Ahmed, I. (2024) 'Chatbots and ChatGPT: a bibliometric analysis and systematic review of publications in Web of Science and Scopus databases', Int. J. Data Mining, Modelling and Management, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.113–147.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDMMM.2024.138824

  • In the International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, Bas Dommerholt of the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets in The Netherlands, explores the history of money from the earliest coins and notes to the world of digital "crypto" currencies.

    Dommerholt's analysis of the evolution of money offers a new perspective that diverges from conventional theories. He suggests that the roots of money can be traced back to early agricultural societies. Early farmers kept records of food distributions, and it is these that over the course of prehistory evolved into wage standards. And from there the calculation of production costs and the filling in of balance sheets. Eventually, coins were minted as tokens of these. Coins, often considered the first form of money, emerged as tokens of credit backed by precious metals.

    This novel historical narrative has implications for contemporary economic policies, from addressing predatory lending practices to understanding the rise of digital currencies. Dommerholt's findings suggest that educators could benefit from integrating this perspective to provide students with a more nuanced historical understanding of money.

    In Western philosophy, money is a pivotal element, integral to the modern production and distribution of goods and fundamental to the market economy. Despite its importance, the public's understanding of money remains muddled, partly due to the inadequate representation of money's history in educational materials. Dommerholt argues for a comprehensive and objective depiction of money in public education with a modern perspective rather than some of the outdated textbook definitions.

    Traditionally, it has been believed that money and prices evolved from market transactions involving precious metals. However, the article highlights a critical transition in the nature of money: modern money is no longer based on metals but is an official administrative unit with a market value that floats under governmental control. This shift has profound implications for current policy debates, distinguishing between the traditional and modern understandings of money.

    The research builds on chartal theory. This theory suggests that money's origins actually lie not in markets or material measurements but in government administration and record-keeping. In this theory, money originated from government records of taxes paid in kind. Many educational resources still describe the evolution of money from barter systems and privately owned precious metals, which the evidence suggests is not the case.

    The evidence shows that early accounting practices were tied to central institutions responsible for food distribution, with prices evolving from labour cost benchmarks. Coins were introduced later as interest-free notes of credit and backed by precious metals to ensure trust and stability. By fixing the misconceptions about the origins of money, Dommerholt hopes to improve debate and discussion regarding modern lending practices, financial globalization, and digital currencies.

    Dommerholt, B. (2023) 'Revisiting the origin of money: from precious metals to work: alternative pathways on the origin of currency and its impact on modern economics', Int. J. Pluralism and Economics Education, Vol. 14, Nos. 3/4, pp.219–233.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2023.138579

  • Research published in the International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology has looked at how training might be enhanced to help foster innovative musical talent in university education. The work used advanced data analysis techniques with an improved K-means clustering algorithm to help educators identify how they might improve matters in this area.

    Peng Li of Beijing Normal University and Zeng Fan of the City University of Macau, China, explain how China has experienced substantial development, leading to major changes in industry and its economic structure. This recent progress has led to greater demands for educational reform that fit society's needs. The government hopes to develop world-class universities that have distinctive Chinese character and to use technology to assist in this endeavour. As such, data analysis has become important in understanding educational matters.

    The team used this data-driven technology to analyse learning outcomes among students on music courses. In their work, the K-means clustering algorithm, known for its efficiency, was assisted by a noise reduction autoencoder, a type of neural network, to improve the results beyond what is commonly possible with just the clustering algorithm. This approach allows them to manage and analyse large data sets.

    The results show a disparity between student performance in theoretical and practical music courses. Students generally perform better in theoretical subjects, with a high percentage achieving passing and top scores. In contrast, practical courses such as composition, improvisation, and live performance show lower and more average scores, highlighting a gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

    Li and Fan suggest that their findings point to how current curricula, which place a lot of emphasis on theoretical knowledge at the expense of practical skills, might be modified to rectify this imbalance.

    Li, P. and Fan, Z. (2024) 'Application of improved K-means algorithm in the cultivation of creative music talents under the needs of sustainable development and transformation', Int. J. Web Engineering and Technology, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp.4–19.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJWET.2024.138098

  • Research in the International Journal of Trade and Global Markets has looked at the role of effective brand risk management in improving brand security across the food and drink industry in Vietnam, specifically in the areas of manufacturing and processing.

    Hai-Yen Thi Bui of the Hanoi School of Business and Management at Vietnam National University surveyed more than 400 businesses and found a strong correlation between those companies with strong brand risk management practices and the improvements they saw in three key aspects of brand security: safety, stability, and sustainability. She suggests that the findings show how important such brand strategies are in this sector. Ignoring them could lead to problems with a company's reputation, reduced customer trust, and ultimately, financial losses.

    There has previously been much discussion around enterprise risk management and how it can affect a company's performance. Some studies have shown it to have an economic benefit and that it leads to a better financial bottom-line. However, others have found it not to have as much effect as imagined.

    It is, of course, difficult to get a handle on the intangible, assets such as reputation, trademarks, and corporate culture. These all play into how well a company might do in the market and its competitive edge.

    Brand risk management, however, defined as the process of protecting a brand through systematic risk assessment and control, is, this new research suggests, vital. Effective brand risk management can protect a company's reputation, ensure customer loyalty and trust, and preclude financial losses. By preventing crises and ensuring the brand's safety, stability, and sustainability, it safeguards brand security.

    The research has implications beyond the food and drink sector. It may well apply to businesses across very disparate industries, and so could benefit them in nudging them to adopt similar brand risk management strategies in order to safeguard their company reputation and sustain financial success.

    Bui, H-Y.T. (2024) 'Improving brand security through good brand risk management', Int. J. Trade and Global Markets, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp.1–20.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJTGM.2024.138977

  • Researchers writing in the International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, explain how the USA is a major importer of wildlife, bringing into the states a great diversity and quantity of different species. This trade, they caution, has the potential to introduce pathogens into the region, specifically zoonotic pathogens, which cause disease in those many different species, but that might make the leap animal to human. The potential here being that such pathogens, like bird flu, SARS, and COVID-19 before they pose a serious risk of a new pandemic.

    Jonathan E. Kolby and Jamie K. Reaser of Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, and William C. Pitt of The American Chestnut Foundation in Asheville, North Carolina explain that current regulatory policies designed to prevent the entry of these pathogens are not in as sound a state as they ought to be. The team discusses how the effectiveness of those policies is hindered by the inconsistent use of terminology. For instance, the phrases "domesticated animals" and "wildlife" are not always used consistently nor with a solid scientific definition between various federal agencies. This, the team suggests, could undermine the integrity of the scientific data being used for zoonotic risk assessment.

    Kolby and his colleagues suggest that there is an urgent need to standardize the terms being used based on scientific principles. There is also a need to update the long list of recognized domesticated animals and to then implement species-specific customs codes to improve the accuracy and reliability of data being fed into those zoonotic risk assessments.

    Throughout human history, we have come into contact with wild animals carrying disease. On many occasions, those diseases have spread from anima to people. However, in the modern world of international trade and travel, there has for decades been the potential for such diseases to spread globally rather than being confined close to the site of origin. The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point, with the likely source of the zoonotic pathogen thought to be bats in China. There are other theories about the original vector and animals that may well have acted as carriers prior to the virus making the jump to people.

    The human and economic costs of pandemics are immense. Preventive measures are far more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences. Indeed, research shows that the overall costs of blocking the emergence of a pandemic are far less than the economic losses and lives lost once a disease has spread around the world. Effective prevention strategies offer ethical and equity benefits that can safeguard both human and animal lives. As such, risk analysis is a powerful tool for governments to evaluate and prioritize measures to help tackle emerging zoonotic diseases before they become pandemics. Standardising terminology for the sake of the science could be a key part of this defence, the current paper shows.

    Kolby, J.E., Pitt, W.C. and Reaser, J.K. (2023) 'Domestication matters: risk analyses necessary to prevent zoonotic pathogen spillover from international wildlife trade are constrained by terminology', Int. J. Risk Assessment and Management, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp.95–117.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJRAM.2023.139016

  • Research in the International Journal of Procurement Management has looked at donor-funded procurement within Zimbabwe's public health medical laboratory services. The work based on a survey of 221 healthcare professionals and administrative personnel shows that operational efficiency relies mostly on strategic planning.

    Crossman Mayavo and Fanny Saruchera of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, studied the Ministry of Health and Childcare using a mixed-method approach to analyse the data. They applied statistical techniques, such as structural equation modelling, to get the most from the data and to show what were the most important factors influencing procurement effectiveness.

    The team found that the donation recipient planning process is an important mediator that affects the effectiveness of donor-funded procurement. In contrast, the donation implementation process does not affect outcomes to the same degree. The work suggests that strategic planning is critical to success, rather than simply relying on implementation efforts to maximize the benefits of donor-funded projects.

    This work sits in the broader context of the enormous global health funding that is directed towards lower and middle-income countries, especially developing nations in Africa. It also points to the issues of dependency, mismanagement, and corruption that persist across the continent. Mismanagement and corruption can, of course, undermine the improvements finding might bring and are exacerbated by goverment-level challenges and bureaucratic inefficiencies.

    In Zimbabwe, the study shows that effective donor-funded procurement works best if a lead donor is present, if stakeholder collaborations are fostered, if there is transparency in fund allocation, and strong leadership support. In addition, the recruitment of competent personnel is important, as is the efficient management of the necessary logistics. These determinants serve as mediators, significantly enhancing procurement outcomes by bridging the gap between donor recipient planning and actual procurement effectiveness.

    The findings could have implications beyond Zimbabwe. Strategic planning and strong leadership are perhaps obvious components of a successful system and this will apply to other developing nations. The team urges policymakers to cultivate environments that support effective donor-funded procurement and so ensure that their healthcare institutions are not only well-equipped but also well-managed.

    Mayavo, C. and Saruchera, F. (2024) 'Donor-funded procurement determinants and effectiveness of procurement in the public health medical laboratory services: examining the mediating factors', Int. J. Procurement Management, Vol. 20, No. 5, pp.1–19.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJPM.2024.138755

  • Research in the International Journal of Electronic Healthcare has looked at how different monetisation models affect the pricing of health software for mobile devices on the two major app platforms, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The findings from the work could be used by developers, healthcare providers, and users alike to understand the market for such apps.

    Natália Lemos, Cláudia Cardoso, and Cândida Sofia Machado of the Polytechnic University of Cávado and Ave in Barcelos, Portugal, used a censored regression model to pinpoint key factors that determine the price of health apps that users expect to pay. This then points to how additional approaches to monetisation might be used to lower the initial cost of an app, with the likes of advertising-based approaches to revenue generation having the greatest impact.

    The healthcare sector is facing mounting pressure as an aging population faces chronic disease. Moreover, patients are more demanding than ever of their healthcare providers. However, as is almost always the case, budgets and staff are limited resources. New technology might supplement conventional healthcare provision and help patients find ways to improve their quality of life even when suffering from a chronic illness. Indeed, digital and mobile technology have already changed healthcare delivery, improved productivity, efficiency, equity, and quality in many ways. So-called e-Health, which integrates electronic communication and information technology, and m-Health, which focuses on mobile and wireless technologies, are both advancing healthcare provision.

    Many health apps work to make facile connections between patients and healthcare providers. The larger the user base, the greater impact a given platform can have on patients and improve health outcomes for them. But, in order to be economically sustainable, there is a balance to be struck in terms of what the apps offer, the resources they need, and the cost to providers and patients.

    This new work shows that many users are not necessarily happy to pay a large up-front cost for an app, but are happy to see advertising if that keeps the app price low. This effect is more pronounced among Google Play Store users compared to those on Apple's App Store. However, such ad-based models do detract from the user experience as they are a distraction and be a waste of a user's time on the app in question. In addition, there is growing concern that some apps are monetised through third parties, selling on data and information about their users, which brings with it privacy and security concerns, something that is an especially sensitive issue in the health sector.

    The team found, however, that there are alternatives that can make an app economically viable. For instance, if in-app purchases are offered this does not affect whether users will pay a given initial download price but does open up the possibility of additional revenue for providers and developers. This study focused mainly on Europe and more specifically the market for healthcare apps in Portugal. There is thus potential to extend the work to see whether it might be generalised to the wider and obviously vast international app markets.

    Lemos, N., Cardoso, C. and Machado, C.S. (2023) 'Monetisation strategies for health apps: evidence from Apple's App Store and Google Play Store', Int. J. Electronic Healthcare, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.295–310.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEH.2023.138254

  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in global markets is increasing day by day. The results are often mixed, with outcomes influenced strongly by how employees perceive the use of AI within their workplace.

    A study in the International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management has looked at the psychological dimension of the perception of AI and has focused on what might be referred to as AI ambidexterity. This ambidexterity embodies the two sides of AI – its capacity to perform both routine and innovative tasks. —and its impact on breakthrough innovation engagement. Shahan Bin Tariq and Jian Zhang of the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, China and Faheem Gul Gilal of the Sukkur IBA University in Sindh, Pakistan, surveyed 337 employees in Pakistan's high-tech sector and used social exchange theory (SET) and the resource-based view (RBV) to analyse their opinions regarding AI and how difference affect innovation.

    Business is marked by globalization and shifting consumer demands. This has compelled companies to innovate continuously to gain or maintain a competitive edge. Some commentators suggest that the innovative use of AI, is critical to business innovation, and many businesses agree and are investing heavily in this fledgling technology.

    Of course, as with any new technology there are mixed results and outcomes and while there are supporters there are also inevitably detractors. If employees perceive a threat to their livelihoods, then they are perhaps more likely to have a negative opinion towards that threat. Yet, there is also the potential for AI to make their jobs easier in many ways and open up new opportunities for creativity and innovation.

    AI ambidexterity could improve the strategic agility and innovation capacity of many different types of company. The researchers found that there can be both positive and negative employee perceptions, but where the relationship works best seems to be in the concept of hybrid intelligence. In hybrid intelligence, AI's predictive abilities are combined with human intuition and decision-making to solve problems more effectively.

    With transformational leadership, this synergy of human and artificial intelligence might be moderated for the benefit of the companies using it without disenfranchising employees. The study concludes that as AI evolves and matures, a nuanced approach to its implementation and a recognition of its impact on employees in companies using it needs to be taken.

    Tariq, S.B., Zhang, J. and Gilal, F.G. (2024) 'Stepping into the future: unravelling breakthrough innovations through AI ambidexterity, hybrid intelligence, and transformational leadership', Int. J. Information Systems and Change Management, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.3–29.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJISCM.2024.138078

  • Generation Y, Gen Y, is commonly referred to the Millennial generation. It usually includes individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-to-late 1990s or early 2000s. This generation follows Generation X and precedes Generation Z. The Millennials, it is said, grew up during the transition to digital technology and the rise of the internet, and this has shaped their perspectives, behaviour, and the way they use technology and media. They are often characterized as tech-savvy, adaptable, and socially conscious, with a strong affinity for social media and digital communication platforms. However, this can be said of individuals from preceding or subsequent generations too.

    A study in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, has looked at Gen Y consumer attitudes in the light of marketing content on social media. Nor Azimah Kamaruddin of the Universiti Utara Malaysia, and Lennora Putit and Amily Fikry of the Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, have investigated how advertising content, crucial for business and marketing success, seeks to engage audiences effectively.

    The team used qualitative methods, such as focus group discussions, to uncover prevalent attitudes among Millennial social media users and their attitudes to marketing content on Facebook, Instagram, and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

    The team found that attitudes varied from positive (I like), negative (I don't like), and vague (I don't know), as one might have anticipated. Positive attitudes typically stem from content that resonates with the interests of users or their values, leading to actions more "liking" or "sharing" of such content. Conversely, negative attitudes arose from being presented with content that conflicted with user preferences or values. This had the potential to produce a "thumbs down", a dislike, or negative comments. The team found that the "don't-knows" with their vague response to marketing content, were often curious nevertheless and sometimes shared content despite initial uncertainty.

    While, the bottom line in marketing is always about purchasing behaviour and thus sales, the focus has shifted to some degree to concepts such as viral reach, which can lead to widespread content dissemination that then brings with it the sales way beyond conventional campaigns or traditional word-of-mouth. However, marketers face many challenges in understanding what motivates social media users and how to trigger that much sought after virality of content.

    The present study has moved away from the binary "like-dislike" assessment of user behaviour to include those who are virally curious, the vague attitudes and the don't-knows that might lead to viral reach. This new understanding could give business a better way to develop tailored marketing strategies for social media.

    Kamaruddin, N.A., Putit, L. and Fikry, A. (2024) 'I like, I don't like, I don't know: consumers' attitude towards marketing content in social media from Gen Y glasses', Int. J. Electronic Marketing and Retailing, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.308–329.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2024.138300

News

International Journal of Vehicle Performance indexed by Clarivate's Emerging Sources Citation Index

Inderscience is pleased to announce the news that the International Journal of Vehicle Performance has been indexed by Clarivate's Emerging Sources Citation Index.

The journal's Editor in Chief, Dr. Xiaobo Yang, has offered the following comments:

"I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the inclusion of the International Journal of Vehicle Performance (IJVP) in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI). This marks a significant milestone for IJVP and reflects the dedication and hard work of our editorial team, contributors and reviewers.

Inclusion in ESCI not only acknowledges the quality and relevance of the research published in our journal, but also enhances the journal's visibility and accessibility across the global academic community. We are confident that this will further encourage scholarly contributions and enrich the discourse within the field of vehicle systems performance.

We are committed to maintaining and improving the standards that have led to this achievement. This recognition provides us with the motivation to continue our efforts in publishing high-quality research and fostering academic excellence."

International Journal of Hydromechatronics increases CiteScore to 7.6

Inderscience's Editorial Office is pleased to report that the International Journal of Hydromechatronics has increased its Scopus CiteScore from 6.0 to 7.6.

The journal's Editor in Chief, Prof. Liang Yan, said, "This year, IJHM achieved a CiteScore of 7.6, marking a 27% increase. Over the past year, the editorial team has made significant efforts to control manuscript quality, optimise the review process and enhance promotional efforts. Both the editorial board and the young editorial members have dedicated more effort to the journal's development. We sincerely extend our gratitude to our readers and authors for their support. Moving forward, we will continue to strive to make IJHM a better and more influential journal."

International Journal of Information and Computer Security indexed by Clarivate's Emerging Sources Citation Index

Inderscience is pleased to announce that the International Journal of Information and Computer Security has been indexed by Clarivate's Emerging Sources Citation Index.

The journal's Editor in Chief, Associate Prof. Biju Issac, has shared the following statement concerning this achievement:

"The news of IJICS getting indexed in Clarivate's Emerging Sources Citation Index is fantastic. It clearly reflects the quality of the papers published in the journal through rigorous peer review, and I am sure it will attract further high-quality paper submissions. I would especially like to thank the authors, editorial board members and reviewers for their contributions in making this journal successful. I hope the quality of this journal will only get better in the days to come. We will be aiming for a higher impact factor over the next few years."

Prof. Eldon Li appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Information Systems and Management

Prof. Eldon Li from National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Information Systems and Management.

Dr. Carlos Alberto Devece Carañana appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Technoentrepreneurship

Dr. Carlos Alberto Devece Carañana from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Technoentrepreneurship.