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School of Information Sciences - University of Illinois


HathiTrust Research Center hosts fourth annual UnCamp

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:03:49 +0000

(image) Over 140 people attended the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) UnCamp, hosted by the University of California, Berkeley Libraries, on January 25 and 26. In addition to keynotes focused on methodologies of text and data mining, researchers from the fields of information science, digital libraries, literary history, digital pedagogy, and the history of social movements presented their work and its intersection with the HathiTrust Digital Library. Slides and notes from the presentations are available on the Uncamp website.

iSchool-affiliated presentations included:

"Consistency and Confidence in the Million-Book Library"
Keynote presented by iSchool Research Fellow David Mimno, assistant professor of information science at Cornell University

"Mastering Metadata"
Presenters included faculty affiliate Tim Cole, professor at the University Library

"HTRC Crash Course: What is it and what can I do with it?"
Presenters included Eleanor Dickson, visiting HTRC digital humanities specialist, and faculty affiliate Harriett Green, associate professor at the University Library

"HathiTrust Research Center Updates Plenary"
Presenters included Professor J. Stephen Downie, associate dean for research and HTRC co-director

"Curriculum Development"
Presenters included Eleanor Dickson, visiting HTRC digital humanities specialist

"It was impressive to see the breadth and depth of research projects using HathiTrust Research Center resources and the excitement they generated," said Downie.

The HTRC is a collaboration between the University of Illinois, Indiana University, and the HathiTrust to enable advanced computational access to the HathiTrust Digital Library database, a collection of just under 14 million digitized volumes. By developing state-of-the-art software tools and cyberinfrastructure, the HTRC hopes to resolve the technical challenges that occur within massive amounts of digital text, enabling access to the digital growing record of human knowledge.

Underwood’s research shows paradox of women’s representation in literature through the ages

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:52:30 +0000

While the issue of gender equality is more prevalent in modern times than in the Victorian era, a new study shows that in literature, the number of women characters and women authors has declined rather than grown over the years. Professor Ted Underwood led the research, which used machine learning to analyze the presentation of gender in more than 100,000 novels from 1703 to 2009 in the HathiTrust Digital Library. 

According to Underwood, "By 1960, women had lost half the space they occupied in nineteenth-century fiction, even though gender roles had become more flexible."

He and his fellow researchers, David Bamman, assistant professor of information science at the University of California, Berkeley, and Sabrina Lee, a graduate student in English at Illinois, recently published their findings, "The Transformation of Gender in English-Language Fiction," in the journal Cultural Analytics. Using an algorithm Underwood and Bamman had built for another characterization project, they discovered shifts in the words that characterize gender as well as a decrease in the number of gendered words. 

Their work was recently featured in the article, "Women Were Better Represented in Victorian Novels than Modern Ones." As Underwood points out in the article, "Although literary historians have talked about women's departure from the novel at certain points before, nobody's done the kind of broad-scale work that would demonstrate continuous trends. That’s where machine learning comes in."

This research was funded by the Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis and Data Capsule (WCSA+DC) grant through the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). The HTRC is a collaboration between the University of Illinois, Indiana University, and the HathiTrust to enable advanced computational access to the HathiTrust Digital Library database, a collection of just under 14 million digitized volumes.

Underwood is a professor in the iSchool and also holds an appointment with the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is the author of two books about literary history, including most recently Why Literary Periods Mattered (Stanford, 2013). His articles have appeared in PMLA, Representations, MLQ, and Cultural Analytics. He is currently finishing his upcoming book, Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change.

Brooks coauthors paper on social media use during Ebola outbreak

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:07:19 +0000

The 2014 Ebola virus epidemic that originated in West Africa and spread to other parts of the globe was the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. During this period, a frightened public turned to social media and internet search engines for information and to share news of the outbreak. According to a team of international researchers, including iSchool Research Scientist Ian Brooks, understanding the social media activity around a health crisis, like the 2014 Ebola outbreak, can help health organizations improve their communication strategies and prevent misinformation and panic.

Their paper, "Fear on the networks: analyzing the 2014 Ebola outbreak," was published in December in Pan American Journal of Public Health (41, 2017). In addition to Brooks, researchers included lead author Marcelo D’Agostino (Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis, Pan American Health Organization), Felipe Mejía (international consultant, Bogotá, Columbia), Myrna Marti and David Novillo-Ortiz (Department of Knowledge Management, Bioethics, and Research, Pan American Health Organization), and Gerardo de Cosio (Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis, Pan American Health Organization).

The research team analyzed Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, and Google trends as well as other internet resources from March-November 2014. They found that in most cases, news agencies have more engagement with the public in social media than do health organizations. In addition, spikes in activity around a topic can be used to signal to health authorities an outbreak may be underway. They concluded that during an outbreak, health organizations need to not only improve their communication strategies but also to make sure that news agencies are using their communications as reporting sources.

Scholarship recipient interested in pursuing career in academic libraries

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 14:06:36 +0000

Master's student Paige Dhyne likes to connect people with information. It was one of the reasons that Dhyne, who hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan, decided to study LIS after earning a dual bachelor's degree in film/video production and writing from Grand Valley State University. While initially attracted to the iSchool because of its number-one ranking, she became convinced that Illinois was the perfect fit for her after getting to know the iSchool staff, faculty, and students at a visit day last spring.  Dhyne is happy with her decision to enroll in the MS/LIS program. "I've never felt lost or out of place, and the breadth and depth of opportunity here is unparalleled. If I had to make the choice again, I would choose the iSchool every time." She is the recipient of an iSchool scholarship that focuses on recruiting exceptional students, which is made possible through contributions from alumni and friends to the Annual Fund. For Dhyne, the scholarship felt like an affirmation of her decision to study LIS, alleviating some of the "what ifs" and allowing her to make the move to Illinois. "I am honored to have received a scholarship. Since starting at the iSchool, I now realize that I was only limited financially—the sky is truly the limit here—and the scholarship reduced my limitations. I hope I can reciprocate that one day for someone else," she said. Dhyne's research interests include academic libraries, information literacy, and knowledge and information management. She is currently conducting a textual analysis research project with affiliated faculty member Lisa Hinchliffe, professor/coordinator for information literacy services and instruction at the University Library. "The project looks at how librarians, libraries, and research processes are mentioned in introductory-level, undergraduate science textbooks," she explained.  At the iSchool, Dhyne is chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) committee within the ALA student chapter.  "I am really interested in how the ACRL Information Literacy Framework applies to nonhumanities disciplines. After receiving my MS/LIS, I'd love to work in an academic library and balance project management with instruction in some way. I have a passion for the sciences, biology in particular, and I'd like to work with students and faculty in that field of study, maybe as a liaison librarian or subject specialist librarian. Ultimately, I'd like to become the director of an academic library and use my project and knowledge management to better the instructional services the university library has to offer its students." Working as a graduate assistant in the Undergraduate Library has given her hands-on experience in an academic library. "My assistantship affords me opportunities that do not necessarily fit in a classroom setting," she said. "My primary responsibility is to independently teach information literacy sessions at the library to undergraduate students, ESL students, and communication students. I do, however, have some project work that allows me to expand my skillset in collection development, programming, outreach, promotional media, and assessment. I also get to supervise undergraduate students too, which is a great learning opportunity for me." In her free time, Dhyne enjoys gaming, weightlifting, and reading, particularly YA/New Adult fantasy books. "I run a readers' advisory blog/twitter/bookstagram surrounding that genre," she said. "And if I'm not reading it—I'm writing it!" [...]

ISAA seeks nominations for annual awards

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 15:41:02 +0000

The iSchool Alumni Association (ISAA) is seeking nominations for three distinguished awards. The awards are given annually at the iSchool alumni reception held at the American Library Association conference. The deadline for nomination is April 1, 2018.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes an individual alumnus of the School who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of library and information science.

The Leadership Award recognizes a recipient of the master's degree from the School who has graduated in the past ten years and who has shown leadership in the field of library and information science.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a friend of the School including faculty, staff, alumni and non-alumni, who has served ISAA or the iSchool in an exceptional way.

To submit a nomination, please send the candidate's name, present position, name of the award, and specific reasons for the nomination to:

ISAA Awards Committee
iSchool Office of Advancement
501 E. Daniel Street
Champaign, IL 61820-6211
phone: (217) 300-5746
e-mail: ischool-advancement [at] (iSchool Advancement)

The nominator's name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address must be included. Supporting documentation, additional materials, and/or references will be appreciated.

All materials must be e-mailed or postmarked by April 1, 2018.

Wolske organizes workshop on digital equity

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:19:18 +0000

Martin Wolske, interim director of the iSchool's Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI), is organizing a workshop on digital equity for Net Inclusion 2018, which will be held on April 17-19 in Cleveland, Ohio. He is working in collaboration with Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and former CDI senior research associate.
The workshop, "New Ways of Thinking about Digital Equity," will be held as a preconference event on April 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will address new ways of thinking about digital equity in response to presentations by researchers who analyze information access, information poverty, and feminist ethics of care. Participants will learn about a variety of methodological approaches to ensuring information equity and will contribute to future investigations.

Speakers will include iSchool Assistant Professor Emily Knox; CDI Research Affiliate Barbara Jones, former director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; Colin Rhinesmith (PhD '14), assistant professor of library and information science at Simmons College; and CM Winters (MS '96), assistant professor of library science at the City Colleges of Chicago-Malcom X.

Early registration for this preconference event ends March 1. Visit the website for more details.

Established in 2013, CDI fosters inclusive and sustainable societies through research, teaching, and public engagement about information and communication technologies and their impacts on communities, organizations, and governments.

iSchool takes top honors at BOBCATSSS 2018

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:25:24 +0000

(image) iSchool master's student Lisa Morrison won the award for best paper at BOBCATSSS 2018, which was held in Riga, Latvia, from January 24-26. The BOBCATSSS Symposium is organized each year by library and information science students from European universities who plan and implement both the content and the management of the conference as a part of their studies.

Morrison coauthored the paper, "Reading Data - The Missing Literacy from LIS Education," with Associate Professor Terry L. Weech. 

"The paper analyzes the syllabi from required courses in three LIS programs, and it argues for required courses to include more data literacy instruction to ensure that future librarians have the skills they will need regardless of the type of librarianship they pursue," explained Morrison. "The presentation received a really good response from the audience, with several people wanting to know more about the findings, recommendations, and plans for future research."

According to Weech, "To the best of my recollection, this is the first time the iSchool has received the best paper award at BOBCATSSS in the nearly twenty years we have been sending students."

The theme of BOBCATSSS 2018 was "The Power of Reading" and included the topics of reading skills, habits, and communication; memory institutions; and technological solutions. For the past several years, the iSchool has supported student participation in this unique library and information science event.

In addition to Morrison, other participants included:

  • Rachel Bellavia, who presented the poster, "Harry Potter and the Literary Child: How the Boy Who Lived Can Augment Library Programming," coauthored with Rachel McGuire.
  • Lizzy Boden, who presented the paper, "The Politics of Literacy: Libraries and Information Literacy in the 21st Century Political Context – Three National Case Studies."
  • Kathryn Funderburg, who presented the poster, "Grave Witnesses: The Circulation of Manuscript Forms of Richard Rolle's Lessons of the Dead."
  • Siobhan McKissic and Delaney Bullinger, who presented the poster, "Placemaking in Prison Libraries."
  • Laura Rocco, who presented the poster, "To Wear a Book and Its Status on Your Sleeve: Questions of Consumption and Uncommon Textuality."
  • Zohra Saulat, who presented the poster, "More Than a Memory: The University Library in Reviving a Revolution."
  • KayLee Strahan and Delaney Bullinger, who presented the poster, "The Librarian's Dilemma."
  • William (Billy) Tringali, who presented the paper, "It's a Magical World, But Where Is It? Nonhierarchical Cataloging in Public Libraries."

Athletics and analytics make a happy combination for MS student Kameron Wells

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 14:12:52 +0000

(image) Kameron Wells is combining his love of athletics with his interest in data analytics as a student in the iSchool's MS in information management (MS/IM) program. A Champaign native, Wells graduated in 2017 with his bachelor's degree in computer science from Knox College, where he was a four-time letterwinner and starting catcher on the school’s baseball team.

"Sports have been a huge influence in my life," said Wells, whose father played basketball for the University of Illinois. "Growing up, I played basketball and picked up golf in high school, but my true love has always been baseball."

He is still involved in baseball but now as coach. He serves as head coach of the Edison Middle School varsity baseball team in the fall and the Judah Christian High School varsity baseball team in the spring. 

According to Wells, his interest in data analytics developed naturally. "I was that kid obsessed with the stats on the back of baseball/basketball/football trading cards." After earning his MS/IM degree, he wants to get into the field of sports analytics, preferably using data driven-decisions to help player and team performance. 

"The data analytics concentration in the MS/IM, coupled with the flexibility of the program, allow me to tailor my degree to these goals," he said. "The degree was intriguing to me because it's geared to the twenty-first century. Companies are just starting to figure out that they need people with information management backgrounds, and of course, the University of Illinois was ahead of the curve by creating this degree program."

In addition to being a coach and student, he is a graduate data analyst with the U of I Division of Intercollegiate Athletics Sports Technology Department.

"I'm working with all twenty-one varsity teams, the ticketing department, social media department, and athletic training staff on various projects to enhance Illinois Athletics," said Wells. 

His ultimate "end goal" is to be the director of baseball research & development or director of baseball operations for a professional baseball team. Last summer Wells had the opportunity to work with the Baltimore Orioles on a project using data to help drive team decision making and personnel evaluations. He hopes to find a similar internship with a professional team this summer.

In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, playing intramural sports, attending sporting events, spending time outside, watching TV, and reading.

"Since I was a kid, I always envisioned myself attending the University of Illinois," Wells said, "so when the opportunity presented itself, it was something that I couldn't pass up. The iSchool is one of the top schools of its kind in the nation with some of the best faculty a student could ask for. Coming here for my MS/IM degree was really a no brainer." 

Awesome Libraries Chapter provides seed funds for library innovations

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 20:59:48 +0000

A commitment to library innovations led a small group of librarians, including iSchool alumnus Joshua Finnell (MS '07), to create the Awesome Libraries Chapter. The chapter originated from a working group of the Library Pipeline, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting structural changes by providing opportunities, funding, and services that improve the library as an institution and librarianship as a profession. Finnell, head of research and instruction and associate professor in the University Libraries at Colgate University, started the chapter with group members Bonnie Tijerina, researcher at the Data & Society Research Institute in New York, and Robin Champieux, scholarly communication librarian at Oregon Health & Science University. "We wanted to provide an easy, no-strings attached seed fund for library projects and ideas that often fall outside of mainstream funding models," explained Finnell. "We chose to become a chapter within the Awesome Foundation because it provided us with ready-made infrastructure, a recognizable brand for publicity and marketing, and the flexibility to create and run a chapter in line with our principles and with a global reach." In 2017 the chapter was launched as a six-month pilot project. According to Finnell, the Awesome Libraries Chapter is one of only four themed chapters that accepts applications from any geographic location. "Most Awesome Foundation chapters are geographically located in an individual city and consist of approximately ten trustees (often ten friends), all of whom contribute $100 month to fund one project a month for $1,000," he said.  Many of the chapter's early financial sponsors came from the Library Pipeline. Trustees are tasked with discussing and voting on projects each quarter and providing the funding for each project, which will amount to a $300 contribution per trustee for 2018. However, in recruiting and accepting new trustees, the chapter is committed to expanding opportunities for participation. "Through the generosity of many individuals, several of whom wish to remain anonymous, we were able to create 'sponsored trustee' positions, alleviating the financial barrier of interested and qualified individuals from serving as trustees. As a result, we currently have trustees from around the globe and from almost every sector of librarianship," said Finnell. The first project that received funding from the chapter is a collaboration between The Warehouse Project & Gallery, a teen arts center, and the Summit (IL) Public Library, in which teens will celebrate the library's upcoming centennial by photographing and interviewing one hundred local residents about the library’s importance and impact on the community. The exhibit will be mounted in the library for the celebration.  One of the international projects funded by the chapter is TchadEducationPlus, which aims to collect and digitize materials and distribute them free of charge to reduce the educational divide for approximately 800,000 secondary education teachers and students throughout the country of Chad.  The chapter is currently seeking projects, trustees, and sponsors; more information is available on the chapter's website. "At the Symposium on the Future of Libraries at ALA Midwinter, Bonnie, Robin, and I will talk about the success and challenges of the chapter and how we envision this model affecting change in libraries and communities," said Finnell. "We will also hold our first-ever live pitch event! We have eight participants from the around the country pitching their best library idea." [...]

Get to Know Lizzy Boden, MS student

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:19:12 +0000

(image) Like many others, master's student Lizzy Boden was very focused on fake news during the 2016 election. For her research proposal in IS 501, Information Organization and Access, she examined how libraries are combating fake news. She followed up with the topic in IS 590IIA, International Information Associations and Policy, and her findings are available in the ALA-ACRL online publication, "Keeping Up With… Debiasing and Fake News." According to Boden, "The more I researched, the more clear it became that fake news is actually a symptom of cognitive bias rather than a stand-alone problem. As such, tips to consider the authority of sources and even specific misinformation corrections are minimally effective as a solution. That makes the problem much harder to solve—but I think librarians are well placed to be involved in debiasing work." 

Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?
I'd been thinking about it for a long time. My first job was at the River Forest Public Library when I was 16, and I worked at the DePaul University Special Collections and Archives as an undergraduate. After graduating, I took a few years to work and travel, and the more I got to know my preferences, the more I realized that libraries are the right place for me. I love providing information to help people reach their goals. 
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
The iSchool at Illinois was the perfect option for me! I first looked at it because of its proximity to Chicago and #1 ranking, but the more I researched, the happier I was with the School. I liked that I could customize my degree and that I would have access to some of the brightest thinkers in the field, as well as one of the country's best library systems. I also appreciated that so many iSchool classes are technology focused.
What particular LIS topics interest you the most?
I am most interested in community engagement, usability and access for libraries, and international librarianship.
What do you do outside of class?
I'm the curriculum collection GA at the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library on campus, and I also volunteer at The Urbana Free Library Teen Open Lab. Outside of library activities, my favorite hobby is scuba diving, and I hope I have the chance to go again soon. I also love to travel whenever possible and to do yoga.
What career plans or goals do you have?

The million dollar question! I've been trying to leave my options open, but I would really like to be a reference and instruction librarian at a public or academic library. I'm also currently learning more about UX librarianship, and I would love to pursue it further. Ideally, I'll have the chance to combine these interests and maybe even work internationally someday.

iSchool at ALISE and ALA Midwinter

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:39:56 +0000

Connect with iSchool faculty and staff next month at the 2018 ALISE Annual Conference and the ALA 2018 Midwinter Meeting in Denver. ALISE 2018 will be held February 6-9, and ALA Midwinter will be held February 9-13. A reception to honor the Kansas City Public Library, recipient of the 2017 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, will take place on Saturday, February 10, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Ellingwood Rooms A and B at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver. The award is sponsored by the iSchool and Libraries Unlimited. ALISE 2018 Tuesday, February 6 Professor and Executive Associate Dean Linda C. Smith, will co-facilitate a preconference workshop at 9:00 a.m. titled, "A Future by Design: What Do We Teach?" Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn will present her poster, "Expanding Scholarly Communication Instruction for the Next Generation of LIS Leaders," at 6:30 p.m. at the Works in Progress Poster Showcase and Reception. She also plans to recruit focus group participants who teach or want to teach about librarianship and scholarly communication in order to better understand the needs of LIS educators. Wednesday, February 7 Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke and Miriam E. Sweeney (PhD '13), assistant professor at the University of Alabama, will present their paper, "You’re So Sensitive! How LIS Professionals Define and Discuss Microaggressions Online," at 8:30 a.m. Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke will serve on the panel, "'F*** That': Why Fake News and the Weaponization of Information are Good for LIS," at 2:00 p.m. Affiliated faculty member Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (MS '94), professor/coordinator for information literacy services and instruction at the University of Illinois Library, will serve on the panel, "Core & More: Examining Foundational and Specialized Content in LIS Programs," at 2:00 p.m. Affiliated faculty member Clara Chu, director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at Illinois, will be a moderator for "ALISE Community Conn@CT Grant: Addressing LIS Needs of Social Justice Organizations," at 4:00 p.m.  Thursday, February 8 Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke will serve on the panel, "Teaching for Justice," at 10:30 a.m. Assistant Professor Rachel M. Magee will participate virtually on the panel, "Expanding LIS Youth Services Curriculum to Embed Computational Thinking," at 10:30 a.m. Affiliated faculty member Clara Chu, director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, will serve on the panel, "LIS Qualifications, Certification, and the Meaning of ‘Professional’ around the World," at 2:30 p.m. Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke will serve on the panel sponsored by the Multicultural, Ethnic, and Humanistic Concerns SIG: "A Critical Dialogue: Faculty of Color in Library and Information Science," at 2:30 p.m. In addition, she will join the ALISE Board of Directors as the incoming director for Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Doctoral candidate Kirstin Phelps will present her paper, "Collective Leadership Roles for Supporting Community Digital Literacy Initiatives," at 2:30 p.m. Friday, February 9 Affiliated faculty member Clara Chu, director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, will serve on the panel sponsored by the International Library Education SIG: "Within and Without: International Aspects of LIS Education," at 8:30 a.m. ALA Midwinter Meeting Saturday, February 10 Affiliated faculty member Clara Chu, director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, will moderate "Project Welcome: Refugee Resettlement Agencies & Libraries (Symposium on the Future of Libraries)," at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, February 11 Assistant Professo[...]

The Hidden Life of a Toad receives Gryphon Award

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:57:54 +0000

The Hidden Life of a Toad, written and illustrated with photographs by Doug Wechsler, and published by Charlesbridge, is the winner of the 2018 Gryphon Award for Children's Literature. The Gryphon Award, which includes a $1,000 prize, is given annually by the Center for Children's Books (CCB). The prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in kindergarten through fourth grade, and which best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers. With a core of regular committee members, the award has become a way to contribute to an ongoing conversation about literature for inexperienced readers and to draw attention to the literature that offers, in many different ways, originality, accessibility, and high quality for that audience. "We're big fans of nonfiction for transitional reading, and Wechsler's beautiful book exemplifies that genre's advantages," said Deborah Stevenson, CCB director and editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB). "This outstanding early reader follows the lives of toads all the way from the embryonic state to their adult life with accessibility and enthusiasm. The text varies in length and vocabulary difficulty from page to page, giving new readers a chance to stretch their skills while offering places to hone what they have already mastered; stunning close-up photos of toads and their milieu support the text and encourage kids to correlate image elements with words." Three Gryphon Honors also were named: Dog on a Frog? (Scholastic), written by Kes and Claire Gray and illustrated by Jim Field. When the basset hound decides to park his rear on the frog, the annoyed amphibian presents a series of increasingly silly seating arrangements, giving every creature a rhyming object (or another animal) to perch upon: bears will sit on stairs, cheetahs on fajitas, and gnus on canoes. Rhyme, repetition, and absurd comedy will have readers giggling as they gain essential literacy skills.    King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor (Holt), written and illustrated by Andy Riley. Sure to please fans of the Captain Underpants and Lunch Lady graphic novels, this goofy royal romp features nine-year-old Edwin, a.k.a King Flashypants, whose kingdom is threatened by villainous Emperor Nurbison and his fearsome dragon (well, his cow with wings and other accoutrements).   Sam the Man & the Rutabaga Plan (Dlouhy/Atheneum), written by Frances O’Roark Dowell and illustrated by Amy June Bates. Sam gets stuck with the seemingly boring rutabaga for a science class project but bonds fiercely with the vegetable after his sister draws a smiley face on it. Kid logic, kid humor, and a sympathetic, if strange, friendship make this a standout among chapter books. The Gryphon Award was established in 2004 as a way to focus attention on transitional reading. "Kids who've mastered decoding words and letters are at a crucial 'What's next?' stage, and the Gryphon Award answers that question," Stevenson said. "It's our mission and our pleasure to draw attention to the amazing books in a variety of genres that serve readers who are starting to stretch their reading muscles and find books to learn from and love." This year's award committee consists of Stevenson; Kate Quealy-Gainer, BCCB assistant editor; and adjunct faculty member and longtime school librarian Elizabeth Bush, BCCB reviewer. The award is sponsored by the CCB and funded by the CCB's Gryphon Fund. Income from the fund supports the annual Gryphon Lecture as well as the Gryphon Award for children's literature. Gifts may be made to the fund by c[...]

McCarthy receives information technology scholarship

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:31:12 +0000

(image) MS student Mark McCarthy has received the Stan Yellott Scholarship from the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group. The award provides financial support to students interested in pursuing studies related to information technology. McCarthy, an information management student, is certified in information accessibility, design, and policy and has earned several certificates in cybersecurity.

At Illinois he has led hackathon teams, including one that created the "Access Illinois" web app, which integrates existing accessibility maps on campus with Google Maps, and another that identifies a solution to keep people with disabilities at work.

"I personally am a user with a disability, and that affords me a unique view of technology, both in its innovation and pitfalls," said McCarthy. "Upon finishing my graduate studies in information management, I hope to work in user experience and accessible information architecture—further enabling people to be the best they can with creative, pioneering solutions."

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.

Jacobs authors book on transforming libraries for youth

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:51:12 +0000

(image) As a child, MS/LIS student and author Brittany Jacobs was banned from her local library for not returning anything on time.

"I never set foot in a library again until I was an undergraduate and forced to go to the Minneapolis public library for research," she said.

Now, Jacobs works in the children's department at the Naperville Public Library, writes and illustrates children's books, and helps librarians create educational programs for youth. While working for the Summer Outreach and Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program (LEAP) teams at the Free Library of Philadelphia in 2015, she created an after-school STEM and literacy-based Spy Club for K-12 youth that caught the attention of the local media as well as a publisher in Colorado at Libraries Unlimited.

"The publisher asked me to put together a proposal for a book that would give children and youth librarians the tools necessary to create their own programs, tailored to the communities they serve. The proposal was accepted, and I spent eight months writing," said Jacobs. "I have been creating these types of educational, inquiry, and play-based programs for about a decade, and I am thrilled to be able to incorporate them with libraries."

Her book, Transforming Your Library into a Learning Playgroundwas recently published by Libraries Unlimited. It explains how librarians can create affordable and effective educational programs for youth by focusing on play and incorporating existing programs such as the makerspace, story time, and book clubs.

While Jacobs was initially "on the fence" about getting her MS/LIS degree, she is happy with her decision to enroll in the Leep program. She appreciates the online option that allows her to continue working at the library and tailor her degree without taking several required courses.

Reflecting on her experience with libraries as a youth, she mused, "If you would have told me as a high schooler that I would get my MS/LIS, I would have laughed you off the street."

Humanists Win Major Grant to Explore the Future of the Historical Record

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:54:45 +0000

press release courtesy of Illinois Program for Research in the HumanitiesThe Humanities Without Walls Consortium, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, fosters interdisciplinary, collaborative research, teaching, and scholarship in the humanities, sponsoring new areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation. On December 14, the Consortium announced the results of its latest research challenge initiative, "The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate." It awarded one of these grants—a multi-year investment of $138,360—to a team of humanists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The award will support their multi-year research project, titled "The Classroom and the Future of the Historical Record."  This project will investigate recent, profound shifts in how the sources of our knowledge about the past are made. Mobile digital technologies have allowed documentation to become an ubiquitous practice that extends far beyond traditional memory institutions such as libraries and scholarly presses. The Internet is not an archive in a professional sense, but it is filled with a vast panoply of artifacts—images, sounds, films, texts, and data—digitized by people around the world, from originals of their own choosing. Many of these sources can be difficult to interpret or cite, however. Digitization often results in radical de-contextualization, with provenance and proof of authenticity being lost along the way. Much of this new historical record is being built on proprietary platforms provided by IT corporations (Facebook, Twitter). Their primary aim is to commercialize private data, rather than to preserve and sustain knowledge of the past as a common good. Over the course of the three years of the study, students, faculty, and staff from the three participating universities will explore how higher education should respond to this shifting environment for the production of history. They will develop education-based practices for documentary and data literacy work in the 21st century, and partner with students to create better models for producing, preserving, and publishing the past.  At Michigan State University, Sharon Leon and Brandon Locke from the Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research will develop a curriculum to teach students how to produce and analyze historical data. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Patrick Jones, William G. Thomas, and Aaron Johnson will work with K-12 teachers to bring their innovative digitization project "History Harvest" to Nebraska public schools. Scholars at Illinois, including iSchool Associate Professor Bonnie Mak, Kathryn J. Oberdeck, Daniel Gilbert, and John Randolph (Principal Investigator), will build a curriculum that works across the entire life cycle of sources, from their initial identification, to their preservation and publication, to their use within education, research, and public history. Humanities Without Walls funds will be used to support the work of graduate and undergraduate students on the project. In particular, graduate students will be made lead researchers on the project, as part of a special Graduate Laboratory Practicum. Working as a cohort, they will collaborate across institutions to develop documentary applications, skills, and practices that they can carry over into their post-graduate careers, in a range of fields. Over the course of the project, these funds will also allow the team to convene for workshops where they can discuss the results of their local experiments and prepare for joint presentations of their [...]