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Graduate School of Library and Information Science - University of Illinois


Black’s new book, Libraries of Light, published by Routledge

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:26:59 +0000

Professor Alistair Black’s latest book, Libraries of Light: British Public Library Design in the Long 1960s, is now available from Routledge.

Description: For the first hundred years or so of their history, public libraries in Britain were built in an array of revivalist architectural styles. This backward-looking tradition was decisively broken in the 1960s as many new libraries were erected up and down the country.

In this new book, Black argues that the architectural modernism of the post-war years was symptomatic of the age’s spirit of renewal. In the 1960s, public libraries truly became ‘libraries of light,’ and Black further explains how this phrase not only describes the shining new library designs—with their open-plan, decluttered, Scandinavian-inspired designs—but also serves as a metaphor for the public library’s role as a beacon of social egalitarianism and cultural universalism.

(image) A sequel to Books, Buildings and Social Engineering (2009), this new book takes his fascinating story of the design of British public libraries into the era of architectural modernism.

Libraries of Light foregrounds the social determination of technology. “More interesting and challenging than the identification of the social effects of technology,” said Black, “is the examination of the ways in which technology is shaped by society, by its ideologies, aspirations, and trends. The technology that is the library building is no different in this regard, historically and now.”

A full professor in the iSchool since 2009, Black is currently researching the history of the British War Office Intelligence Division, 1873-1914; the design of the new British Library in the context of the 1960s "Two Cultures" debate; and the early public library movement in Britain in the context of attitudes to state intervention. He is the author of several books, including A New History of the English Public Library (1996) and The Public Library in Britain 1914-2000 (2000). He is coauthor of Understanding Community Librarianship (1997); The Early Information Society in Britain, 1900-1960 (2007); and Books, Buildings and Social Engineering (2009). With Peter Hoare, he is co-editor of Volume 3 (covering 1850-2000) of the Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland (2006). He currently serves as the general editor of the journal Library Trends.

Get to know Alison Rollins: master’s student, librarian, and poet

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:41:06 +0000

(image) When iSchool master’s student Alison Rollins saw that Nerinx Hall High School had a job opening for a librarian, she jumped at the chance to work for her alma mater. She was hired in in August, bringing several years of experience in youth services for public libraries.

The new position has allowed Rollins to gain additional real-world skills while working on her MS in library and information science. She decided to pursue the iSchool’s top-ranked degree in order to give her a career advantage and expand her skill set to other areas of LIS.

“Because I have so much experience working in youth services, I try to take classes at the iSchool that are not focused on that area,” she said. Instead, she’s taking courses like Social Science Research in LIS (LIS 519), Museum Informatics (LIS 490), and Academic Librarianship (LIS 567). “I’ve tried to make my studies at U of I supplement my hands-on experience . . . . rather than repeat it.”

In addition to balancing a busy work schedule with classes and projects, Rollins has been able to make time to pursue her creative passion, poetry. She has always had a love for language and began writing poems in high school—and is now reconnecting with the teacher who first reviewed her poetry, who is a colleague at Nerinx Hall High.

“I think as a poet you’re able to use [words] for play, make them be experimental or surreal, and there are really no boundaries or rules. In that way, you can challenge the culture and the status quo, have a counter-narrative, or destruct what’s considered normative . . . . That’s what I hope my work does,” she said.

Rollins’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, River Styx, Vinyl, and elsewhere. This fall, the Poetry Foundation awarded her a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, which included a $25,800 prize to encourage the further study and writing of poetry. She also won second prize in the 2016 James H. Nash Poetry Contest and was honored as a Cave Canem Foundation 2016 Retreat Fellow. In June, she was recognized as a 2016-2017 American Library Association Spectrum Scholar.

Tilley interviewed by Variety for "Wonder Woman at 75"

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:37:40 +0000

Seventy-five years ago, Wonder Woman made her first appearance on the comic book scene, creating a strong female role model for generations to come. In the Variety magazine article, "Wonder Woman at 75: How the Superhero Icon Inspired a Generation of Feminists," Associate Professor Carol Tilley and other notables reflect on Wonder Woman’s message of empowerment and how the superhero continues to attract audiences. The movie "Wonder Woman" is scheduled to be released in June 2017.

"Wonder Woman is a character whose central message is one of love and redemption, and for me that points to her continued resonance and the concern about how she's portrayed in the upcoming film," said Tilley. "She was born into a world at war (the brink of US involvement in World War II) and our world continues to be dominated by violence of all kinds. Wonder Woman offers us hope for a better future. What could be more empowering than that?"

According to Tilley, the only other superhero who inspires similar optimism is Superman. While Superman has been in film since the 1940s, this will be the first feature film for Wonder Woman. Tilley is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming film. "Both Patty Jenkins (the director) and Gal Gadot (the actress) seem to understand the core of Wonder Woman's character, so as long as their vision doesn't fall prey to studio expediencies, I think we're good. Most important, after 75 years, it's beyond time for Wonder Woman to helm her own feature film," she said.

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.

Brittany Smith defends dissertation

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:21:55 +0000

Doctoral candidate Brittany Smith successfully defended her dissertation, "Motivation and Skill Acquisition in an Online Amateur Multimedia Community: A Case Study," on October 10.

Her committee includes Associate Professor Carol Tilley (chair), Professor William Cope (Education), Associate Professor Kathryn LaBarre, Professor Linda C. Smith, and Professor Michael Twidale.

Abstract: Both the amount of multimedia content and the venues for sharing such content have been steadily increasing, yet not much is known about what motivated, inspired, and helped the content creators to create their artifacts. Using participant observation, web content analysis, and interviews, this case study focuses on one online amateur multimedia community and the animators therein. In particular, it addresses questions concerning 1) one's motivation to join and create animations in that community, and 2) how one acquires the skills necessary to create animations and participate in the community. Having a better understanding of motivation and skill acquisition in this informal, online setting can provide insight on ways to improve and support the learning processes and environments in other online communities, more formal arenas like classrooms and workplaces, and in other informal settings such as structured after-school programs.

iSchool welcomes inaugural class of MS/IM students

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:07:07 +0000

The first cohort of students in the iSchool's new MS in information management (MS/IM) degree program started classes this fall. More than forty strong, the group is nearly evenly split in terms of gender and includes a large number of international students. Coming from a variety of backgrounds in engineering, business, science, and social science, these students were attracted to the MS/IM in large part because of the flexible nature of the program. With only three required courses—and a programming course, if needed—the MS/IM curriculum can be customized to specific career pathways, including: data science and analytics; privacy, trust, security, and ethics; information architecture and design; and knowledge management and information consulting. Below are profiles of four MS/IM students. Yingjun Guan came to Illinois from China, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering. Guan was drawn to the MS/IM program because of his experiences working with engineering data. "I noticed that there are countless experiments and data records generated every day. However, only a few are sufficiently or properly analyzed," he said. In addition, the data Guan encountered came in different formats and was of varying quality, which made it less useful for research purposes. "The problem is no longer about obtaining the information but better managing the information," Guan explained. At the iSchool, he plans to focus on data science and analytics. He enjoys the atmosphere of the School, where "the faculty and staff are always ready and willing to help." After he receives his degree, Guan will either continue his studies or find a job, taking advantage of the career services offered by the iSchool. Mark McCarthy received his bachelor's degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Illinois and minored in informatics and Asian American studies. "Upon hearing about the new degree from Professor Gasser, my instructor for LIS 202, I decided it would be a good fit," he said. He likes the combination of humanities, social sciences, and engineering, and is enjoying his MS/IM classes. "It's something totally different from anything I've ever learned before, but I love the challenge of it!" After completing his degree, he would like to work in the areas of digital equity and inclusion. "There's a deluge of information in society today with lots of knowledge and resources available, but so much of it is not accessible—either physically accessible to those who need it in different formats or a lack of an access point for certain communities," McCarthy said. Swathi Namburi came to the University of Illinois from Hyderabad, "The City of Pearls," in southern India. After earning a bachelor's degree in electronics and communication engineering in India, Namburi chose the MS/IM program at Illinois because of the program's multiple pathways. "I am especially interested in the sociotechnical approach intermixed with the information system aspects of this program," she said. "The University has a welcoming environment with approachable faculty and amazing students from diverse cultures." Namburi is keeping busy with coursework, the MS/IM seminar series, and job fairs. After graduation, she would like to work for a top-tier company. Sandra Franco studied linguistics at the University of Illinois before entering the MS/IM degree program. "My background in linguistics is surprisingly helpful in grasping the principles of information systems and applying them to my understanding of language technologies," she said. As an undergraduate, she received funding from the Illinois Informatics Institute to work for Assistant Professor Jana Diesner. The experience helped her become acquainted with natural language processing tools, text mining, and sentiment analysis. "Such early exposure to the iSchool allowed me to gauge its unique culture, top-notch faculty, and countless avenues for learn[...]

iSchool well represented at ASIS&T 2016

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 14:08:26 +0000

Several University of Illinois iSchool faculty and students will participate in the 2016 Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Annual Meeting, which will be held October 14-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The meeting is the premier international conference dedicated to the study of information, people, and technology in contemporary society. This year’s theme is "Creating Knowledge, Enhancing Lives through Information & Technology." The involvement of iSchool faculty extends beyond participation in the event. Associate Professor Kathryn La Barre is a member of the ASIS&T Board of Directors, contributing to governance activities. La Barre also served as chair of the jury that selected the Best Information Science Book of the Year. Associate Professor Catherine Blake was paper co-chair for the conference as well as a member of the jury that selected the Research Award. Papers "Preparing a Workforce to Effectively Re-use Data" Doctoral candidate Ana Lucic and Associate Professor Catherine Blake "The Durability and Fragility of Knowledge Infrastructures: Lessons Learned from Astronomy" Assistant Professor Peter Darch and UCLA researchers Christine Borgman, Ashley Sands, and Milena Golshan "What Makes a Query Temporally Sensitive?" Doctoral students Craig Willis and Garrick Sherman and Associate Professor Miles Efron "The Power of Imaginary Users: Designated Communities in the OAIS Reference Model" Postdoctoral research associate Rhiannon Stephanie Bettivia "Toward Accessible Course Content: Challenges and Opportunities for Libraries and Information Systems" Doctoral students Katrina Fenlon and Ruohua Han, master's student Alex Kinnaman, Professor J. Stephen Downie, and Laura Wood (Tufts University) "Music Subject Classification Based on Lyrics and User Interpretations" Doctoral student Kahyun Choi, Professor J. Stephen Downie, Jin Ha Lee (University of Washington), and Xiao Hu (University of Hong Kong) "The Onion Routing: Understanding a Privacy Enhancing Technology Community" Assistant Professor Masooda Bashir and Hsiao-Ying Huang (Illinois Informatics Institute) "The Public Will vs. the Public Trust: Early American Radio as a Public Information Resource" Doctoral student Stacy Wykle "Introducing the Author-ity Exporter, and a case study of geo-temporal movement of authors" Informatics doctoral candidate Mikko Tuomela, Brent Fegley (Informatics PhD '16), and Assistant Professor Vetle Torvik Panels "Information Behavior in Workspaces" Panelists include Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke "Digital Sociology and Information Science Research" Panelists include Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke "Preserving Intangible Heritage: Defining a Research Agenda" Panelists include Associate Professor Jerome McDonough, Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn, and Associate Professor Lori Kendall Symposia "Information Behavior in Workplaces (SIG/USE)" Chairs include Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke Posters presented during the President's Reception "Understanding the Needs of Scholars in a Contemporary Publishing Environment" Doctoral student Katrina Fenlon, Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn, library associate professor and iSchool affiliate Harriett Green, data analysis consultant Chris Maden, library assistant professor Aaron McCollough, and senior project coordinator Megan Senseney "Disambiguating Descriptions: Mapping Digital Special Collections Metadata into Linked Open Data Formats" Doctoral student Jacob Jett, library associate professor Myung-Ja Han, and library professor and iSchool affiliate Timothy Cole "Shopping for Sources: An Everyday Information Behavior Exploration of Grocery Shoppers’ Information Sources" Postdoctoral research associate Melissa Ocepek "Towards a Seamless Multilingual Semantic Web: A Study on Constructing a Cross-Lingual Ontology" Doctoral student Jessica (Yi-Yun) Cheng and Hsueh-Hua Chen (National Taiwan University, Taiwan[...]

Get to know Scott Migaldi (MS ’11), director of standards and strategy at T-Mobile USA

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:29:02 +0000

The systems Scott Migaldi helps to create at T-Mobile facilitate human interaction and information sharing across the globe. To accomplish this he uses skills acquired at the iSchool—he conducts research into information-seeking behavior, evaluates user needs, and determines how information sharing systems can meet those needs. Where do you work and what is your role? I currently work for T-Mobile USA, where I am a director and member of the technical staff for standards and strategy. My primary role is developing the vision, requirements, and technical standards for how people will use extremely high-speed wireless data systems. I also spend time talking and meeting with people who use current systems in order to better understand their needs, what they would like future systems to do, and what the current systems are failing to do for them. I then try to put that information into forms that more specialized technologists and engineers can use to do the detailed development work of wireless systems. What do you like best about your job? I get to travel a lot! I love meeting people all over the world, working with people in many different companies, and being able to steer what will happen in this area for the next ten to fifteen years. My second favorite thing about my job is getting to be a translator between people who need information and those who make the systems that deliver it. Engineers often design interfaces and systems that are based on what they perceive from their personal perspectives. But most users are not engineers and look to achieve their goals using different and usually far less technical approaches. By advocating for the majority of the population, I can hopefully prevent disconnects between what is built and what is needed. An example is features being put into the market to help devices find the best data connection, even if that connection is WiFi. For many people, this means no more searching for the access point after hitting three or four buttons or trying to understand what the little lock icon means. What do you see as the most important impact of your work? What I do helps people meet information-seeking goals and enables innovations in the way that people can achieve social interactions. If I can help someone achieve their information-seeking goals, they are more productive and satisfied. How did the iSchool help you get to where you are today? It really helped me to better understand how to evaluate and research information-seeking behaviors and how to tailor systems to meet those needs. Typically, graduate schools are more focused and have a narrow scope. That is not the case for the iSchool. The diversity of thought and experience of both the staff and students of the iSchool is a great benefit to one's success. What advice would you like to share with iSchool students? Take a wide variety of classes. You never know where inspiration can come from. For example, I took cataloging and reference classes. These are great if you are planning to work in a library, but I also found them useful in better understanding how to characterize information to make it findable. Also, don't sell short the more technical computer courses. Classes like scripting and informatics are great ways to really understand the nuts and bolts of online searching and the power of being able to drill down and search for specific information. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I like to read history, travel to famous locations, and visit the spots I read about. For the last several years, I have been spending time touring the birthplaces of western civilization. I also like to cook, so when I am at home I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. [...]

Knox discusses inclusive makerspaces on The 21st Show

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 20:06:09 +0000

Being a key-holding member of Makerspace Urbana—one of the few who have twenty-four hour access to the maker lab—comes with more responsibility than just locking up when you leave. It also means actively welcoming visitors and making the lab an inclusive and inviting space.

Emily Knox, iSchool assistant professor and Makerspace Urbana keyholder, spoke recently with Illinois Public Media’s The 21st Show about the group’s efforts to create a diverse and inclusive space.

Listen to the full interview.

“We work on it everyday at Makerspace Urbana….We work hard to make our space welcoming to everybody,” she said, referring to the importance of inclusion and the challenges of achieving it.

The interview came on the heels of Knox’s participation in a Nation of Makers event at the White House and her talk, “Making and Inclusion,” at PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana (Vol. 22).

Knox joined the iSchool faculty in 2012. She received her PhD from the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University and her master's in library and information science from 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. Her research interests include intellectual freedom and censorship, the intersection of print culture and reading practices, and information ethics and policy. Recognized for excellence in teaching and research, Knox was honored in 2015 with the Illinois Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award and the WISE Instructor of the Year award.

Torvik named 2016-2017 Centennial Scholar

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 20:56:39 +0000

Assistant Professor Vetle Torvik has been named the iSchool's Centennial Scholar for 2016-2017. The Centennial Scholar award is endowed by alumni and friends of the School and given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and/or professional promise in the field of library and information science.

Torvik expressed surprise and gratitude at receiving this honor. "I am in awe of colleagues who received it before me; their caliber is off the charts," he said. "I hope to use the award to open new doors—a stamp of approval from colleagues who know you well goes a long way to establish new collaborations necessary to solve the increasingly complex problems facing science and society today.”

Torvik joined the faculty in 2011. His current research addresses problems related to scientific discovery and collaboration using complex models and large-scale bibliographic databases. He is the author of articles in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology; ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data; Trends in Genetics; and Research Policy. He teaches courses on text and data mining, statistical modeling, informetrics, and information processing.

Torvik's current projects include:

  • Innovation in an Aging Society, a multipartner project funded by the National Institutes of Health, for which he has built a suite of bibliographic data mining tools and datasets for studying the relationship between aging and innovation.
  • STEM Workforce Training: A Quasi-Experimental Approach Using the Effects of Research Funding, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and examines the impact of different research funding structures on the training of future scientists and their subsequent outcomes.
  • Computer-assisted text-mining across biomedical papers and patents for competitive intelligence, which is funded by Abbott Nutrition.

Torvik also has received NSF funding for Collaborative Research: DAT: From grant to commercialization. For this project, he developed a freely available database to trace, assess, and measure the impact of scientific funding—linking Medline papers and US patents to investigate how grants enable papers, papers influence patents, and scientific knowledge ultimately diffuses and influences the entire patent record.

"Vetle's brilliant work is a decisive demonstration of how information science can generate new insights from scientific and medical literature. We are very proud to have him here with us and are eagerly looking forward to equally exciting results from his future research," said Dean Allen Renear.

Prior to joining the iSchool, Torvik worked as a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a PhD in engineering science from Louisiana State University and a master's degree in operations research from Oregon State University, as well as a bachelor's degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College.

Ludäscher to present tutorial at SBBD2016

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 14:09:10 +0000

Professor Bertram Ludäscher will present the international tutorial at the thirty-first Brazilian Symposium on Databases (SBBD2016) in Salvador-Bahia on October 4-7. SBBD, an official event of the Brazilian Computer Society, is the largest venue in Latin America for presenting and discussing research results in the database domain. The symposium brings together researchers, students, and practitioners from Brazil and abroad for technical sessions, invited talks, and tutorials given by distinguished speakers from the international research community. Ludäscher’s tutorial is titled "Provenance in Databases and Scientific Workflows."

Abstract: In computer science, data provenance describes the lineage and processing history of data as it is transformed through queries or workflows. Different computer science sub-disciplines have studied approaches to capture and exploit provenance, e.g., the systems and programming languages communities. In this tutorial, I will give an overview of basic research questions and results provided by the database and scientific workflow communities. Research in this area ranges from technical studies in database theory (e.g., the use of semi-ring structures to abstract and unify different types of provenance) to more applied techniques (e.g., to efficiently record, store, and query provenance), and various engineering-level questions in-between. Provenance capture and querying capabilities are also playing an increasing role in the reproducibility of scientific workflows, data science applications, the computational sciences. . . . Provenance is a very active research area, and I will end by highlighting some questions and opportunities for future work in databases and workflows.

Ludäscher, who also serves as director of the iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS), is a leading figure in data and knowledge management, focusing on the modeling, design, and optimization of scientific workflows, provenance, data integration, and knowledge representation. He joined the iSchool faculty in 2014 and is a faculty affiliate at NCSA and the Department of Computer Science. His current focus includes foundations of provenance and applications; e.g., for automated data quality control and data curation. He received his MS in computer science from the Technical University of Karlsruhe and his PhD in computer science from the University of Freiburg.

Cooke, Hinchliffe address critical pedagogy in new handbook

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 21:24:59 +0000

A new resource for educators—Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, a two-volume set published in September by the Association of College & Research Libraries—examines the theory and practice of critical pedagogy in the LIS classroom. According to editors Nicole Pagowsky and Kelly McElroy, critical pedagogy “incorporates inclusive and reflective teaching for aims of social justice; it provides mechanisms for students to evaluate their social, political, and economic standing, and to question societal norms and how these norms perpetuate societal injustices.” iSchool Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke wrote the chapter, “Documenting Your Critical Journey,” which is included in Volume 1. Summary: This chapter challenges librarians to reflect on their practice as information professionals, especially in regards to the concept of feminist pedagogy, and think about the ways in which they might parlay their reflections into a critical professional practice. Self-reflection is an important element of developing and maintaining a critical LIS practice. The exercise presented in this chapter is useful for LIS professionals at all stations, from graduate students, to practitioners, to faculty. And because the profession and our communities will never cease changing, information professionals should be reflecting and refining their practices on a regular basis. "I am particularly proud of this chapter because it emerged directly from my work with iSchool students in the Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Information Professions course (LIS 537). The students really embraced the pedagogy that I describe in this chapter and produced beautiful final projects and reflections,” said Cooke. A chapter authored by affiliated faculty member Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (MS '94) is titled, “Loading Examples to Further Human Rights Education” and also included in Volume 1. Summary: Academic librarians often struggle against the limited amount of time we have with students relative to the learning goals we have for information literacy, and the idea of also including a critical framework is daunting. This chapter presents a strategy for “loading examples” through thoughtful selection of terms and resources that enables librarians to pursue human rights education, which is well-aligned with campus learning goals for multicultural awareness, global perspectives, diversity, etc. in even the shortest of instructional encounters. An open access copy of the chapter is available in IDEALS. Cooke was named a "Mover & Shaker" by Library Journal in 2007 and was the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association's Equality Award. Her research and teaching interests include human information behavior (particularly in the online context), critical cultural information studies, and diversity and social justice in librarianship with an emphasis on infusing them into LIS education and pedagogy. She holds an MEd in adult education from Penn State, and a Master of Library Science and a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University, where she was an ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow. Hinchliffe is a professor and Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction with the University Library. Her research interests include teaching and learning, higher education, globalization, information literacy, library assessment/evaluation, and library quality. She holds master’s degrees in library and information science and education, both from Illinois. [...]

Team Illinois Developing Advanced Provenance Tools for DataONE

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 21:20:51 +0000

Provenance information describes the origin and history of artifacts. Because of the vital role played by data and workflow provenance in support of transparency and reproducibility in computational and data science, creating tools for capturing and using provenance information is an important yet challenging task. Post-doctoral Research Associate Yang Cao and Professor Bertram Ludäscher recently presented joint work on data provenance at the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) All Hands Meeting in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. In their poster and system demonstration, jointly authored by a team of University of Illinois students and staff as well as collaborators from the UK, Cao and Ludäscher demonstrated how the YesWorkflow tool is "Revealing the Detailed History of Script Outputs with Hybrid Provenance Queries."1 In an earlier article for the Winter 2015/6 issue of DataONE News, "Your Data has a History, too: Towards Transparency and Reproducibility through Provenance,"2 Ludäscher discussed data provenance—how critical it is for transparency, data quality, and computational reproducibility, yet how difficult it is to make use of provenance information unless better tools are available. "Gathering provenance and then linking data, provenance, and software with each other and to publications is a complex and often labor-intensive, manual process. However, as more and more tools become 'provenance-aware' and allow scientists to record and share provenance information, there is hope that provenance management will become much easier and more seamless in the future," he said. One such tool, YesWorkflow,3,4 is based on a simple annotation language for data analysis scripts. According to Ludäscher, "This language-independent, lightweight annotation approach not only yields an informative workflow model of a script, thus facilitating understanding and reuse of the script, but it can also be used to reconstruct runtime provenance information from script executions and link this information back to the scientist’s conceptual workflow. In this way, provenance can be the subject and driver of powerful queries against the scientist's own data, making provenance not only useful metadata for others, but letting scientists themselves immediately benefit from the provenance information they created." DataONE is supported by the National Science Foundation and was developed to ensure the preservation, access, and reuse of science data via a federation of member nodes and coordinating nodes, an investigator toolkit, and a broad education and outreach program. Ludäscher, director of the iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS), is a leading figure in data and knowledge management, focusing on the modeling, design, and optimization of scientific workflows, provenance, data integration, and knowledge representation. He joined the iSchool faculty in 2014 and is a faculty affiliate at NCSA and the Department of Computer Science.  References 1Yang Cao,  Duc Vu, Qiwen Wang, Qian Zhang, Priyaa Thavasimani, Timothy McPhillips, Paolo Missier, Bertram Ludäscher (2016). Revealing the Detailed History of Script Outputs with Hybrid Provenance. Poster and System Demonstration, DataONE All Hands Meeting, September 20-22, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.2Bertram Ludäscher (2016). “Your Data has a History, too: Towards Transparency and Reproducibility through Provenance,” DataONE News 4(2), Winter 2015/6.3YesWorkflow toolkit.4T. McPhillips, S. Bowers, K. Belhajjame, B. Ludäscher (2015). Retrospective Provenance Without a Runtime Provenance Recorder. 7th USENIX Workshop on the Theory and Practice of Provenance (TaPP'15). [...]

Cunningham to speak at Learning with MOOCs conference

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 19:12:33 +0000

Doctoral student Paige Cunningham will participate this week in the conference, Learning with MOOCs III: Being and Learning in a Digital Age, to be held October 6-7 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cunningham will present her paper, “Massive Data, Individual Learners: Challenges for Developing Holistic Views of MOOC Participants.” She will address the challenges of drawing meaningful insight from learner data regarding MOOCs offered by the University of Illinois.

When the University of Illinois and Coursera first partnered in 2012, the number of offered courses was small, so the large amounts of learner data provided was manageable. Since then, the number of course offerings has risen and the data provided to the university from Coursera has changed. While an increase in volume of learner data initially sounds rich for developing a holistic view of learner engagement and performance, the data produced is not necessarily meaningful.

For example, learner grade data is relatively easy to extract regardless of platform, but such data only provides a superficial understanding of learner engagement. More meaningful glimpses into such engagement can be acquired from in-depth lecture watching data and clickstream data. However, these data sources are not currently available for on-demand courses, making accurate comparisons between engagement in session-based and on-demand courses problematic.

Previously both free and paid learners could complete all course activities, allowing for collection of all learners’ data. A new shift towards only permitting students to complete graded assessments after paying for a certificate means that evaluation of their levels of engagement will be based on sparse lecture watching and forum participation data.

Finally, the University of Illinois is pioneering several degree-granting graduate programs based on the Coursera platform, adding an additional layer of complexity to the data collection process. Integrating such different data sources makes defining an overall picture of learner engagement still more difficult.

Cunningham is a fourth-year doctoral student whose research interests focus on how information technologies connect people who are spread out in space and time. She explores issues such as how social media and online learning systems connect geographically dispersed peoples, both for community building and educational purposes.

Kumasi selected as 2016-2018 iSchool Research Fellow

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 13:45:53 +0000

(image) Kafi D. Kumasi, associate professor in Wayne State University's School of Library and Information Science, has been selected by the iSchool faculty as research fellow for the 2016-2018 academic years. Research fellows are chosen because their work is relevant to the interests of the School's faculty and students. Each will give at least one lecture during their appointment.

"I'm honored to serve as a research fellow for the iSchool. I look forward to sharing my ideas and inquiries, particularly as they relate to educational inequities in school libraries. We are at a critical juncture in our nation with regard to human and civil rights concerns, especially among minoritized groups. Illinois is a great place for me to share my work in this area, as I know many Illinois faculty who are deeply committed to issues of social justice," said Kumasi.

Kumasi's research interests focus on issues of literacy, equity, and diversity, particularly occurring in urban educational environments and spanning K-12 and graduate school contexts. Her publications include book chapters and journal articles in the Journal of Education for Library and Information ScienceThe Journal of Research on Libraries and Young AdultsSchool Libraries WorldwideSchool Library Media Research, and Urban Library Journal, among others. 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.

Dubin, Knox participate in Extending Play

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:10:02 +0000

“Play can be hard work and serious business,” say the organizers of Extending Play, a conference series that addresses play as more than a leisure activity, considering the factors that shape and influence our notions of both play and playability. Research Associate Professor David Dubin will speak at the third Extending Play conference, which will be held on September 30 and October 1 at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Dubin will deliver a talk, coauthored with doctoral student Jacob Jett, titled, “What game are we really playing?” He will speak during the session, “Alternative Histories of Gamification,” at 10:30 a.m. on September 30. The talk addresses the wider conception of gaming proposed in 1978 by philosopher Bernard Suits; the use of game features or gamification in various contexts; and the application of the Game Ontology (GameOn) model, which offers a framework for proposing answers to the question "exactly what game are we playing?"

Dubin’s research interests include the foundations of information representation and description, and issues of expression and encoding in documents and digital information resources. He is currently teaching courses on information organization and access, and information modeling.

Assistant Professor Emily Knox is a member of the conference review board. Her research interests include information access; intellectual freedom and censorship; information ethics; information policy; and print culture and reading practices.