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Graduate School of Library and Information Science - University of Illinois





 



Summer program lets student experience graduate study at iSchool

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:34:10 +0000

(image) Thanks to a summer program at the University of Illinois, Melanie Nernberg, an undergraduate student from California, can work with an iSchool faculty member and learn about the graduate school experience. 

The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) brings to campus talented undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in graduate education so they can experience graduate study and research. Students benefit from the opportunity to develop important relationships with faculty and learn from them as well as about the culture and expectations of graduate school. 

"Through this experience, SROP participants gain the insight, validation, and support to apply to and enroll in competitive graduate programs across the country," said Moises Orozco Villicana, the iSchool's director of enrollment management. 

Nernberg, a global studies and sociology major from Sonoma State University, applied to SROP because of her interest in pursuing an MS in library and information science at the iSchool. Nicole A. Cooke, assistant professor and MS/LIS program director, serves as her faculty mentor for the program. 

Nernberg is writing a literature review and proposal for a future project on the competency of sci-tech librarians without science or technical backgrounds. She came up with her proposal after spending time at the Mathematics Library and Grainger Engineering Library at Illinois.

"At my school in California, we have subject librarians but not specialized libraries like Illinois, so the concept fascinated me," Nernberg explained. "I was especially interested in science and technical libraries, because I wondered what tasks differentiated librarians who work at these libraries compared to general and other specialized academic libraries." 

In her paper, she proposes conducting a qualitative study to update the literature with current data from the perspectives of library schools, sci-tech librarians, students and faculty served by sci-tech librarians, and the librarians' supervisors. 

In the future, Nernberg would like to work as an academic librarian, specializing in data librarianship and social sciences research.

"My experience at SROP has brought clarity on my future career goals and helped me develop lasting connections with my peers and the faculty at Illinois," she said. "I will carry the valuable lessons I have learned from this experience with me as I move forward in my academic career as a graduate student and beyond. I am forever grateful for this program and the SROP family I have found through it."




Turk partners on Crops in silico project

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:40:21 +0000

Adapted from an iSEE news release Assistant Professor Matthew Turk is partnering on a project to help resolve the growing gap between food supply and demand in the face of global climate change. Led by Amy Marshall-Colón, principal investigator and assistant professor of plant biology, Crops in silico (Cis) will integrate a suite of virtual plant models at different scales through $274,000 in funding from The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization that builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. The FFAR grant matches seed funding the project has received from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. As the planet warms, growing environments around the world are changing faster than traditional crop breeding programs can create new well-adapted varieties. Fully realized, Cis will give crop researchers a computational tool to examine the effects of environmental challenges on a molecular, cellular, and organ level within a plant to determine the best targets for genetic engineering. "Science is accelerating faster than ever before, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to harnessing cutting-edge science for the benefit of the agricultural system," said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. "Crops in silico will integrate some of today’s most advanced plant models, providing new and exciting insights into how a plant functions that will undoubtedly accelerate our ability to improve plants." The ability to computationally mimic the growth, development, and response of crops to the environment will allow researchers to conduct many more experiments than can realistically be achieved in the field. In addition to Marshall-Colón and Turk, collaborators on the project include Stephen P. Long, the Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at Illinois; Christine Kirkpatrick, executive director of the National Data Service; and Jonathan Lynch, University Distinguished Professor at Penn State University. The team will work to integrate above- and below-ground models of plants to create never-before-seen "whole views" of them. Then, they will subject these newly built virtual plants to computer-simulated extreme growing conditions—from flood to severe drought to increased ambient carbon dioxide—and compare the model's predicted plant reaction to observed responses from field studies. This will help "dial in" the model's accuracy. "One of the challenges in developing reusable, connected computational tools is ensuring that interoperating models are able to communicate effectively and transmit the semantics of their information consistently," said Turk. "That is a key challenge with the Crops in silico project, and one we are looking to address." Beyond a technological breakthrough, the Cis team also aims to achieve a research community shift. "We believe Crops in silico will unite largely isolated efforts into a connected and collaborative community that can take full advantage of advances in computation science and mechanistic understanding of plant processes and their responses to the environment," said Marshall-Colón. [...]



Duffy's Kindred adaptation selected as top pick by ICA Reads

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:37:15 +0000

(image) The Institute of Contemporary Art's "artful book club," ICA Reads, has selected Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, as its 2017 pick for a book of critical and societal importance. This reinterpretation of Octavia E. Butler's science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, was adapted by iSchool alumnus and adjunct lecturer Damian Duffy (MS '08, PhD '16) and illustrated by John Jennings. A New York Times bestseller, the novel tells the story of a young black woman's time-travel between her home in 1970s California and a plantation in the antebellum South.

Self-described as "huge Octavia Butler fans," Duffy and Jennings answered a call for entries for an earlier attempt to adapt the novel in 2009 but didn't get the job. By chance, that adaptation fell through, and they were offered the project again in 2012. Duffy and Jennings have been working together for about twelve years, making comics and curating comics art exhibitions concerned with issues of identity and representation.

"(image) We both felt like the critical examinations of race, gender, and representation that permeate Kindred were very much in line with the original comics work we've done. Also, we felt that making a graphic novel version provided a chance for new readers to discover her work, as well as a chance for fans to revisit her most famous novel through a new lens," said Duffy.

Duffy's interest in comics started at the tender age of six, when he read his first Spider-Man comic. He has been making comics for just about as long. His first attempt at becoming a professional comics creator was in 2001, when he and his friend, Dann Tincher, self-published three issues of a sci-fi/crime comic series called Whisp. In addition to the Kindred adaptation, Duffy and Jennings have published another graphic novel, The Hole: Consumer Culture, and a horror comic, Urban Kreep.

After working at the University of Illinois Law Library for six years, Duffy decided to pursue an advanced degree in library and information science.

"Witnessing firsthand the impact of information access, communication, and preservation as well as the role of LIS scholarship in the growing inclusion of comics in cultural discourses, I felt like the profession had the potential to overlap with my creative/artistic pursuits," he said. "I always wish more people thought of comics as a medium of communication, as capable of telling many different kinds of stories to many different audiences as prose or film."

Last spring Duffy completed his PhD degree and received the Berner-Nash Memorial Award for outstanding doctoral dissertation. He is now an adjunct lecturer at the iSchool, teaching Computers and Culture (LIS 390) and Social Media and Global Change (LIS 490).




Get to know Dale Josephs (MS '10), taxonomy designer at eBay

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:28:49 +0000

(image) An interest in organization led Dale Josephs to the field of library and information science and his current job at eBay. Josephs uses the skills he learned at the iSchool—cataloging, metadata, Python programming, and data mining—to develop new analytics tools.

Where do you work and what is your role?

As a taxonomy designer at eBay, I not only act as a traditional cataloger, placing content under the appropriate category headings, but I also evaluate and edit the categories themselves. The task is equal parts content analysis and psychology. I need to ensure that the categories don't get subdivided more deeply than the site can handle and that the category structures accurately reflect where people coming to the site would expect to find these things, while ensuring that as much site content is categorized as possible. 

What did you do before your current position?

I have been a metadata librarian for a Department of Defense research group, a librarian for a federal research laboratory, and a cataloging and metadata librarian for Norfolk State University, where I managed the library's digital archives initiative.

What do you like best about your job?
I'll never run out of work—there is always more content that can be organized and more analyses that can be conducted.

Why did you decide to pursue a degree in LIS?

Partly because I'm the son of a librarian; partly because I've been looking at information organization and management since I started organizing (and reorganizing) my bedroom bookcases at the age of eight.

How did the iSchool help you get to where you are today?

Between the coursework on Python programming, cataloging of library materials, and metadata management, the iSchool equipped me with the skills I've used daily. And my work as a reference librarian while I was a student has given me the skills to find answers to the unknowns encountered in my work.

What advice would you like to share with iSchool students?

Learn as much as possible.  Be flexible—don't just learn the concepts as taught but think about how these ideas can be modified and reapplied in other settings. Not every LIS graduate will work in a library, but they all will be managing information resources.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I bike, play piano, hike, and take photographs of the amazing California scenery on my hikes.




iSchool offers professional development opportunity for school librarians

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 13:12:51 +0000

(image)

The K-12 LIS licensure program hosted its third annual Summer Getaway: Professional Development for School Librarians from June 12-14 at the School. Over forty Illinois school librarians and iSchool MS students attended this unique professional development opportunity.

Led by school library professionals, each day of the event offered an in-depth session focused on a single, high-demand topic. Participants learned how they can become advocates for their school library programs; address the needs of twenty-first-century learners; and use social media for branding, digital outreach, and instruction.

During the conference, Associate Professor Kate McDowell, Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke, and Graduate Studies Advisor Karla Lucht facilitated closing sessions based on their research areas. Two closing session recordings are available online: Storytelling for School Library Leaders and Social Justice and Materials for Youth.  

Participants enjoyed the opportunity to receive training designed especially for school librarians as well as learning from and networking with their peers. (image)

"On day two of the conference, I participated in a session on a reading program for high school libraries," said Michelle Harris (MS '07), district librarian in Heyworth, Illinois. "You never think of reading programs for older readers and worry that the kids will think they're lame. But, the way this one was presented, I thought 'I can totally do that.' I'm going to tweak it a little bit, but it's going to work. As soon as I get home, I’m going to call the English teachers and tell them we need to get together."

Ann Ohms, K-12 program coordinator and conference organizer, explained that the goal is to connect professionals and motivate them to integrate new learning into meaningful work with students. "We hope they walk away with a community of connected colleagues that will continually challenge them to learn and grow as individuals, educators, and information professionals."




LaTesha Velez defends dissertation

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:43:29 +0000

Doctoral candidate LaTesha Velez successfully defended her dissertation, "James E. Shepard, The Man and His Message: A Context-Sensitive, Discourse-Historical Analysis of 'God Bless Old North Carolina," on Thursday, June 29. Her committee includes Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Professor Linda C. Smith (chair), Associate Professor Kathryn La Barre (director of research), Dianne S. Harris (dean and professor, College of Humanities, University of Utah), and Safiya Umoja Noble (MS '09, PhD '12; assistant professor, Department of Information Studies, UCLA).

From the abstract:

My research is a historical analysis of information in society that focuses on the radio address “God Bless Old North Carolina” that James E. Shepard, president and founder of the North Carolina College for Negroes (NCCN), presented in 1934. The socio-historical forces that preceded the current information environment in the United States are often researched from a Eurocentric or United States white, middle-class male perspective. When other races, classes or genders are mentioned, the typical line of inquiry still centralizes the white, European, heterosexual male viewpoint. My dissertation focuses on a little known historical figure who is one of the few African American men at the advent of institutions of higher education for blacks who was both president and founder of a university in the South during the early decades of the 20th Century and will contribute to the burgeoning body of work applying critical race theory to library and information science (LIS) history. Reorienting LIS history and using critical theories to study underrepresented populations will help to shed light on recurrent, institutionalized forms of racism still present in LIS systems today. The first step to reversing the detrimental effects of institutionalized racism within LIS is recognizing that it exists. Next, determining antecedents can help shed light on how institutional patterns are reproduced. The social forces that should be foregrounded are those that structurally uphold and reproduce white privilege and include capitalism and the educational system — the idealized versions and actual practice. 




Cooke and Knox discuss their research in The Library Quarterly

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 15:59:49 +0000

Two iSchool faculty members have articles published in the July 2017 edition of The Library Quarterly. The subject of the edition is "Aftermath: Libraries, Democracy, and the 2016 Presidential Election, Part 1."

In her article, "Posttruth, Truthiness, and Alternative Facts: Information Behavior and Critical Information Consumption for a New Age," Nicole A. Cooke, assistant professor and MS/LIS program director, addresses the phenomenon of fake news. In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, and now postelection, increasing attention has been paid to fake news. According to Cooke, "Fake news is not new, nor are its relatives: hoaxes, satire, algorithmic biases, and propaganda. It just has an alarming new patina." In the article, she discusses how critical information evaluation skills can aid in combating the effects of fake news and promote more savvy information consumption.

Assistant Professor Emily Knox examines the discourse of censorship in her article, "Opposing Censorship in Difficult Times." According to Knox, "In the weeks after the election it became clear to me that access to information in the public sphere would be threatened and that it was important that those on the front lines know how to respond to such threats." In the article, she discusses why people challenge books and otherwise attempt to censor information, and she argues that librarians and information professionals must recommit to supporting the principles of intellectual freedom, review institutional policies, and know their communities—local, state, and national.
 
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).

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 her master's in library and information science from the iSchool at Illinois.




Ruan receives ILA Academic Librarian of the Year Award

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:19:20 +0000

(image) Lian Ruan (MS '90, PhD '11) is the 2017 recipient of the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award. The award, presented by the ILA Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries (IACRL) Forum, recognizes an Illinois librarian who is making an outstanding statewide contribution to academic or research librarianship and to library development. The award is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois.

Ruan's service record is most impressive. Of particular note are her contributions as past president (2015-2016) and current executive director of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA). She has also recently served on the Illinois State Library Advisory Committee, the Special Library Association's Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Council, the ACRL 75th Anniversary Celebration Task Force, and as a member of the Joint Council of Librarians of Color Steering Committee.

Ruan has been an academic librarian for twenty-seven years and Head of the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library (IFSI) since 1999, earning the directorship of IFSI's international programs in 2006. Under her leadership, the IFSI Library has been a finalist for a National Medal for Museum and Library Service award for the last two years. The IFSI is considered one of the top three fire services libraries in the nation. This past year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services recognized her Firefighter Line of Duty Death Digital Image Collection, which was awarded funding through the Illinois State Library.

Since 2002, Ruan has been an adjunct lecturer in the iSchool, supporting and mentoring the work of library and information science students. Ruan has also organized and coordinated training programs at IFSI with partners in the area of emergency management, including training for emergency responders from China and Korea.

Ruan has done extensive work as a researcher. Most notable is her recent co-edited book, Academic Library Development and Administration in China (2016), which is the first major work on Chinese academic libraries written in English.

Three years ago in a spotlight interview for ACRL Insider, Ruan described herself as "Passionate, determined, [and] goal-oriented." Her exemplary service to librarianship and learning demonstrates the application of each of these qualities to the work that makes her worthy of this honor. The Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award will be presented at the Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, October 10, during the 2017 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Tinley Park.




ISAA honors 2017 award recipients

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 13:33:09 +0000

The iSchool Alumni Association (ISAA), formerly the Library School Alumni Association, has announced the 2017 recipients of its annual awards. The recipients were recognized on June 25 at the ISAA Annual Meeting and reception held at the annual meeting of the American Library Association in Chicago.  Beth Woodard (MS '79) is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Each year this award is given to an alum who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of library and information science. Woodard is the staff development and training coordinator for the University of Illinois Library. She has made significant contributions to the field through her mentoring of graduate assistants and new professionals; extensive service in the Association of College and Research Libraries and Reference and User Services Association; and numerous publications, invited workshops, and professional development programs. At the iSchool, Woodard has served for many years on the Admissions Committee and taught or co-taught graduate courses in user education and reference services. In addition to supervising hundreds of graduate assistants in the University Library, she has directed multiple independent studies and practicum experiences.  Martin Wolske (PhD '93, Rutgers) is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Each year this award is given to an individual who has served ISAA or the School in an exceptional way. Wolske is a senior research scientist, lecturer, and interim director of the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI) at the iSchool. Since he joined the School in 1995, he has served in many key roles, including director of Prairienet, Champaign-Urbana’s first community information network and the predecessor to the CDI. For nearly twenty years, Wolske has taught networking and information systems courses, for which he received the 2011 Library Journal Teaching Award. He has served on several campus advisory and review panels related to engagement and, in 2013, he was honored with the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Public Engagement. His accomplishments also include service as president of the Champaign Public Library Board of Trustees. Trevor Muñoz (MS '11) is the recipient of the Leadership Award, which is given to an alum who has graduated in the past ten years and shown leadership in the field.  Muñoz is interim director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and assistant dean for digital humanities research for the University of Maryland Libraries. He works to foster digital projects that involve close collaboration between librarians, archivists, and other digital humanities researchers. He has written, spoken, and consulted about the strategic opportunities and challenges of doing digital humanities work within the institutional and cultural structures of academic research libraries. He has served as principal investigator on numerous grants, and is founding co-editor of DH Curation: A Community Guide to Best Practices for Data Curation in the Humanities.  Kyle Huizenga (MS '17) is the recipient of the Student Award, which recognizes a student who "caught the spirit" of the library and information science profession while employed in a library setting and so chose to enter the master's program. This student must have a strong commitment to return to a professional position in a library setting and help others "catch the spirit." Huizenga was hired as a graduate hourly employee to work in the reference department of the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library in fall of 2015. In that position, as well as in providing reference service, he learned how to handle the library's budget; create quarterly budget, acquisitions, and statistical reports; log receipts from national and international library-related travel; and interact with the Institut[...]



Lawrence and Thomer receive Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:34:35 +0000

Doctoral candidates Emily Lawrence and Andrea Thomer have been awarded Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships by Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. Up to six recipients are selected for this prestigious award each year, a national competition among doctoral students who are working on their dissertations. The amount awarded for each fellowship is $3,000.

Lawrence received a BA in comparative literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MLS from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to beginning the doctoral program at Illinois, Lawrence worked in reference and web services at the National Library of Medicine. Their primary research interests include political philosophy in LIS, readers and reading, and aesthetics (especially taste and recommendation). The title of their dissertation is "Reading for Democratic Citizenship: A New Model for Readers’ Advisory."

Thomer conducts research in the areas of digital curation, natural history museum informatics, information organization, and information system usability. She is particularly interested in the long-term usability of digital collections and their infrastructures. Prior to her graduate studies, Thomer was an excavator at the La Brea Tar Pits; she continues to draw on her experience in paleontology and museums in her work. She received her BA in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. On May 8, she successfully defended her dissertation, "Site-Based Data Curation: Bridging Data Collection Protocols and Curatorial Processes at Scientifically Significant Sites."