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Graduate School of Library and Information Science - University of Illinois


Jiang and Mishra to present natural language processing research at COLING16

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:18:45 +0000

Doctoral students Ming Jiang and Shubhanshu Mishra will present research papers at the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING), which will be held December 11-16 in Osaka, Japan. The COLING conference, held every two years, is one of the top international conferences in the field of natural language processing and computational linguistics, which covers research topics such as question answering, text summarization, information extraction, discourse structure, and more.  Jiang will present a paper coauthored with Assistant Professor Jana Diesner titled, "Says Who...? Identification of Expert versus Layman Critics’ Reviews of Documentary Films." Abstract: We extend classic review mining work by building a binary classifier that predicts whether a review of a documentary film was written by an expert or a layman with 90.70% accuracy (F1 score), and compare the characteristics of the predicted classes. A variety of standard lexical and syntactic features was used for this supervised learning task. Our results suggest that experts write comparatively lengthier and more detailed reviews that feature more complex grammar and a higher diversity in their vocabulary. Layman reviews are more subjective and contextualized in peoples’ everyday lives. Our error analysis shows that laymen are about twice as likely to be mistaken as experts than vice versa. We argue that the type of author might be a useful new feature for improving the accuracy of predicting the rating, helpfulness and authenticity of reviews. Finally, the outcomes of this work might help researchers and practitioners in the field of impact assessment to gain a more fine-grained understanding of the perception of different types of media consumers and reviewers of a topic, genre or information product. During the COLING16 workshop on noisy user-generated text (WNUT), Mishra will present a paper coauthored with Diesner titled, "Semi-supervised Named Entity Recognition in noisy-text."  Abstract: Named entity recognition (NER) has played an immense role in improving information retrieval, text mining, and text based network construction. However, the most of the existing NER techniques are based on syntactically correct news corpus data, and hence don’t give good results on noisy data such as tweets because of issues like spelling errors, concept drifts, and few context words. In this paper, we describe our submission to the WNUT 2016 NER shared task, and also present an improvement over it using a semi-supervised approach. Our models are based on linear chain conditional random fields (CRFs), and use BIEOU NER chunking scheme, features based on word clusters and pre-trained distributed word representations; updated gazetteer features; global context predictions; and random feature dropout for up-sampling the training data. These approaches alleviate many issues related to NER on noisy data by allowing the meaning of new or rare tokens to be ingested into the system, while using existing training samples to improve the model.  Diesner joined the iSchool faculty in 2012 and is a 2015-2016 faculty fellow in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at Illinois. Her research in social computing combines theories and methods from natural language processing, social network analysis, and machine learning. In her lab, she and her students develop and advance computational solutions that help people to measure and understand the interplay of information and socio-technical networks. They also bring these solutions into various application context, e.g. in the domain of impact assessment. [...]

Stodden to discuss reproducibility at Columbia symposium

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:46:00 +0000

Associate Professor Victoria Stodden will present her research at A University Symposium: Promoting Credibility, Reproducibility and Integrity in Research on December 9 at Columbia University. Hosted by Columbia's Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and other New York City research institutions, the symposium will bring together leading experts, journal editors, funders, and researchers to discuss how issues of reproducibility and research integrity are being handled by institutions, journals, and federal agencies.  

Stodden will participate in the session, "Repeat After Me: Current Issues in Reproducibility," with Jeffrey Drazen, editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine; Hany Farid, professor and chair of computer science at Dartmouth; Leonard Freeman, president of the Global Biological Standards Institute; and Londa Schiebinger, John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science at Stanford. Stodden and the other experts will present examples of irreproducibility from their various disciplines and discuss ways of identifying, managing and avoiding such problems.

According to Stodden, several reasons exist for irreproducibility in empirical research, including, but not limited to, small study sizes, early or novel research without previously established evidence, poorly designed protocols that permit flexibility during the study, conflicts of interest, publication bias, and statistical biases.

Stodden is a leading figure in the area of reproducibility in computational science, exploring how we can better ensure the reliability and usefulness of scientific results in the face of increasingly sophisticated computational approaches to research. Her work 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 was recently invited to serve 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. She also holds a master's degree in economics from the University of British Columbia and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Ottawa.

Report proposes standards for sharing data and code used in computational studies

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:45:51 +0000

Reporting new research results involves detailed descriptions of methods and materials used in an experiment. But when a study uses computers to analyze data, create models or simulate things that can’t be tested in a lab, how can other researchers see what steps were taken or potentially reproduce results?

A new report by prominent leaders in computational methods and reproducibility lays out recommendations for ways researchers, institutions, agencies and journal publishers can work together to standardize sharing of data sets and software code. The paper "Enhancing reproducibility for computational methods" appears in the journal Science.

"We have a real issue in disclosure and reporting standards for research that involves computation – which is basically all research today," said Victoria Stodden, a University of Illinois professor of information science and the lead author of the paper. "The standards for putting enough information out there with your findings so that other researchers in the area are able to understand and potentially replicate your work were developed before we used computers."

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"It is becoming increasingly accepted for researchers to value open data standards as an essential part of modern scholarship, but it is nearly impossible to reproduce results from original data without the authors' code," said Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences and a co-corresponding author of the study. "This policy forum makes recommendations to enable practical and useful code sharing."

Sharing complete computational methods – data, code, parameters and the specific steps taken to arrive at the results – is difficult for researchers because there are no standards or guides to refer to, Stodden said. It's an extra step for busy researchers to incorporate into their reporting routine, and even if someone wants to share their data or code, there are questions of how to format and document it, where to store it and how to make it accessible.

The report makes seven specific recommendations, such as documenting digital objects and making them retrievable, open licensing, placing links to datasets and workflows in scientific articles, and reproducibility checks before publication in a scholarly journal.

The authors hope that disclosing computational methods will not only allow other researchers to verify and reproduce results, but also to build upon studies that have been done, such as performing different analyses with a dataset or using an established workflow with new data.

"Things like how you prepped your data – what you did with outliers or how you normalized variables, all the things that are standard in data analysis – can make a big impact on results," Stodden said. "Some researchers make code and data accessible on point of principle, so it's possible. But it takes time. We know it's hard, but in this report we're trying to say in a very productive and positive way that data, code and workflows need to be part of what gets disclosed as a scientific finding."

2016 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award given to Wendy Campbell

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:33:40 +0000

In a small town in western Montana, Wendy Campbell turned a difficult situation into an opportunity to show her fellow citizens how libraries are vital to communities as safe places for education and communication. For her efforts, Campbell, director of the Darby Community Public Library, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, given annually by the faculty of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cosponsored by Libraries Unlimited. Earlier this year, the Darby Library hosted a series of lifelong learning cultural programs for its service community of 4,000 people. As described in Campbell’s article in American Libraries, one of the three programs, “Perspectives on Islam,” sparked strong protest by several community members. In response, Campbell met with the library board and spoke with several groups—including library staff and volunteers, library patrons, community leaders, the local school board, high school teachers and administration, the county sheriff’s office, the state librarian, and the Office for Intellectual Freedom—to find a way to hold the program and help expand cultural awareness in her community. The commitment she received from these groups supported her steadfast efforts. Campbell's unwavering resolve to turn the controversial event into a success paid off. On March 9, 2016, so many people turned out for the presentation by Samir Bitar, a lecturer of Arabic language and cultures at the University of Montana, that library officials were forced to turn back the overflow at the door. Campbell set the stage with her welcome: Libraries are vital to our communities as safe places for education and communication. This program is one of three in a series on historical and contemporary cultures. Tonight we learn of the culture of Islam. I will be honest with you that the culture is intrinsically tied to its religion, so you will also learn of this religion tonight. Libraries do not promote or condemn. We offer opportunities for education. It is a safe place where we come together for respectful and peaceful discourse. James LaRue, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, noted in his letter nominating Campbell for the award, “At a time when libraries are seeking greater civic engagement, at a time when many of us are looking for more meaningful and dignified discourse, Campbell’s approach proved to be definitive: the speaker was welcomed warmly, listened to attentively, and questioned respectfully. The library, meanwhile, secured its position in the community as a force for education that neither promoted nor condemned various ideas, but provided a safe and courteous forum for their consideration.” A reception to honor Campbell will take place during the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in Room A-703 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Libraries Unlimited provides an honorarium for the recipient and cosponsors the reception. The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award is given annually to acknowledge individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or long-term interest in, and dedication to, the cause of intellectual freedom. The award was established in 1969 by the iSchool’s faculty to honor Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the School. With Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, assuming cosponsorship of the award in 2012, ABC-CLIO has been d[...]

Get to know Kayleigh Van Poolen, CAS student

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:45:14 +0000

S.K. (Kayleigh) Van Poolen is a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) student who has advanced degrees in political science, urban planning, information sciences, and law. On November 15, Van Poolen's talk, "Started with a Hurricane Named Katrina," won third place at the 2016 Research Live! competition sponsored by the Graduate College. In the Q&A below, she explains her interest in social and economic justice and her decision to return to Illinois. Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois for your MS/LIS, and what made you decide to return for your CAS? How I ended up in the iSchool in the first place is a bit of a story. I took an hourly position in the Main Library and was asked to stay on, working on several projects. I intended to head off to law school, so I planned to turn down the Library’s offer initially. But after some discussions with my supervisor, I was convinced to stay and completed my master’s at the iSchool while working at the Library. Then I headed to law school, and Hurricane Katrina hit the very first weekend of classes. Because of Katrina, I started extensive work related to social and economic justice. However, upon graduation, life took me for a ride, and I found myself wandering and still searching. As I told one of my iSchool professors, I returned to what I knew, the iSchool. And although many students take the step into the CAS realm shortly after their master’s work, I just did it quite a bit later—over six years later. And when one takes a risk, it helps to take that risk at a school with reputation I knew and a curriculum that had some familiarity. What particular topics interest you most? I pursued social and economic justice projects while in law school and will continue to do so with information science. Thanks to a meeting that included a data science related topic, I have added data science to my interests, building on my days in IT and project management as well as my academics in law. I see data science as a critical aspect of social and economic justice and intend to combine both worlds whenever possible.  What do you do outside of class? I work, and I research. After being out of academics for a while, I spend little time doing anything but class and research-related activities. I took on a practicum this semester, in addition to a full-time course load and GA position with the Law Library, so that has taken up a substantial amount of time. I have spent any available time on research-related activities, pursuing grants, presentation opportunities, conferences . . . pretty much everything, outside of family, is focused on research and job possibilities. In the past, when time permitted, I painted, mostly with acrylic and watercolor; designed jewelry; and volunteered with arts, sciences, and various community-oriented programs. I also play the bass, although that is strictly an in-house activity at this point. What career plans or goals do you have? Ideally, I would love to work for a social/economic justice organization, independent or part of a University, to advocate as well as support their research needs. I am also looking for law schools that have active pro bono and public interest law programs where I can support related research needs. The legal field and law schools are starting to grasp data; instead of limiting data science to the benefit of firms, we need to be outward-looking and use data science to determine policy and legislation as well as advocacy that supports our communities. One thing my journey has taught me is this: you can plan and plan and plan . . . and then something entirely different takes place. Essentially, I am open to possibilities because very little of what I have ever planned worked out "according to plan." [...]

HTRC releases new dataset with features extracted from over 13 million volumes

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:43:51 +0000

Unique in its sheer size and breadth, a new open dataset released by the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) will provide researchers with access to otherwise restricted information. The HTRC Extracted Features (EF) Dataset reports quantitative counts of words, lines, parts of speech, and other details extracted from each page of the more than thirteen million volumes found in the HathiTrust Digital Library. 

An earlier release of the EF Dataset, drawn from a subset covering only the five million volumes in HathiTrust's public domain collection, has enabled novel research from scholars in economics, history, linguistics, literary studies, and sociology, among other fields. The new EF dataset, released under a Creative Commons Attribution license, provides access to features drawn from the remaining eight million volumes that otherwise would be unavailable to scholars because of copyright restrictions.

"Right now, many arguments about literary history come to a stop in 1923. Most works after that date are still covered by copyright in the U.S., so it has been very difficult to organize digital collections that would allow us to survey a broad, representative sample of writing. We know there’s a big literary landscape out there, but we can only map it with a flashlight, looking at one book at a time," explained Professor Ted Underwood, one of the dataset's developers. "The extracted features released by HathiTrust Research Center are like turning on the moonlight. For the first time, literary historians will get to survey the whole landscape at once. In order to comply with copyright law, we use only limited data about the books. But there’s still an enormous amount we can learn about literary history."

Underwood has used the dataset to research why novelists spent less time discussing women from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. He found the decline was visible both as a shift in gendered pronouns and in personal names.

"If we expected to see growing gender equality in fiction, we’re actually seeing the reverse," said Underwood. "The overrepresentation of male characters in fiction gets worse all the way down to the 1960s. The trend is visible in works written by men and women alike. A lot more research will be required to understand this phenomenon, but without data from HathiTrust, literary scholars wouldn't even know it existed."

HTRC is a partnership between Indiana University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the HathiTrust. Established in 2011, HTRC develops cutting-edge software tools and cyberinfrastructure to enable advanced computational access to the growing digital record of human knowledge. 

"The HTRC EF Dataset creates opportunities for scholarship and teaching that were previously impossible," said J. Stephen Downie, codirector of the HTRC and professor and associate dean for research at the iSchool. "We look forward to learning how the scholarly community incorporates them into research, labs, and classrooms."

Get to know Henry A. Gabb, PhD student

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:57:30 +0000

An interest in medical informatics led Henry A. Gabb to pursue a doctoral degree in LIS. Gabb's research goal is to mine the vast scientific literature and genetic databases for biomarkers that predict drug efficacy.

Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?

I studied many interesting case studies while working on a master's in medical informatics. At first glance, these cases looked like computer science problems, but on closer inspection turned out to be information science problems. I decided to pursue a doctorate in LIS to see if I could solve some of the problems described in these medical case studies.

Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

I was already living in Champaign. The #1 LIS program was just a few minutes away, so it didn't make sense to look elsewhere.

What particular topics interest you most?

I initially intended to study the problem of undiscovered public knowledge, particularly in medicine, but I got sidetracked by a toxicology problem. There's a lot of interest in the health effects of exposure to environmental chemicals. The EPA, NIH, et al. have published lists of suspected harmful chemicals that have never undergone risk assessment. I'm studying the degree to which these chemicals are present in everyday consumer products. This will help the EPA and NIH prioritize these chemicals and their prevalent combinations for comprehensive risk assessment based on likely consumer exposure. Some of this work was recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

What do you do outside of class?

I'm a frustrated historian, so I like to read anything about medieval history. I like programming, so I'm always looking for a shiny new programming language to try or an interesting problem that can be solved using computers. Apart from that, I go horseback riding with my daughter and watch a lot of college football on weekends.

What career plans or goals do you have?

I rejoined Intel last October after being away for four years. I'm looking forward to applying what I learned at the iSchool to information science problems within Intel.

iSchool cohosting international workshop on digital scholarship centers

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:37:33 +0000

The iSchool and the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong are cohosting the workshop "Digital Scholarship Centers: Building Library Services for Data-Driven Scholarship" from November 28-30 at the University of Hong Kong. Illinois participants include Professor and Dean Allen Renear; Professor J. Stephen Downie, a member of the workshop's organizing committee; iSchool faculty affiliate Harriett Green and her colleagues Eleanor Dickson and Karen Hogenboom from the University Library; and iSchool alumni Nic Weber (PhD '15) from the University of Washington and Xiao Hu (PhD '10) from the University of Hong Kong.

At the three-day workshop, participants will discover how digital scholarship centers support academic research by bringing together hardware, software, and in-person expertise "to empower researchers with the tools, skills, and information resources to incorporate computational methods into their work." Lectures and hands-on labs will share practical strategies for supporting or partnering in digital scholarship. Topics will include text mining, analysis, and data visualization using the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC); spatial humanities; machine learning; data wrangling with OpenRefine; and publishing data on the web.

Downie is codirector of HTRC, a partnership between Indiana University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the HathiTrust. Established in 2011, HTRC develops cutting-edge software tools and cyberinfrastructure to enable advanced computational access to the growing digital record of human knowledge. "I'm thrilled to have the HTRC contribute its expertise to this workshop," Downie said. "It has been an amazing collaboration with colleagues in Hong Kong and Illinois as well as with some of our own alumni."

"This workshop is another example of how the iSchool at Illinois, working with partners from around the world such as the University of Hong Kong, continues to lead the way in exploring how libraries can provide the services needed by scholars applying advanced digital technology in research and education," said Dean Allen Renear, who gave the opening remarks.

Alkalimat to deliver keynote at symposium on African American culture and philosophy

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 14:48:52 +0000

(image) Professor Emeritus Abdul Alkalimat will give the keynote presentation at the 30th Symposium on African American Culture and Philosophy, which will be held from December 1-3 at Purdue University. This year's symposium will explore the "humanity" in the digital humanities as well as Africana/Black studies' perspectives.

In his talk, "The Sankofa Principle: From the Drum to the Digital," Alkalimat will present the results of twenty years of scholarship regarding how digital information technology can change the field of African American Studies. 

"Sankofa is a Twi word from Ghana that means 'go back and fetch it,' emphasizing the role of a historical perspective in epistemology," Alkalimat said. His talk will compare the similarities and differences in the drum and the computer, both being code-generating tools. "Included in this talk will be a discussion of three values that are fundamental to advancing social justice: cyberdemocracy (everyone being connected), collective intelligence, and information freedom."

Alkalimat is a professor emeritus in the iSchool and the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois. He has taught courses addressing the digital divide, Black people and information technology, and African American bibliography.

He is the author of several books, including Introduction to Afro-American Studies, The African American Experience in Cyberspace, and Malcolm X for Beginners. His most recent book, coauthored with iSchool Associate Professor Kate Williams, is Roots and Flowers: The Life and Work of the AfroCuban Librarian Marta Terry Gonzalez (2015). A pioneer of eBlack studies, Alkalimat curates two important websites related to African American history, Malcolm X: A Research Site and eBlack Studies. He moderated the largest African American studies discussion list, H-Afro-Am, from 1998 to 2014. His research interests include digital inequality, community informatics, and African American Intellectual history.

Ana Lucic defends dissertation

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:24:42 +0000

Doctoral candidate Ana Lucic successfully defended her dissertation, "Automatically Identifying Facet Roles from Comparative Structures to Support Biomedical Text Summarization," on November 17.

Her committee includes Associate Professor Catherine Blake, Associate Professor Roxanna Corina Girju (Linguistics), Associate Professor Miles Efron, Professor and Dean Allen Renear, and Professor J. Stephen Downie.

Abstract: Within the context of the articles in biomedical scholarly articles, comparison sentences represent a rhetorical structure commonly used to communicate findings. More generally, comparison sentences are rich with information about how the properties of one or more entities relate to one another. So far, in the biomedical domain, the emphasis has been on the recognition of comparative sentences in the text. This dissertation goes beyond sentence-level recognition and aims to automate the identification of the integral parts of a comparison sentence which are called comparative facets. The work uses the comparative facets from the Claim Framework (Blake, 2010) to identify direct comparisons that contain at least two compared entities, the basis of comparison (the endpoint) and communicate the result. Identifying comparison facets—the main contribution of this work—is a crucial step in the process of generating a comparative summary which constitutes the ultimate goal of this project.

Bettivia examines significance in video game preservation

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 14:39:30 +0000

(image) Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Children playing this educational video game on their school's computer in the 1990s got an entertaining geography lesson while in hot pursuit of Carmen and her villains. Preserving a video game such as this for future generations to study and appreciate involves challenges beyond the obvious fact that computers no longer support the software needed to play the game. In "Where Does Significance Lie: Locating the Significant Properties of Video Games in Preserving Virtual Worlds II Data," Rhiannon Bettivia, a postdoctoral research associate at the iSchool, examines some of the difficulties inherent in video game preservation and comes to the conclusion that existing preservation guidelines need to take into account more than code. Her article was recently published in the International Journal of Digital Curation.

For her research, Bettivia used data from the Preserving Virtual Worlds II (PVWII) grant project, funded in 2010-2012 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which investigated the significant properties of video games and how this information might be useful in facilitating preservation decisions. In addition to interview data and a content analysis of the games studied in the PVWII project, Bettivia looked specifically at Carmen Sandiego, one of the games in PVWII.

She discovered that one of the challenges in video game preservation is that "there is no one type of user or designated video game stakeholder community." The significance of what needs to be preserved in a game varies based on the relationship the user has with a game—gamer, game developer, coder, or archivist. In the case of Carmen Sandiego, the book that accompanied the game was found to be an essential part of the video game that encompassed the gameplay experience.

Bettivia concluded, "Significance exists at a number of different levels: in the code, but also in the computing environment; analog and digital peripherals; and social and cultural experiences of the game, such as particular performances of play or relationships between the game and contemporary world events." Guidelines for the creation of artificial boundaries on "nebulous digital objects like games," marking what is significant and worth preserving, is necessary for their "comprehensive and transparent" preservation.

Ximin Mi (MS '13) emphasizes lifelong learning and collaboration in award-winning video

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 14:28:18 +0000

(image) In her winning video for the Wiley Scholarship for Early Career Librarians, Ximin Mi (MS '13) talks about the importance of lifelong learning—how learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. She put this concept into practice in making the video, which earned her a $1,500 travel grant that she will use to attend the Association of College & Research Libraries Conference in Baltimore this March. The video took about forty hours to make, and Mi’s previous experience was limited.

"My video editing experience didn’t go beyond Windows Movie Maker and iMovie before creating this Wiley video, which was made with Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere," Mi said. "There is definitely a learning curve in picking up the Adobe Suite, but it is not too hard to learn."

Wiley Scholarship applicants had to submit a short video explaining what they learned in a library that they might not have learned in library school and to offer advice to other early-career librarians. In addition to emphasizing the need to keep learning, Mi’s video also stressed the benefits of collaborating with fellow librarians and thinking creatively, "outside of the box," to help library users.

A business data services librarian at Georgia State University (GSU), Mi's duties include finding suitable datasets for various research projects, selecting tools for specific data analysis, and analyzing datasets, as well as general research reference and instruction. In addition to her iSchool classes, her graduate assistantships at the International and Area Studies Library and the Library and Information Science Virtual Library at the University of Illinois helped prepare her for her job as an academic librarian.

"I got my first master's degree in education (from Arizona State). As my studies went on, I became more curious about how research tools give more control over the research process," said Mi. "Academic libraries are collectively working on reshaping the future of our roles in the bigger picture of education. Since every school is different, every academic library needs to find its own way to get involved in teaching and research, and therefore, remodel its services."

In her spare time, Mi enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, and working at the local makerspace. She currently serves on a campus committee to design the first university-sponsored makerspace at GSU.

A member of the 2015 class of the American Library Association's Emerging Leaders, Mi credits the strong support she received as a graduate student at Illinois for her success. "The university community offers students rich information, resources, and opportunities to learn and grow. The challenges I faced as a student shaped my core skills, and more importantly, built my mindset of being a problem solver," she said.

Knox to discuss research on book challenges at NCTE

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:40:59 +0000

Assistant Professor Emily Knox will participate in the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention, to be held November 17-20 in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention attracts thousands of authors, advocates, and literacy educators and offers more than 700 concurrent sessions.

Knox will serve as a panelist for the session, "How Teachers, Parents, and Communities Can Keep Students Reading." The panel will address the question of how teachers can keep students reading in the face of censorship challenges to books they have assigned or recommended.  Through its theme, "Faces of Advocacy," the convention will explore the role of educators as advocates for their students, communities, and profession.

"I'll be discussing my research on why people challenge books and the final project that my students complete in my class, in which they create a portfolio responding to a challenge scenario," Knox said.

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. Her book, Book Banning in 21st-Century America, which addresses challenges to materials in public libraries and schools, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2015. In 2016 she was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Knox received her PhD from the doctoral program at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, and she earned her master's in library and information science from the iSchool at Illinois. She also holds a BA in religious studies from Smith College and an AM in the same field from The University of Chicago Divinity School.

iSchool students to present research at LITA Forum

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:11:22 +0000

Three iSchool students will participate in the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) Forum, which will be held November 17-20 in Fort Worth, Texas. The LITA Forum is the annual conference for professionals in archives, libraries, and other information services.

Nicholas Wolf, master's student and research data management librarian at New York University (NYU), will give a talk with Vicky Steeves, NYU librarian for research data management and reproducibility, titled "Using Openness as Foundation for Research Data Management Services." 

Abstract: This talk will describe the building and scaling up of research data management services at NYU solely using open source tools and data for instruction and best practices recommendations. Through demonstrating the applicability of tools such as OpenRefine, the Open Science Framework, ReproZip, and languages such as Python and R in library instruction, classes for faculty, and online knowledge bases, our aim is to encourage researchers to consider the sustainability and interoperability of their research. Through leading by example, Nick and Vicky have scaled up practices to create a culture of data sharing, reproducibility, and open-source advocacy on campus. 

Master's students Kevin Moore and Shelby Hallman will present their poster, "GRIPTS: Increasing Online Visibility of Departmental Research Productivity," which describes a project with potential benefit to multiple units at the University of Illinois.

About the research: Our library has created Group Information Productivity Tool (GRIPT) pages with the focus of facilitating specialized searches and faculty publication retrieval for the College of Engineering and physical science departments. The GRIPT pages serve as hubs for locating departmental resources, tracking faculty research activity, and following current and ongoing scholarly research within their field. As information literacy tools, GRIPTs pages help the users effectively design search strategies by identifying how and where to retrieve publications related to the departments’ ongoing research. We will discuss the role and impact of GRIPTs pages in the university and our plan to improve functionality.


Blake, Lucic, and Gabb present biomedical research at AMIA symposium

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 21:10:55 +0000

Doctoral candidates Ana Lucic and Henry A. Gabb will present work with Associate Professor Catherine Blake at the 40th annual American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium held from November 12-16 in Chicago. AMIA is composed of more than 5,000 health care professionals, informatics researchers, and thought leaders in biomedicine, health care, and science. Lucic will give the talk, "Improving endpoint detection to support automated systematic reviews." Abstract: Authors of biomedical articles use comparison sentences to communicate the findings of a study, and to compare the results of the current study with earlier studies. The Claim Framework defines a comparison claim as a sentence that includes at least two entities that are being compared, and an endpoint that captures the way in which the entities are compared. Although automated methods have been developed to identify comparison sentences from the text, identifying the role that a specific noun plays (i.e., entity or endpoint) is much more difficult. Automated methods have been successful at identifying the second entity, but classification models were unable to clearly differentiate between the first entity and the endpoint. We show empirically that establishing if head noun is an amount or measure provides a statistically significant improvement that increases the endpoint precision from 0.42 to 0.56 on longer and from 0.51 to 0.58 on shorter sentences and recall from 0.64 to 0.71 on longer and from 0.69 to 0.74 on shorter sentences. The differences were not statistically significant for the second compared entity. Blake and Gabb will present the poster, "Factoring near-field chemical exposure into personalized medicine." Abstract: Personalized medicine considers many factors (e.g., diet and genetics) affecting how a patient responds to treatment. However, the effect of long-term chemical exposure from consumer products is not typically taken into account. Though not acutely poisonous in normal usage, long-term exposure is potentially harmful and could exacerbate existing medical conditions and could affect how medication is metabolized. For example, the fragrances and parabens in consumer products can exacerbate asthma. Roughly 80,000 chemicals are currently registered under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act. Most have not been subjected to toxicological risk assessment and fewer have been studied for potential drug interactions. In addition to her professorial role at the iSchool, Blake serves as associate director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship and holds affiliate appointments in the Departments of Computer Science and Medical Information Science at Illinois. Her research explores both human and automated methods to synthesize evidence from text. She brings industrial experience as a software developer, formal training in information and computer science, and more than a decade of research experience in text mining, in particular from full-text scientific articles in medicine, toxicology, epidemiology, and diabetes. She was named a 2016-2017 Faculty Fellow at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, a research and development unit of the National Library of Medicine. Gabb's research interests include the interface between computation, life science, and medical informatics. His goal is to mine the vast scientific literature and genetic databases for biomarkers that predict drug efficacy.   Lucic's research interests involve extracting semantic relations from text that allow innovative ways of analyzing and understanding text. She is interested in applying text analysis and text mining methods[...]