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Magee awarded IMLS grant for young researchers project

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:25:48 +0000

Assistant Professor Rachel M. Magee has been awarded a three-year Early Career Development grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS grant RE-07-18-0054-18), under the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports "developing a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public by enhancing the training and professional development of librarians, developing faculty and library leaders, and recruiting and educating the next generation of librarians."

The IMLS-funded project, "Young Researchers: Collaborating with Youth and Libraries for Community Based Scholarship," builds on a pilot study Magee conducted in 2016-2017, in which a small group of teens in Illinois learned how to help design, implement, analyze, and report on original research.

"Working with teens in the pilot study for the Young Researchers project was inspiring and demonstrated that youth can substantively contribute to the way we design and conduct research about their experiences," said Magee. "These teens worked together for eight months, and their timely research investigating how their peers decide what to trust on social media shows that teens have important questions to ask and answer through the original research process."

The new grant will allow Magee to expand the project to five partner public library sites across the U.S., connecting teens from diverse backgrounds during afterschool camps or summer camps in order to explore the research process. The project will conclude with a public curriculum and workshop series for library and information science professionals on implementing co-research. 

"The next phase of this work will involve collaborating with teens across the country to develop studies about their priorities," Magee explained. "This will provide an opportunity to better understand how teens develop complex research literacies, to further techniques for effective informal learning, and to create and share resources that all libraries can use to help teens understand the research process."  

In addition to the Young Researchers project, Magee continues her work on the App Authors project with Associate Professor Kate McDowell and Assistant Professor Deborah Stevenson, director of The Center for Children's Books. App Authors is a three-year project to develop curricula for app-building in school and public libraries. Like App Authors, the Young Researchers project will advance scholarship on designing informal learning opportunities in libraries as well as support youth literacy development.

Magee is a youth advocate who teaches about and researches youth technology and information practices, informed by her background as a public librarian. She holds a PhD in information studies from Drexel University and a master's degree in information resources and library science from the University of Arizona.




iSchool hosts INDABA featuring alumni leaders of color

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:02:45 +0000

The iSchool is hosting a special three-day gathering, INDABA: Conquering Racism, from April 27-29. All are invited, and remote participants can join online.  The Indaba, which is a Zulu word used in South Africa to describe an important conference or discussion to address a problem, will bring together alumni of color to talk with the iSchool community about their experiences as students, job seekers, and professionals. One of the goals is to develop recommendations for welcoming more African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans into the School and related professions. The event will include presentations, panels, and sessions on conquering racism in libraries and other professions as well as culturally responsive pedagogy—what it is, why it matters, and how to incorporate it into the classroom. It will begin with a conversation with Jessie Carney Smith (PhD '64), dean of the library and Camille Cosby Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Fisk University. Smith, the first African American to earn a PhD in library science from Illinois, has been recognized for her work as a librarian, author, and educator by the Council on Library Resources, Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Women's National Book Association, and SAGE Magazine. Among her numerous awards, she received the iSchool Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1990. "How unfortunate it is that in 2018 we are still exploring ways to conquer racism," Smith said. "It is equally unfortunate that far too many people fail to understand the multitude of ways that racism manifests itself. How does one know that he/she is a racist? With this Indaba, the iSchool takes an important step toward addressing a critical problem, and all of us can be rewarded if the solutions that we propose actually work. The task is challenging, but one that must be addressed. I welcome the opportunity to become a part of a possible solution." The organizers of the Indaba are the iSchool's Diversity Committee, chaired by Associate Professor Kate Williams, and Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke, who also serves as program director for the MS in library and information science. "In a sense the Indaba has already begun, in small discussions and in classes," said Williams. "From this it's clear that we aren't so much conquering—which is itself a word of domination—as we are revealing, facing, and setting out to dismantle and end the racism that keeps our School and profession too white. In just two years, more than half of U.S. children will be other than 'non-Hispanic white.' How will we serve them if we aren't representative and don't understand?" "I'm looking forward to sharing culturally responsive pedagogy with the iSchool community. I hope they will get as much inspiration from it as I have," Cooke said. Other iSchool alumni—all from the near Midwest—who will be sharing their experiences and expertise at the Indaba include: Chris Hamb (MS '04), owner of Chrisp Media Kathryn Harris (MS '71), librarian for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Héctor Hernández (MS '78), branch manager for the Chicago Public Library Jerry Lewis (MS '99), acquisitions and systems librarian for the William J. Campbell Library of the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit Saundra Murray Nettles (MS '68), professor of education at the University of Illinois Miguel Ruíz (MS '13), Latino engagement library for the Evanston Public Library Robert Wedgeworth (MS '61), emeritus dean of libraries for Columbia University and the University of Illinois Kellee E. Warren (MS '15), instructor and special collections librarian for the Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago The sessions on April 29 are sponsored by a Provost's Initiative on Teaching Advancement grant from Illinois. The Indaba is free and open to all. Registration is encouraged, as meals will be provided. [...]



Game studies symposium features iSchool researchers

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:02:35 +0000

(image) iSchool faculty and alumni played an active role in the Playful by Design Spring Symposium, which took place April 5-7 on the Urbana campus. The symposium, organized by the Playful by Design Research Cluster, included presentations and panel discussions as well as a new exhibit at the Spurlock Museum, movie screening, keynote address, and games and gaming make-a-thon. The event was sponsored by the iSchool, Illinois Informatics Institute, Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning, Spurlock Museum, CU Community FabLab, and Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.

Teaching Associate Professor David Dubin was a featured speaker at the opening event at the Spurlock Museum on April 5. Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem and Associate Professor Jerome McDonough joined Dubin on the gaming history panel on April 6, and iSchool alumni Kaity Bequette (MS '14) and Jeff Ginger (PhD '15) contributed to the symposium and the April 7 make-a-thon on behalf of CUDO Plays and the Community FabLab, respectively.

On the panel, Hoiem presented the puzzles, alphabet cards, word games, and science games that nineteenth-century educators used to make learning fun for young people. Hoiem’s research investigates the beliefs of the time about social class and how children's games reflect cognitive theories supporting that children learn through the senses. McDonough addressed the history of computer games and the problems inherent in trying to preserve computer games as complex technological, and social, objects. His research focuses on the sociotechnical aspects of digital libraries, with a particular interest in issues of metadata and description as well as digital preservation of complex media and software.

Dubin presented, "Central Illinois Games and Gamers: Some Highlights of the Last Half Century," which traced connections between local hobby gaming communities in Champaign-Urbana, Normal, and Decatur to research and educational development programs on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University campuses from 1960 to the present.

"In my talk, I discussed how concerns of the time (like the Cold War and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam) and hopes for a brighter future influenced the development of both tabletop games and early computer games. Illinois and ISU students, faculty, academic professionals, alumni, local businesses, and neighbors have collectively created a rich and thriving network of interlinked gaming communities and game development groups," Dubin said.

Dubin, whose research focuses on the foundations of information representation and description, is the organizer of the iSchool Gamers, a weekly gaming meeting for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the iSchool. His Summer I class, Library Gaming Programs (IS 590LG), covers the design, implementation, assessment, marketing, and sustainment of gaming programs in public, school, and academic libraries as well as other community or institutional settings. The class surveys games for different demographic groups and explores methods for the integration of gaming with other library programming. 




Diesner co-chairs workshop on social sensing

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 14:50:35 +0000

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner is the program co-chair of the 3rd International Workshop on Social Sensing (SocialSens 2018). The workshop will be held on April 17 in Orlando, in conjunction with the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things Design and Implementation (IoTDI 2018). SocialSens 2018 will bring together researchers and engineers from academia, industry, and government to present recent advances in social sensing, as described on the website: Social sensing has emerged as a new paradigm for collecting sensory measurements by means of "crowd-sourcing" sensory data collection tasks to a human population. Humans can act as sensor carriers (e.g., carrying GPS devices that share location data), sensor operators (e.g., taking pictures with smart phones), or as sensors themselves (e.g., sharing their observations on Twitter). The proliferation of sensors in the possession of the average individual, together with the popularity of social networks that allow massive information dissemination, heralds an era of social sensing that brings about new research challenges and opportunities in this emerging field. Two peer-reviewed contributions that Diesner coauthored with Illinois students will be presented by the student lead authors at the workshop:   Informatics doctoral candidate Ankit Rai will present the paper, "Identification of Landscape Preferences by Using Social Media Analysis," coauthored with University of Illinois colleagues Karrie Karahalios, affiliated faculty member and associate professor of computer science, and Yicheng Sun, computer science master's student, as well as Barbara Minsker, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Southern Methodist University. The paper addresses how they labeled text comments from Flickr, Instagram, and Twitter to train a lexicon-based sentiment classification model for predicting people's sentiments about green infrastructures, a specific landscape element. They found a strong correlation (77%) between text-based sentiments from social media and image-based landscape preferences.  iSchool doctoral student Ly Dinh will present a visions abstract, "Realizing the Full Potential of (Infra-)Structures for Inter-agency Communication Before, and After Disasters Using the Example of APAN (All Partners Access Network)." The paper offers insights to improving situational awareness in disaster management by proposing a unified and decentralized online communication platform that connects response agencies at the local, state, federal, volunteer, and international levels using the Department of Defense's social networking platform, APAN. Through several case studies of actual disaster events that utilized APAN, the authors aim to analyze the interaction dynamics between individuals and agencies before, during, and after disaster and ultimately to determine the most optimal socio-technical and communication (infra-)structures for facilitating interactions among all stakeholders involved in disaster management.  Diesner's research in human-centered data science and computational social sciences combines methods from network science, natural language processing and machine learning with theories from the social sciences, humanities and linguistics to advance knowledge and discovery about interaction-based and information-based systems. Recognition for her research expertise includes appointments as the "CIO Scholar for Information Research & Technology" at Illinois (2018), faculty fellow at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at Illinois (2015), and as a research fellow in the Dori J. Maynard Senior Research Fellows program (2016), a collaboration of The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She holds a PhD from the Computation, Organizations and Society (COS) program at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science. [...]



iSchool coordinates IMLS-funded forum on data mining research

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:07:35 +0000

(image) A group of cross-disciplinary experts gathered in Chicago on April 5 and 6 for a national forum on text data mining research. The forum, Data Mining Research Using In-copyright and Limited-access Text Datasets, was coordinated by iSchool faculty and staff and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (grant LG-73-17-0070-17). 

Principal Investigator Bertram Ludäscher, professor and director of the iSchool’s Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS), led the effort with co-principal investigators Megan Senseney, CIRSS research scientist; Beth Sandore Namachchivaya, university librarian at the University of Waterloo; and investigator Eleanor Dickson, visiting digital humanities specialist for the HathiTrust Research Center.

"Our goal in convening a forum around text data mining with use-limited data is to situate academic libraries within a much broader landscape, articulate points of convergence and divergence among key stakeholder groups, and set forth a strategy for libraries to expand their research data services to include support frameworks for text data mining," explained Senseney.
 
"Our recommendations, forthcoming as an ACRL white paper, will focus not only on gaining access to these data but also on strategies for documenting and disseminating workflows and hosting and preserving research outputs," she said.

The local advisory committee included the following iSchool faculty: Professor and Associate Dean for Research J. Stephen Downie, Assistant Professor Jana Diesner, Associate Professor Victoria Stodden, and Professor Ted Underwood. Other members included Daniel Tracy (MS '12), information science/digital humanities librarian and assistant professor at the University Library; Melissa Cragin (PhD '09), adjunct assistant professor and executive director of the NCSA Midwest Big Data Hub; Scott Althaus, affiliated faculty member and Merriam Professor in Political Science, professor of communication, and director of the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research; and master's student Sara Benson, copyright librarian and assistant professor at the University Library.




Cooke to deliver keynote at University of South Carolina event showcasing diversity

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 18:10:20 +0000

Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research Panel and Luncheon at the University of South Carolina. The event, which is hosted by the University's College of Information and Communications, will be held on April 13.

In her talk, "Acknowledging History in Order to Disrupt it: Unearthing the Segregated History of Library and Information Science," Cooke will discuss examples of segregation in LIS, highlighting her research concerning The Carnegie Scholars, a group of thirty graduate students who attended the University of Illinois in the early 1970s. She will stress the importance of celebrating the success stories of people of color who are changing the profession as well as learning from mistakes of the past.

Cooke holds a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University. She is an expert in human information behavior, particularly in the online context; critical cultural information studies; and diversity and social justice in librarianship with an emphasis on LIS education and pedagogy. Cooke is the 2017 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award as well as 2016 recipient of the ALA Equality Award. She is the author of Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals (Libraries Unlimited, 2016) and co-editor with Miriam E. Sweeney (PhD '13) of Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom (Litwin Books/Library Juice Press, 2017).




Get to know Katie Dunneback (MS ’03), librarian and romance writer

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 14:18:33 +0000

Librarian and writer Katie Dunneback (MS '03) became a fan of romance novels at the age of twelve, after reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. She started her first novel in college, at the advice of her anthropology professor, and after graduation became involved in Romance Writers of America (RWA). Dunneback recently received a 2018 RWA Service Award in recognition of her volunteer service to the association. "Being in RWA and a part of the romance community at large has helped shaped the adult I am today," she said. Where do you work and what is your role? I currently work as a senior selection librarian for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress. What do you like best about your job? It's really hard to pick one thing, but I especially enjoy being a part of the team that helps make leisure and lifelong learning titles available to people who cannot see regular print or handle print materials. Why did you decide to pursue a degree in LIS? I earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology with a concentration in forensics but was unable to find a job in this field. I ended up pursuing an LIS degree in part because of family tradition. My great-aunt worked at the DePaul University library, and a multitude of family members ended up working for her. Of those family members, my mom was the only one besides my great-aunt who earned an LIS degree, and I attended my first LIS courses while in utero. You could say it was fate. I really should have known I'd be a librarian when I ran an underground library comprised of my romance novels and VHS collections out of my dorm room. How did the iSchool help you get to where you are today? It gave me the confidence to advocate for the romance genre in the library community. When I started, Fred Schlipf was on a hiatus from teaching the Adult Popular Literature class and there were no current plans to reinstate it. I wasn’t happy to hear this and started a petition to have the class brought back to the schedule. It was successful, and Fred and Mary Wilkes Towner cotaught the class the following semester. I was able to professionalize my love of reading and talking with readers about books they love and turn it into a career. What advice would you like to share with iSchool students? Keep your eyes open for opportunities. I had no clue my current job existed until I was in a position of needing a job and was haunting all of the job sites I could find. It is a unicorn of a job, and I love it. Also, don't be afraid to network! I've had many opportunities come my way thanks to relationships I've fostered both through conference attendance and being active on various social media sites. I’d love to help foster the next generation of romance-loving librarians, so if anyone's looking for a mentor, hit me up!  katied.wordpress.com What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? In addition to my day job, I'm also working as a self-published author. This means I wear all of the hats from the creative side to the production side. When I do carve out time away from a writing project, I can usually be found reading, knitting, cooking, or baking. [...]



Website celebrates achievements of University of Illinois women

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 17:01:16 +0000

Adapted from a University of Illinois News Bureau press release A new website celebrating the accomplishments that women have made during the University of Illinois' 150-year history includes three women with iSchool connections. The website, 150 for 150: Celebrating the Accomplishments of Women at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is part of the U of I's sesquicentennial celebration. The website highlights women who have made significant achievements as students, faculty members, staff, or alumni. It is a collaboration of the Gender Equity Council, whose mission is to foster a gender-equitable and inclusive climate for faculty, and the University Library. Cindy Ingold, gender and multicultural services librarian and chair of the Gender Equity Council, oversaw the project. She said the women were selected through nominations; through research in the University Archives; and in consultation with experts on the history of the University, including archivists and Professor Emeritus Winton Solberg. The accomplishments of the women featured include leadership, pioneering achievements, and distinguished service in careers both within and outside the University community. The website is divided by decades and includes a description of each woman's achievements. Ingold said many of the women were early champions for the inclusion of more women in their fields. The iSchool women featured on the website include: Katharine Lucinda Sharp completed her library science degree at the New York State Library School in 1892 under the tutelage of Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal system of library classification. At the recommendation of Dewey, Katharine served as founding director and university librarian for the first library science program in the Midwest at the Armour Institute in Chicago in 1893. Four years later, the program moved to Urbana and was renamed the Illinois State Library School. Katharine created the first curriculum and built a firm foundation for the school, establishing a program of excellence that remains to this day. Linda C. Smith (MS '72) received her PhD from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University in 1979. Linda returned to the iSchool as an assistant professor in 1977. Currently a full professor, she has served as interim dean and acting dean for the School and has been associate dean for academic programs since 1997. Linda has held positions in many professional organizations, including serving as president of both the Association for Information Science and Technology and the Association for Library and Information Science Education. Lian Ruan (MS '90, PhD '11) joined the University of Illinois in 1999, becoming the head librarian of the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI). Beginning in 2005, Lian has led the IFSI Chinese Librarians Scholarly Exchange Program which has trained more than 340 librarians from all over China. Her awards include the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award and the Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award.  [...]



Conkling wins 2018 ACRL WGSS Career Achievement Award

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 13:55:37 +0000

(image) Diedre Conkling (MS '79), director of the Lincoln County Library District, has been selected as the 2018 winner of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) Career Achievement Award. The award honors significant long-standing contributions to women and gender studies in the field of librarianship over the course of a career.

A plaque and $750 award, donated by Duke University Press, will be presented to Conkling at a WGSS event during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

"Diedre Conkling has been the linchpin that holds together the collective women's groups in ALA, including WGSS, the Feminist Task Force (FTF), the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL), and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) Women Administrator's Discussion Group," said award chair Dolores Fidishun, head librarian at Penn State Abington. "Over the years, as the coordinator of FTF, she has partnered with chairs of WGSS and COSWL to plan and present the annual Introduction to Women's Issues program."

"As a longtime member of ALA Council and the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), Conkling has continuously brought women's issues to the forefront of our organization," continued Fidishun. "She has served as an inspiration and mentor to many of us in the association. Through her activism she has demonstrated the power of women's voices in ALA and in the world, always asking the important questions and looking for ways to move women's agendas forward in ALA."

"As one nominator wrote, 'In whatever position she held at the moment – COSWL chair, FTF coordinator, SRRT coordinator, or simply committed librarian – she worked to bring together academic, public, school, and other librarians and library workers who shared a desire to focus on women's issues in ALA and in libraries,'" said Fidishun. "For her leadership in bringing light to women's and gender issues in our profession, we are proud to honor her with the WGSS Career Achievement Award."




Knox to discuss trigger warnings at SAIC

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 13:50:48 +0000

Assistant Professor Emily Knox will give a presentation on trigger warnings on April 9 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Her talk, "Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context," will provide an overview of the multiple histories of trigger warnings as well as context for understanding how and why trigger warnings are used.

Trigger warnings are intended to alert readers that posts might "trigger" strong responses in those who had previously experienced trauma. The use of trigger warnings in university classrooms has been a subject of debate in recent years. According to Knox, as trigger warnings are a somewhat poorly understood method of communication, it is not surprising that they are controversial. 

"I'm looking forward to discussing trigger warnings with a community that is quite different from the iSchool," Knox said of her upcoming talk in Chicago. "Art is increasingly scrutinized in our political climate and I’m excited to discuss the implications of applying trigger warnings to non-textual works at SAIC."

Knox joined the iSchool faculty in 2012. Her research interests include intellectual freedom and censorship, the intersection of print culture and reading practices, and information ethics and policy. She recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context (2017), published by Rowman & Littlefield. Her previous book, Book Banning in 21st-Century America, also published by Rowman & Littlefield (2015), addresses challenges to materials in public libraries and schools. Knox serves on the boards of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), Freedom to Read Foundation, and National Coalition Against Censorship.




Stodden to discuss reproducibility at University of Delaware

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 17:03:26 +0000

Associate Professor Victoria Stodden will present her research on reproducibility at the University of Delaware Department of Computer & Information Sciences Distinguished Speaker Lecture on April 6. The theme for the lecture series is "rising stars in a scientific world of convergence."

According to Stodden, the rate of production, collection, and analysis of data, and the speed at which computational infrastructure is changing (e.g., technologies for cloud computing, network capabilities, and high performance computing systems) implies a need for extreme agility in computationally enabled research. 

"In my talk, 'The Science of Computational Reproducibility,' I will outline a research agenda for the science of reproducibility that responds to the opportunities created by this rapid evolution in research environments, addressing reliability and robustness of machine learning discoveries, quantification of variability in data and cyberinfrastructure on scientific findings, and new facets of the research pipeline that impact our ability to generalize and use the products of scientific research."

Stodden's research addresses a wide range of topics, including standards of openness for data and code sharing, legal and policy barriers to disseminating reproducible research, robustness in replicated findings, cyberinfrastructure to enable reproducibility, and scientific publishing practices. She serves as an associate editor for reproducibility for the Journal of the American Statistical Society and serves on the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Coordinating Committee.

At Illinois, she holds affiliate appointments at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NSCA), College of Law, Department of Statistics, and Department of Computer Science. Stodden earned both her PhD in statistics and her law degree from Stanford University.




The Horn Book pays tribute to Betsy Hearne

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 13:20:24 +0000

Professor Emerita Betsy Hearne, former director of The Center for Children's Books, taught children's literature and storytelling at the iSchool for many years. She is the author of Choosing Books for Children: A Commonsense Guide, the folktale anthology Beauties and Beasts, fiction for both children and young adults, and picture books—one of which, Seven Brave Women, won the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. Hearne has reviewed books for almost forty years and has served as the children's book editor for Booklist and The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB). Her honors include a National Teaching Award from the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award from the Children’s Literature Association, and the University Scholar Award and Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award from the University of Illinois. Next month Hearne will receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from her alma mater, The College of Wooster. Below is a tribute to Betsy from Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, entitled "My Boss Betsy," which appeared on The Horn Book website.  As a student, I only knew Betsy Hearne from her occasional swanning in to talk to Zena about her dissertation in progress, a history and analysis of "Beauty and the Beast," from Cupid and Psyche to Robin McKinley*. Betsy was then children's book editor of Booklist, where she had been reviewing since 1968. But everyone knew she was the Chosenest One of All, and that Zena expected Betsy to take over her professorship and her beloved BCCB when Zena was compelled to retire in 1985 (mandatory retirement being still legal in those days). The relationship between Zena and Betsy would eventually become fraught–given circumstances and the strong personalities, how could it not?–but back in the early 80s, Betsy could do no wrong and was constantly held up by Zena as a role model for the rest of us. It was like having an older sister who did everything better than you did. While Zena regularly knocked Horn Book, SLJ, and Kirkus, Booklist she respected, because Betsy, along with Barbara Elleman, was running the children’s side of things. And Betsy returned the respect and affection, initiating the funding for the Zena Sutherland Lecture (May 4 this year, Rita Williams-Garcia, Chicago Public Library) with a festschrift for Zena, Celebrating Children’s Books, co-edited by Betsy and fellow Zena-student Marilyn Kaye and published in 1981 by Lothrop, #bringitback. So Betsy took over in 1985, with Zena still very much on the scene as the now associate editor of BCCB, member of the Advisory Committee, and chair of the Scott O'Dell Award. Betsy hired me in 1988 and we worked together for the next eight years. I have never had a better boss nor known a more generous and expert reviewer. Most reviewers excel (when they excel) at one or two things: they are practical, or maybe they’re deep; they write smartly about YA novels or poetry; they know a lot about dinosaurs, or they have the rare gift of writing well about pictures. Betsy could do all of it, at whatever length a book and the journal required, and she is the most respectful observer of deadlines I know. And respectful, always, of the books she reviewed. Writing a nasty review is easy; it’s much tougher to praise a book without boring your reader into a coma by the use of words like charming, beautiful, and interesting, the three words Betsy cautioned her students would be "allowed on a one-time basis only." Betsy’s understanding of the way books work is informed by her understanding of the way books are written–I don’t know a person with greater empathy for the writer’s heart. Betsy was the first to make me aware of th[...]



Tracy honored for outstanding scholarship in library publishing

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 21:36:59 +0000


As participation in library publishing grows, the development of a strong evidence base to inform best practices and demonstrate impact is essential. To encourage research and theoretical work about library publishing services, the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) gives an annual Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing. The award recognizes significant and timely contributions to library publishing theory and practice.

The LPC Research Committee is delighted to announce that this year's award recipient is Daniel G. Tracy (MS '12), information science and digital humanities librarian at the iSchool and assistant professor at the University Library, for his article, "Libraries as Content Producers: How Library Publishing Services Address the Reading Experience." The work is an excellent discussion of an important and timely issue. With the growing interest in nascent open source publishing platforms, this research on how library publishers can design for and respond to readers' experiences is important. Tracy's article provides a snapshot of current practices and a baseline for future activities for library publishers to assess and improve the experience for readers of their publications. 

"I am honored to be selected for the Library Publishing Coalition Award for Outstanding Research," Tracy said. "LPC is playing an important role in fostering conversation and forward momentum among library publishing programs, and I have admired its efforts in this area. The research that led to this article was motivated by a desire to see more public conversations of users of library publications and publishing platforms feed back into design. Libraries have a strong tradition of studying users of information systems, and events like the Library Publishing Forum are great opportunities to move that work forward in relation to new and evolving publishing programs."

Tracy's work will be formally recognized at the 2018 Library Publishing Forum in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He will receive a cash award of $250, travel support to attend the Forum, and an opportunity to share his work with the community.




McCarthy receives innovation award

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 13:09:54 +0000

(image) iSchool master's student Mark McCarthy received the 2018 Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award at this spring's Innovation Celebration, hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and community sponsors. The award recognizes “an individual or team from the University of Illinois that has channeled their experience living with a disability into positive change through the creation of new products, environments, or protocols that enhance quality of life.”

McCarthy was honored for his Access Illinois web app, which integrates existing accessibility maps on campus with Google Maps, allowing individuals to discover walking directions to a destination and the locations of accessible entrances, classrooms, and restrooms. The app earned his team first place at HackCulture, a humanities-focused hackathon held last year at the University Library.

"This award is due in large part to my iSchool professors and other mentors for helping me to achieve things I never thought possible," McCarthy said. "I also want to thank my colleagues and close friends Matt Arensdorf (Computer Science) and Emily Chen (Linguistics) for their hard work on making Access Illinois what it is. Without them, it never would've been done."

"I hope this can serve as an example of the many things that are possible here at the iSchool and the University as a whole. We plan further development still, aiming to add more functionality to the web app."

McCarthy received his bachelor's degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Illinois and minored in informatics and Asian American studies. He would like to work in user experience and accessible information architecture after finishing his master's degree in information management.

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McDowell honored for online teaching

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 14:00:53 +0000

Associate Professor Kate McDowell is the 2018 recipient of the Excellence in Online & Distance Teaching Award, given annually by the University of Illinois. The award recognizes faculty members and instructors who have demonstrated sustained excellence and innovation in online and/or distance teaching and contributions to student learning through innovative uses of technology. She will receive the award at the University’s Celebration of Teaching Excellence on April 12.

McDowell's online courses at the iSchool include Literature and Resources for Children (IS 303/403); Literature and Resources for Young Adults (IS 304/404); Youth Services Librarianship (IS 406/506); Storytelling (IS 409); Fantasy Literature and Media for Youth (IS 590VV/446); Youth Services Community Engagement (IS 490YS); and Libraries, Information, and Society (IS 502).

According to nominator Linda C. Smith, professor and executive associate dean, McDowell "is unique among our faculty in teaching such a range of courses online, ensuring in particular that our online students interested in youth services have a rich array of high-quality courses from which to choose. She has continually adapted her online instruction, given changes in the technology available."

McDowell has taught online since 1999 as a teaching assistant, adjunct faculty, and tenure-track faculty member. She was one of the first faculty members in the School to pilot a hybrid/dual-mode for a course—Youth Services Community Engagement—with a virtual classroom where online students participate via Blackboard Collaborate and on-campus students participate from a campus classroom.

To encourage interaction between on-campus and online students in her Storytelling course, she created rehearsal groups that meet in online chat rooms outside of the class period. Master’s student Elisabeth Isbell, who took McDowell’s Storytelling class online, called it the best course she has taken so far. She especially appreciated having a rehearsal group to practice public speaking and the opportunity to practice using her microphone and video feed before storytelling in class.

"Professor McDowell's use of breakout rooms helped me engage with and get to know other students, which is not always easy in an online format," explained Isbell. "While it was difficult at first to tell a story to an invisible and silent audience, I always received incredibly useful feedback from Professor McDowell and my fellow classmates that helped me improve my storytelling through the duration of the class."

"Interaction is my pathway to impactful online pedagogy. My goal has always been to reach students online with the same depth of content and quality of interaction as students in a graduate seminar," McDowell said.
 
McDowell received her master's and doctoral degrees from the iSchool at Illinois and her BA in general studies from New College in Sarasota, Florida. She regularly appears on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent issued by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus each semester.