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School of Information Sciences - University of Illinois


Get to know Justin Williams, MS student

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:14:22 +0000

With a passion for making books accessible to anyone at any age, Justin Williams made it his mission to seek a career in a library that would allow him to connect with others and make an impact in their lives through the use of stories and information. Williams is set to graduate this May and has a job lined up at as a teen librarian for the White Oak Library District in Lockport, Illinois. Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree? I wanted to pursue a master's in library and information science because I've always found my home in books. They've taken me places I could never go without them, and I feel that my reading habits over my lifetime have made me a better person. I've found my passion in reading, and some of the ideas that authors have given me have helped shape my thinking for the better over the years. I'll never forget being given a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It changed my life. I want to be able to give someone else a book like that. No matter what it does . . . create memories, change their way of thinking, make them take a leap of faith . . . whatever it is, I want to be a part of it. Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois? I chose the iSchool because of its reputation as the best school of its kind in the country. I knew that to get the training it takes to become an effective librarian in any community, I would need to be around individuals who are undertaking only the most ambitious projects in information sciences. I really could not have made a better choice. During my time here, I have had the opportunity to co-author an upcoming scholarly article, work at the Champaign Public Library for practical experience through a practicum course, and network with many of my future colleagues in the field within my classes and social circles. What particular LIS topics interest you most? I am particularly interested in the importance of pleasure reading for the young and old. The books we liked as kids gave us practice. They taught us, quite simply, how to hold a book; how to keep focused; how to follow a story, read dialogue, write more elegantly; and a myriad of other useful skills. For those who love reading, those books were our first stories, our first journeys from home, and we may have even found love in them for the first time. Why should we abandon these things when we get older? Sure, reading The Lord of the Rings every summer may be a little less proactive then learning a new language, but should I feel bad about that? Absolutely not. As with old friends, I could never abandon the books that I love—the things that brought me here in the first place. What do you do outside of class? Outside of class I am an avid consumer of any kind of stories I can get my hands on. Books, audio books, television, movies, role playing video games, the next game of Dungeons and Dragons—my hands are always full, and my reading lists are never empty. I have also just been hired for my first librarian job as a teen librarian at the White Oak Library District, so I'm very busy traveling there once a week to train until I graduate and begin the position. What career plans or goals do you have? My career plan is to work and grow as a librarian for the foreseeable future. I plan to get to know the teens who frequent the library and be a positive force in their lives—to share my passions, watch them grow intellectually, and learn as much as I can from their interests are all certain pros of the position. I really can't be more excited! [...]

Adefolalu receives Marilyn Kay Maynard ISLMA Scholarship

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:11:05 +0000

(image) Master's student Ritse Adefolalu has received the Marilyn Kay Maynard Scholarship awarded by the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA). The scholarship is designed to encourage students who wish to gain licensure to work in Illinois as a school librarian, with three scholarships awarded each year.

Adefolalu received his bachelor's degree in English and a minor in music at Harvard University. He came to the iSchool after his interest in community service led him to consider a career in K-12 librarianship. 

"I see the holistic enrichment of children and adolescents as one of the most important and effective ways of improving a community, and I believe the unique position libraries occupy at the intersection of the education system and the wider community gives them significant potential to spearhead positive change," said Adefolalu. "As a professional saxophonist, I also believe that music plays a vital role in community building, and hope to incorporate music resources into library services for children who may not have access to such materials elsewhere."

Karla Lucht, graduate studies advisor and coordinator of continuing education, instructed Adefolalu in LIS 506A (Youth Services Librarianship) in Fall 2015. In her letter of support for his scholarship, she wrote, "Ritse explored and brought forth many interesting ideas regarding innovative learning, collaboration, and creation in library spaces, especially those in underserved areas. From continued conversations with him, it’s apparent that these ideas are not just ideas, but real goals that he has thoroughly considered in order to someday implement when he’s out in the field."

iSchool partners on IMLS National Leadership Grant for Libraries

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:54:48 +0000

The iSchool and University Library are partners on a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant supports work to hold a national forum and develop a white paper aimed at simplifying scholars' access to in-copyright and access-restricted texts for computational analysis and data mining research.

Text data mining and analysis are important research methods for scholars. However, efforts to access and analyze data sets are frequently complicated when texts are protected by copyright or other intellectual property restrictions.

The forum will bring together stakeholders in the areas of libraries, research, and publishing to discuss and recommend a research, policy, and practice framework that guides scholarly access to protected texts for data mining and other analyses. Thereafter, the grant partners will produce a white paper to summarize the discussions and present best practices and policy suggestions to the larger library community.

The iSchool team includes Bertram Ludäscher, iSchool professor and director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS), and Megan Senseney, research scientist. The University Library team includes Beth Namachchivaya, associate dean of libraries and associate university librarian for research, and Eleanor Dickson, visiting HathiTrust Research Center digital humanities specialist. 

"This award enables us to bring together an international community of experts to identify a more direct access path for an increasing number of scholars to use computational methods to mine and analyze digital texts in their research," said Namachchivaya. "The potential to extend text analysis with computational tools is substantial. This grant has the potential to support pragmatic solutions for libraries as well as further scholarly insights into the value of research access to these digital texts."

Jinseok Kim defends dissertation

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:21:08 +0000

Doctoral candidate Jinseok Kim successfully defended his dissertation, "The impact of author name disambiguation on knowledge discovery from large-scale scholarly data," on April 24. 

His committee included Assistant Professor Jana Diesner (chair), Associate Professor Catherine Blake, Assistant Professor Vetle Torvik, Michelle Shumate (associate professor of communication studies, Northwestern University), and Seok-Hyoung Lee (senior researcher, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information).

From the abstract: In this study, I demonstrate that the choice of data pre-processing methods for resolving author name ambiguity can adversely affect our understanding of scholarly collaboration patterns and coauthorship network structure extracted from bibliometric data . . . A common challenge has been that author names in bibliometric data are not properly disambiguated: authors may share the same name (i.e., different authors are sometimes misrepresented to be a single author which can lead to a “merging of identities”). In addition, one author may use name variations (i.e., an author may be represented as two or more different authors which can lead to a “splitting of identities”). When faced with these challenges, most scholars have pre-processed bibliometric data using simple heuristics (e.g., if two author names share the same surname and given name initials, they are presumed to refer to the same author identity) and assumed that their findings are robust to errors due to author name ambiguity.

My findings show that initial-based name disambiguation methods can severely distort our understanding of given networks and such distortion gets severe over time. Moreover, this distortion can sometimes lead to false knowledge of network formation and evolution mechanisms such as preferential attachment generating power-law distribution of node degree and to false validation of theories about the choice of collaborators in scientific research, which may result in ill-informed decisions about research policy and resource allocation.

Rupp receives 2017 Marion E. Sparks Award

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:59:56 +0000

(image) Master's student Kortney Rupp has been selected by the Special Libraries Association (SLA) as recipient of the 2017 Marion E. Sparks Award. This award provides funding to attend the 2017 SLA Annual Conference, which will be held June 16-20 in Phoenix, Arizona. This annual conference allows participants to develop essential skills, network with colleagues, and explore noteworthy trends in knowledge and information management.

"Attending national meetings for professional organizations is the best way to meet your colleagues and learn about current challenges facing the field," said Rupp. "I am excited to receive this award in honor of Marion E. Sparks because of her impact in chemical information literacy and her legacy as a chemistry librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

Rupp is passionate about chemical information literacy and effective data management habits in chemistry research. She is a graduate assistant for the Physical Sciences and Engineering Division of the University of Illinois Library, working at Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center. She also serves as current president of the iSchool's SLA student group.

"Given her leadership of the SLA Student Group this year and the depth of her academic preparation in chemistry, Kortney is well positioned to become involved in the activities of SLA's Chemistry Division. It is especially fitting that the award she is receiving is named in honor of Marion E. Sparks, who served as chemistry librarian at Illinois a century ago," said Linda C. Smith, professor and associate dean for academic affairs, who wrote a letter in support of Rupp's nomination.

Rupp is the recipient of other noteworthy awards, including the 2017 American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications Travel Award, 2013 Women Chemists Committee (WCC) Overcoming Challenges Award, and 2012 ACS Student Leadership Award. She holds a BA in chemistry from Monmouth College and an MS in analytical chemistry from Purdue University. She will complete her MS degree in library and information science in May and begin work as the chemical information librarian at the University of California, Berkeley, in June.

Claudia Serbanuta defends dissertation

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:52:05 +0000

Doctoral candidate Claudia Serbanuta successfully defended her dissertation, "Voices from the Other Side of the Wall: The Case of Romanian Libraries of the 1970s and the 1980s," on April 24.

Her committee included Associate Professor Kathryn La Barre (chair and research director), Professor Alistair Black, Professor Emeritus Chip Bruce, and Keith Hitchins (professor of history, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

From the abstract: In the second half of the 20th century, the Communist regime in Romania developed a centralized, national system of public libraries. The system had a clear purpose: to act as one of the regime’s propaganda tools. This study provides insight into the history of librarianship and of the public library system in communist Romania.

This is an oral history research project, in which I collected and analyzed interviews with people who worked in public libraries in the 1970s and 1980s. Their memories of the professional practices at the time are anchored by the documents of the era and the existing historical research.

This research contributes to the literature in several significant ways. It is the first in-depth history of an information profession that covers the last decades of the communist regime. It also adds a distinct perspective to the history of communism, by contributing to the history of a profession that matured during this regime. Moreover, it contributes to an understanding of professional practices that continue in Romanian public libraries to this day.

Winning startup team at Campus 1871 includes iSchool student Saajan Dehury

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:44:34 +0000

(image) Master's student Saajan Dehury was part of the winning team at Campus 1871, a startup pitch competition held on March 31-April 2 at 1871, Chicago's Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship. 

The objective of the competition was to design a potential startup company and create a viable business model that would solve a meaningful problem, all within one weekend. Teams, limited to ten members, were composed of students from various backgrounds and universities. Members accepted different responsibilities for their startup, including design, business model, revenue model, marketing, and user experience/interface.

Dehury's team decided to pitch a startup to tackle the problem of asthma and design a technology to improve inhalers. Dehury worked on the revenue model for the company, although his background is not in business. 

"Thirteen percent of the U.S. population suffers from asthma, and ten Americans die every day from the condition. Uncontrolled asthmatics contribute to growing medical costs, resulting in higher insurance claims. In addition, the dosage released from the nozzle of a conventional inhaler is sometimes inaccurate, and the nozzle can become clogged," he explained.

His team designed a universal smart technology, an inhaler cap, which would fit into almost all traditional inhalers. The device, Respirare, is made up of a durable, reusable, antimicrobial plastic. A touch sensor controls the dose and communicates with a mobile application that helps keep track of the user's condition. 

"We presented the idea to a panel of five judges and eventually secured the first position among fourteen teams. The reward includes an office space for six months in 1871, with access to resources needed for building a successful startup," Dehury said.

He credits his Campus 1871 experience with providing him the opportunity to "explore the entire product lifecycle" as well as helping him better appreciate the value of teamwork. 

The event was organized by the collaborative initiative of 1871 and nine universities—Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, DeVry University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, The University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Springfield, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Campus 1871 team members included (pictured above), front row: Pakhi Chaturvedi (Univ. of Chicago), Mary Novokhovsky (IIT), Neha Goel (Loyola), Moses Lara (Devry); back row: Saajan Dehury, Amy Kamin (IIT), David Olorundare (DePaul), Briana Kennedy (Loyola), Lisa Yala (Illinois), and Dominique Ross (Loyola).

Tilley shares comics research with variety of audiences at April events

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:39:14 +0000

Comics as an educational tool, the role of women in comics storytelling, supervillains, and libraries' acceptance of comics are some of the topics Associate Professor Carol Tilley is discussing with audiences this month.

At the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) on April 21-23, Tilley served on two panels, "The Evolution of Educational Comics" and "She Changed Comics." The first panel focused on the history of educational comics and the changes readers might expect for this genre, and it allowed Tilley to share some of her research for her recently published chapter, "Educating with Comics" (in The Secret History of Comics Studies, Routledge, 2017). The second panel examined how women—cartoonists, writers, editors, colorists, and more—have changed comics storytelling.

On Monday, April 24, Tilley, along with Betsy Gomez of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Mara Thacker of the International and Area Studies Library at Illinois, and Urbana cartoonist and animator Nina Paley, will present a local version of "She Changed Comics." This event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Undergraduate Library’s Media Commons from 4:00-5:30 p.m. and is cosponsored by the iSchool.

Tilley will give the keynote address at The Cora Paul Bomar Community Matters Summit, which is hosted by the Library and Information Studies Department at the University of North Carolina Greensboro on April 29. In her talk, "From Pariah to Powerhouse: Looking at Comics in Libraries," she will share stories about some ignominious moments throughout the twentieth century about how libraries grappled with comics and comics reading before growing to embrace them.
Tilley was recently quoted in The Ringer article, "Which Tech CEO Would Make the Best Supervillain?" She described supervillains as larger-than-life characters and suggested that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, possess some of the traits associated with supervillains—such as their entrepreneurial focus.

"Comics is a medium that has relevance to so many people and in so many parts of our lives," Tilley said.  "It's challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding to share my work with fan, professional, and scholarly audiences." 

At the iSchool, Tilley teaches courses in comics reader's advisory, media literacy, and youth services librarianship. Part of her scholarship focuses on the intersection of young people, comics, and libraries, particularly in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. Her research has been published in journals including the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), Information & Culture: A Journal of History, and Children's Literature in Education. Her research on anti-comics advocate Frederic Wertham has been featured in The New York Times and other media outlets. An in-demand speaker on the history of comics readership and libraries, Tilley was a 2016 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards judge and currently serves as vice-president/president-elect of the Comics Studies Society.

Alumnus David Kalat looks for hidden clues in a digital domain

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:08:16 +0000

(image) David Kalat (MS '11) could be considered a Sherlock Holmes of the digital world. However, unlike Holmes hitting the streets of London for clues, Kalat's brand of sleuthing involves using computer forensics, electronic discovery, and data analytics to find the sometimes deeply concealed facts in a case. As a director of the Berkeley Research Group LLC's Global Investigations + Strategic Intelligence Practice, Kalat conducts forensic investigations to settle disputes among parties, usually in the form of litigation. 

According to Kalat, in a forensic examination, the "eureka" moments are less about the contents of files and more about finding when the files were accessed, deleted, or shared.

"I worked a bank hacking case once where my findings involved evidence that a rogue IT consultant had used a secret backdoor to log into the network and then copy and delete customer data records. My investigation wasn't concerned with the contents of those records—but instead about firewall logs, timestamps on database initialization files, and other artifacts of user activity in the server’s operating system," Kalat explained.

He started working in the area of computer forensics for the consulting firm of Duff & Phelps after receiving his MS in library and information science through the Leep online program. In his new job, he discovered "an upside-down world where instead of users implementing organizational tools to manage information, information systems are implementing organizational tools to manage users."

Prior to his forensics work, Kalat worked in video distribution. He received his BA in film and video studies from the University of Michigan in 1992 and worked for more than a decade as DVD producer for his independent label, All Day Entertainment, which was dedicated to "movies that fell through the cracks." 

"From 1997 to around 2009, I restored quite a few interesting 'lost' films like Fritz Lang's swan song, The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, Edward Dmytryck's blacklisted classic Christ in Concrete, Claude Chabrol's version of Patricia Highsmith's Cry of the Owl, and a whole collection of films by B-movie auteur Edgar Ulmer," Kalat said.

He started writing professionally in 1997 with his first book, an academic study of Godzilla movies. He has published five books on film history as well as contributed chapters to five other anthology film books. For ten years, he blogged for Turner Classic Movies. He gave up the blog last summer when his focus changed to writing about information security and forensics.

Kalat thrives on the challenges in his job at the Berkeley Research Group.

"I get to spend every day confronting complex logic puzzles with no obvious answers, and it's up to me to figure out how to tackle them. And every once in a while, someone brings me a strange piece of technology with an especially difficult puzzle around it, and it’s like Christmas," he said.

He feels that there has never been a better time to be an information scientist, and he encourages current students to think broadly about career possibilities.

"There is a wide world out there, and it's full of information-related problems," said Kalat.

Black and Gabb honored with Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 17:05:04 +0000

Professor Alistair Black and doctoral candidate Henry Gabb have been honored by the American Library Association's Library Research Round Table (LRRT) with the 2017 Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research. The annual award recognizes research that employs exemplary research design and methods in the planning or initial stage of use. Black and Gabb's research repeated a 1916 survey of American corporate libraries with a selection of today's corporate librarians to assess operations and perceived value, following nearly a century of change. Their findings, presented in "The Value Proposition of the Corporate Library, Past and Present" and published in Information & Culture: A Journal of History (2016, vol. 51, no. 2), underscored the enduring value of the corporate library. From the abstract: Corporate libraries of the kind we would recognize today began to appear around the turn of the twentieth century. They were a response to a rapidly changing corporate and commercial environment, acting as adjuncts to both the rise of systematic industrial research and the office management revolution that accompanied the implementation of scientific management. A survey of American corporate libraries in 1916 by the British manufacturer Rowntree and Company provides a snapshot of their operations and perceived value. The survey was repeated with a selection of today's corporate librarians. Their responses are strikingly similar to those of their early twentieth-century counterparts, despite intervening technological change. As it was a century ago, the value of the corporate library, even if it cannot be quantified, is accepted. "The 1916 survey that Alistair uncovered in the Rowntree archives provided a 100-year-old snapshot of the American corporate library. Repeating the survey with modern corporate librarians suggests that little has changed in the mission or value proposition of the corporate library in spite of a century of technological progress," said Gabb, who worked on the research with Black as part of an independent study. Gabb is doctoral candidate at the iSchool and a senior principal engineer at Intel Corporation. He studies chemical exposure from everyday consumer products, and the first phase of this work was published in "An Informatics Approach to Evaluating Combined Chemical Exposures from Consumer Products: A Case Study of Asthma-Associated Chemicals and Potential Endocrine Disruptors." He has published extensively in computational life science and high-performance computing. He holds a BS in biochemistry from Louisiana State University, an MS in medical informatics from the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, and a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Black is a prolific scholar whose research on the design of post-war British public libraries was recently awarded an Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) Honorable Mention prize for best faculty research. He is the author of A New History of the English Public Library (1996), The Public Library in Britain 1914-2000 (2000), and Libraries of Light: British Public Library Design in the Long 1960s (2017) and co-author of several other books. In 2014, he was named an iSchool Centennial Scholar for his outstanding accomplishments in the field of library and information science. He earned his master's degree in social and economic history from the University of London and his doctorate from London Metropolitan University. [...]

iSchool to host Information Ethics Roundtable

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:28:45 +0000

This weekend, the iSchool will host Information Ethics Roundtable 2017, an annual conference that brings together researchers from across disciplines to discuss ethical issues such as information privacy, intellectual property, intellectual freedom, and censorship. The event, held on April 21-22 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the iSchool, will focus on all aspects of data and ethics.

“Exploring the intersection of data and ethics could not be more timely given recent changes to privacy laws,” said Assistant Professor Emily Knox, a member of the organizing committee. Other iSchool representatives serving on the committee include Dean and Professor Allen Renear, Assistant Professor Peter Darch, and doctoral students Margaret Buck, Wei Gao, Emily Lawrence, and Cheryl Thompson.

In addition to providing leadership, the following faculty and students will participate:

  • “Appeal data & the ethics of readers’ advisory,” presented by Emily Lawrence
  • “Pitfalls and best practices when working with online data: Feasibility versus compliance,” presented by Assistant Professor Jana Diesner and doctoral student Julian Chin

A cross-campus initiative, the event is sponsored by the iSchool, NCSA, and the following units: Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, University Library, Department of Philosophy, National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, Illinois Informatics Institute, and Illinois Data Science Initiative.

Get to know Shubhanshu Mishra, PhD student

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 21:22:07 +0000

As a computer networks software developer, Shubhanshu Mishra realized that he was less interested in software than in understanding its users and their social interactions. This insight led him to the iSchool at Illinois, where he is learning skills in his PhD studies that will prepare him for a new career in information science.

Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?

After completing my integrated Master and Bachelor of Science in mathematics and computing, I worked as a computer networks software developer in India. However, my interests were more aligned with understanding the users of these computational systems and their latent social interactions. While I was working at my job, I also finished courses on machine learning as well as social and economic network analysis from Coursera, which motivated me to pursue a PhD. The abundant opportunities to apply these theoretical concepts to real world data was a major driver in selecting information science as my research domain. While searching for graduate schools to apply, I came across the Socio-technical Data Analytics (SODA) program at the iSchool at Illinois. I found the SODA program to be well aligned with my interests and prior projects.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

Most importantly, I chose the iSchool because it had the best LIS program in the nation and was located at Illinois, a top-ranked U.S. university. I was particularly interested in the work done by the SODA faculty, which was at the intersection of statistical analysis, data mining, applied machine learning, and social network analysis. Finally, the interdisciplinary research avenues available at the iSchool and Illinois influenced my decision to apply to the program.
What particular LIS topics interest you most?

I am particularly interested in the analysis of information generation in social networks such as those in scholarly data and social media websites. I incorporate the latest machine learning and natural language processing techniques in my research. My prior projects have included systems for user sentiment profiling, active learning using human-in-the-loop design pattern, and novelty profiling in scholarly data.
What do you do outside of class?

I enjoy programming and reading about the latest research, which I share on Twitter (@TheShubhanshu). Recently, some of my PhD colleagues and I have started an informal data science discussion group that meets weekly to discuss recent research papers and ideas. I also try to attend a lot of on-campus events, such as talks, seminars, and workshops. I am a frequent visitor of the monthly Illinites at the Illini Union. I think it’s a wonderful student-run initiative that helps students socialize. Sometimes, I can be seen flying my drones in the quad.
What career plans or goals do you have?

I want to continue my research in information and social science and build on my mathematics and LIS training. I enjoy teaching and interacting with students, so a career in academia would be a bonus. However, many companies are also doing groundbreaking research in information science, so I am also open to the possibility of contributing to a commercial R&D lab.

Kumasi to deliver 2017 Gryphon Lecture

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:08:21 +0000

(image) Kafi D. Kumasi will deliver the 2017 Gryphon Lecture on Friday, April 28, at the iSchool. Sponsored annually by The Center for Children's Books (CCB), the lecture features a leading scholar in the field of youth and literature, media, and culture. It is free and open to the campus and public.

In "Check the Rhyme: Harnessing Hip Hop’s Enduring Literacies with Teens Through Libraries," Kumasi will address the following:

Hip Hop has become a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon that significantly shapes the way young people view and interact in the world. At a time when Black and Latino male youth are being hyper-criminalized and incarcerated at high rates in the U.S., it is important to remember the gifts that young Black and Latinos have given the world by founding Hip Hop on the streets of New York in the 1970s and 80s. Using Paulo Friere’s concept of literacy as transformative thinking and problem solving, Dr. Kumasi outlines some of the enduring literacies of Hip Hop that can teachers and librarians can use to honor students’  knowledge and social justice concerns in the learning process.

Kumasi is an iSchool research fellow and associate professor of library and information science (LIS) at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She teaches in the areas of school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources, and research methods. A Laura Bush 21st Century Scholar, she holds a PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a master's degree in LIS from Wayne State. Her research interests revolve around issues of literacy, equity, and diversity, particularly in urban educational environments spanning K-12 and graduate school contexts. Her publications include book chapters and journal articles in prestigious journals, including Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, School Libraries Worldwide, School Library Media Research, and Urban Library Journal.

The lecture, which will be recorded, will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Room 126 of the iSchool. A reception will follow in the East Foyer.

MS student Jessica Followell wins ChLA essay award

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:09:05 +0000

(image) Jessica Followell is the 2017 master's student recipient of the Graduate Student Essay Award from the Children's Literature Association. Followell won the award for her essay, "Miracle Cures and Moral Lessons: Victorian Legacies in Contemporary Representations of Children with Disabilities," which examines two plot devices that emerged in children's literature during the Victoria era to discuss disabilities—the miracle cure and the moral lesson.

"In the essay, I consider disability in contemporary children's literature as an extension of these Victorian lessons, established in such novels like What Katy Did (1872), The Secret Garden (1911), and Pollyanna (1913)," Followell explained.
"I argue that the Victorian influence can still be seen in today's disability literature for children. Specifically, remnants of the Victorian moral lesson on positivity can be seen in children's biography books. While today’s literature may not promote the miraculous cure, there is still a heavy emphasis on telling stories in which people 'overcome' their disabilities and the limits placed on them."

Originally from Champaign, Followell worked in the museum field before enrolling in the iSchool for her MS degree in library and information science (LIS). 

"The LIS program at the iSchool was a perfect fit for me, as its curriculum focuses on the intersections between libraries, archives, and museums. I wanted a program that would help expand my skills in archival management and also expose me to current issues surrounding digital preservation," she said. 

In the future, Followell would like to continue to work in the museum or archives sector, with focus on community outreach and engagement.  

Harmon receives Society for Scholarly Publishing Fellowship

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 19:39:45 +0000

(image) Master's student Ian Harmon has earned a fellowship from the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Out of 70 applicants, Harmon was chosen as one of twelve to receive the highly competitive fellowship. He will be provided with a wide range of career development opportunities that include attending SSP's 39th Annual Meeting from May 31-June 2 in Boston and being assigned an industry expert mentor.

When asked about the benefits of being a SSP Fellow, Harmon said, "I think the most significant benefit is having the opportunity to meet and learn from working professionals in the scholarly publishing industry. This will give me a chance to become more acquainted with the practical side of scholarly publishing issues in a way that's hard to get from a classroom setting. It will also provide me with some exposure to different perspectives in the industry. I have some understanding of the issues that are important to scholars, researchers, and librarians, and I think the SSP Fellowship will help me better appreciate what scholarly publishing looks like from the perspective of a publisher or a scholarly society."

Harmon's research interests include issues that lie at the intersection of scholarly publishing and communications as well as digital scholarship, especially the digital humanities. He wants to explore existing infrastructures used for disseminating research and the impact those infrastructures have on the questions scholars are able or unable to pursue. Harmon has aspirations to work in a digital scholarship or scholarly communications unit in an academic library. He holds a BA in philosophy from University of Missouri-Columbia, a MA in philosophy from University of Wyoming, and a PhD in philosophy from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.