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School of Information Sciences - University of Illinois


DLF Forum Fellows include iSchool student, alumni

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:20:42 +0000

Three recipients of the 2017 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum Fellowships have ties to the iSchool. Jane Kelly, an MS/LIS student in the Leep program, and Nushrat Khan (MS '16) were awarded DLF Forum Fellowships for Students and New Professionals. Richard J. Urban (PhD '12) was named a KRESS+DLF Forum Fellow. The awards recognize the recipients' dedication to their work and the field of digital libraries.

Kelly is the historical and special collections assistant at the Harvard Law School Library. "The work I'm most excited about these days is the HLS Community Capture Project, a grant-funded project that I'm managing to prototype a tool to facilitate born-digital collecting from student organizations at Harvard Law School," she said. "When I'm not working on that, you'll likely find me with researchers in our reading room, managing our print collection of institutional, student, and faculty publications, or doing a little web archiving. I'm interested in the ways in which we can leverage technology in archives and the impact this work has on the people and communities who engage with archival material as donors, archives staff, researchers, and in roles we’ve yet to imagine."

A fellow at the North Carolina State University Libraries, Khan is cross-appointed in the Digital Library Initiatives and on the linked data initiative with the Acquisitions and Discovery Department. "I am not only passionate about learning new languages, but also enjoy learning new technologies and [exploring] their usage for research and scholarship. As a new professional, my goal is to make scholarly digital resources more accessible to users with improved systems by integrating research skills with creativity and innovation. I am particularly interested in digital humanities, scholarly communication, and educational informatics. DLF Forum has been a great venue for me to learn from and engage with other professionals since I first attended in 2015, and I am excited to continue my involvement this year as well," said Khan.

Urban is the digital asset manager and strategist at the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG). "I am currently managing the transition to a new digital asset management system that will handle digital representations of our collections, events, and programs," he said. "With the new system serving as a firm foundation, I will be guiding CMoG's efforts to make our collections available to new audiences online. We also recognize that management of our digital assets is only the first step towards a more robust digital preservation plan. I look forward all that the 2017 DLF Forum has to offer on sharing our collections as data, digital preservation, and our representations of cultural memory. Following on the heels of DLF, I will be celebrating the Museum Computer Network’s 50 years as a community where people and ideas cross-pollinate."

The 2017 DLF Forum will be held on October 23-25 in Pittsburgh.

iSchool faculty release white paper on preserving intangible cultural heritage

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:14:09 +0000

(image) The field of library and information science (LIS) has a long history of research on the preservation of materials in libraries and archives. However, that research has focused almost exclusively on tangible aspects of cultural heritage. 

Associate Professor Jerome McDonough, Associate Professor Lori Kendall, and Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn have released a white paper, "Libraries and Archives and the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Defining a Research Agenda," as part of their work on the Preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage project. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project has collaborated with scholars and practitioners involved in a variety of forms of intangible heritage preservation within the United States—including performing arts, culinary arts, and paper conservation—to further this important research.

The white paper discusses a variety of issues that complicate efforts to sustain intangible heritage, including cultural ownership and intellectual property, problems with the concept of authenticity in relationship to changing cultural practice, and difficulties in identifying a community of practice that can address appropriate interventions. The paper identifies several major potential areas for LIS research on intangible heritage, including:

  • understanding the role of material culture in the practice of intangible culture;
  • identifying the ways in which material culture held by libraries and archives may contribute to the transmission of intangible cultural heritage within communities;
  • developing frameworks for risk assessment of intangible cultural heritage;
  • creating inventories and bibliographies of library and archival material that may contribute to sustaining forms of intangible heritage;
  • working with communities possessing intangible heritage to develop systems of description and classification that clarify the relationships between intangible culture and library and archival materials; and
  • studying the impact of governmental and organizational policy on sustaining intangible heritage, including issues of intellectual property, resource allocation by libraries and archives, and the structuring of memory institutions and their areas of concern.

"Intangible heritage is an essential part of people’s lives," said McDonough, "and libraries and archives possess a large amount of documentary material on endangered languages, ethnobotanical and ethnopharmaceutical traditions, traditional craft practices, and other forms of at-risk intangible culture. We hope that this white paper can spark both discussion and research among libraries, archives, museums, and the communities they serve to determine how libraries can best contribute to efforts to sustain intangible cultural heritage."

Cooke to present diversity workshop at international symposium

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:13:59 +0000

Nicole A. Cooke, assistant professor and MS/LIS program director, will present a workshop at the two-day international symposium, Diversity by Design: Reframing Diversity Discourse in Canada, which will be held on September 13-14 in Toronto. The event will bring together institutions of higher education, information and cultural institutions, community partners, and governmental organizations.

The concept of "diversity by design" was introduced in the publication, "Diversity by Design," by Keren Dali, assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, and Nadia Caidi, associate professor in the iSchool at the University of Toronto. The symposium will examine the question of why, “despite our best efforts, the state of diversity is not getting better significantly or quickly enough” in both educational and professional environments.

In her workshop, "Considering Cultural Competence: Reframing our LIS Practice and Research," Cooke will lead participants through the cultural competence workshop she uses in her classroom at the iSchool and elsewhere as a guest speaker.

Participants will explore topics and definitions related to diversity and social justice, view corresponding media examples, and complete exercises designed to elicit critical self-reflection. This will be followed by a larger group discussion about the importance of incorporating diversity and social justice into the formal and informal educational agendas for information professionals, and into their professional practices. This session will focus on the local presentation (a United States perspective) of global issues, and stress the importance of the continuous improvement and diversification of the LIS curricula in an attempt to prepare the most compassionate and effective information professionals possible.

Cooke is the author of the book, Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals (Libraries Unlimited, 2016). She is the 2017 recipient of the ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award and the 2016 recipient of the ALA Equality Award and the Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity. 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 an MLS and PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University. 

Alumna builds relationships in India through global program

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 13:44:58 +0000

(image) An interest in global education took Tracy Hubbard (MS '05) to India this summer. Hubbard, a library media specialist at the Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies in Evanston Skokie (IL) District 65, spent July in India as a fellow with Teachers for a Global Classroom. 

The goal of the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the nonprofit organization IREX, is to build global perspectives and understanding that can be applied in teaching while also building positive relationships with other countries. Over four hundred teachers applied for the program, and Hubbard was one of about eighty teachers who were accepted. During her time in India, she primarily worked with schools in Parthadi, Maharastra, but toured other parts of the country as well.

"Our host teacher was from a school called Shri Tilok Jain Higher Secondary School. The enrollment was over one thousand students in 6-12th grade (what they call standard). Class sizes would range from 60-120 students. Their main coursework was in Hindi, Marathi (the national language of Maharashtra), English, math, and science. We met with some incredibly smart students," she said. 

In addition, Hubbard visited residential schools for the deaf and hearing impaired and those with developmental disabilities. 

"Every time we visited a school, we were treated as very special guests. There would be speeches, songs, and dancing. The beauty of the people and the culture really stood out. We were so incredibly honored and overwhelmed with how beautiful the students were and how generous they were in their welcoming and sharing," said Hubbard.

She saw two formal libraries during her trip to India, one in a K-5 school in Bangalore and the other at St. Mary’s in Delhi. According to Hubbard, the Bangalore school was very sparse, and a teacher was working with retired veterans from the army to piece together technology via a couple of computers. St. Mary’s, on the other hand, had a beautiful library and a huge section for test preparation.

Hubbard's report for Teachers for a Global Classroom addresses her research findings on how the literature of India has shaped its people. She hopes to continue working with the new friends she met in India, and she is starting a long distance book club to discuss Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni’s Palace of Illusions. Her host teacher is now an assistant professor at Mumbai University working on a program called CLIX, Connected Learning Initiative, which is partnering with schools in India to develop learning via technology.

Hubbard, who is also the library department chair for the fifteen libraries in her district, would highly recommend the program to her fellow educators. "It was a truly wonderful experience."

iSchool faculty ranked as excellent for Spring 2017

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 13:20:58 +0000

Twenty-four iSchool instructors were named in the University's List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for Spring 2017. The rankings are released every semester, and results are based on the Instructor and Course Evaluation System (ICES) questionnaire forms maintained by Measurement and Evaluation in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Only those instructors who gave out ICES forms during the semester and who released their data for publication are included in the list.

Faculty and instructors appearing on the list include Anne Barnhart, Bobby Bothmann, Betty Bush, Anna Chen, Nicole A. Cooke, Peter Darch, Jana Diesner, Jeff Ginger, Paul Healey, Elizabeth Hoiem, Jeanne Holba-Puacz, Emily Knox, Kathryn La Barre, Jessica LeCrone, Scott Matheson, Kate McDowell, Debra Mitts Smith, Yoo-Seong Song, Carol Tilley, Mary Wilkes Towner, Michael Twidale, Ted Underwood, John Weible, and Melissa Wong.

Weech honored for contribution to IFLA and the library profession

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:51:38 +0000

Associate Professor Terry L. Weech has been awarded a Scroll of Appreciation by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for "his distinguished contribution to IFLA and the library profession, especially in the internationalization of library and information science education." Weech received the honor at the closing session of the IFLA World Library and Information Congress on August 25 in Wroclaw, Poland.

His record of service to IFLA includes chairing the Division on Research and Education and the Section on Education and Training, and the Library Theory and Research Section, as well as co-chairing the Satellite Meeting Planning Committee for IFLA 2016.  He has authored or co-authored numerous research reports for IFLA and lectured on librarianship and Library and Information Science education in more than twenty countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. 

In the nearly forty years that Weech has taught at Illinois, he has worked closely with the University's Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, and he has received more than five Fulbright Senior Specialist and similar funded awards for international travel.  In addition to the study of the future of education for library and information science, his research interests include the evaluation of information services and sources, government information access, library administration, library cooperation and networks, library use instruction, and the economics of information. His teaching experience includes appointments at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Emporia State University (Kansas); University of Iowa, Iowa City; and Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.  At the iSchool, Weech teaches the Economics of Information course (IS 549), and the International Librarianship course (IS 585).  In addition to IFLA, he has been active in the American Library Association (ALA), and he has been involved in the administration of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award reception at the ALA Midwinter meeting for nearly thirty-five years. Weech received his MS and PhD degrees in library and information science from the iSchool at Illinois.

Travel fund to honor Dolan’s memory, support student discovery

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 13:09:43 +0000

(image) A travel fund has been established at the iSchool in honor of an alumna who loved to travel and lived in many places, making friends with people around the world.

Although she lived in ten states and three foreign countries, Molly Dolan (MS '04) considered Champaign-Urbana "the true home of her heart." After earning her master's degree in library and information science in 2004, she stayed at Illinois, working as project coordinator for the Digital Libraries Education Program. During her time at Illinois, she built a database for the U of I Alumni Association, worked in Digital Content Creation digitizing rare books and photos, and partnered on a grant to develop a humanities data curation curriculum. In 2010, Dolan left Illinois for West Virginia University, where she served as a digital initiatives and scholarly communications librarian. She passed away on January 7, 2017, at the age of 42. 
"Molly collected wonderfully quirky people and delighted in nothing more than introducing them to each other," recalled her friend Kate McDowell (MS '99, PhD '07), associate professor at the iSchool. "Several of my close friendships grew from Molly saying, 'Hey, I think you two might want to know each other.'"” 

Sarah Shreeves (MS '02) who met Molly through friends in Champaign and at the iSchool, echoed McDowell's sentiment and added "Molly was such an important part of the fabric of the School for so long that it felt important to find a way to memorialize the lasting impression she made on those who knew and loved her."  

The Molly Anne Dolan Travel Award Fund will provide travel support to students enrolled in the MS in library and information science program at Illinois. It is the wish of her circle of friends and colleagues that this fund will enable LIS students to go amazing places, learn new things, and make friends, just like Molly did everywhere she went. 

For more information or to contribute to the scholarship fund, visit the iSchool online giving page or contact the ischool-advancement [at] (iSchool Advancement Office).

Summer program offers Chinese students opportunity to learn about information science

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 18:51:05 +0000


Assistant Professor Jana Diesner taught a course on network analysis to Chinese students participating in the Information Science and Engineering Summer Program sponsored by Global Education and Training (GET) at the University of Illinois. Eighty undergraduates from five Chinese universities took part in the two-week program held last month on the Urbana campus. 

Doctoral students Ly Dinh and Shubhanshu Mishra served as teaching assistants for the network analysis course. Moises Orozco Villicana, director of enrollment management, talked with participants about the degree programs available at the iSchool.

In addition to network analysis, participants learned about control systems in a course taught by Petros Voulgaris, professor in the Department in Aerospace Engineering. GET hosted social activities for the participants as well, including a trip to Springfield to visit the Illinois State Capitol and Abraham Lincoln sites. The program concluded on July 21 with a graduation lunch at the Illini Union.

"It was an honor and great fun to teach a class for these students," said Diesner. "We were delighted to get a chance to work with some of the brightest minds from a variety of Chinese universities. Our interactions with the students also allowed us to learn more about the students' academic backgrounds and traditions, and to connect to their culture and experiences. We were absolutely amazed by the research projects that these students put together in an extremely limited amount of time."

Whole Tale Archaeology Working Group meets DataONE for first “Prov-a-thon”

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:53:42 +0000

Members of the Whole Tale Archaeology Working Group will meet with fellow computational archaeologists, environmental scientists, and other researchers for the first "Prov-a-thon" on practical tools for reproducible science. Held in conjunction with the DataONE All-Hands Meeting in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, the two-day workshop on August 31 and September 1 is cosponsored by the NSF-funded projects Whole Tale, DataONE, and the Arctic Data Center.

The goal of the workshop is to expose scientists to existing and emerging provenance tools from DataONE, Whole Tale, and other projects (e.g., SKOPE),  and conversely, to gather feedback, new requirements, and new ideas for effective uses of provenance from the scientific community. The first day of the workshop will focus on hands-on demos and tutorials using existing tools and prototypes, while on the second day, scientists will work on their own uses cases involving provenance. 

The Prov-a-thon is co-organized by Professor Bertram Ludäscher, iSchool director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship, and principal investigator for the Whole Tale project; Amber Budden, Matt Jones, and Dave Vieglais from DataONE; and Kyle Bocinsky, Whole Tale Archaeology Working Group lead and Ludäscher’s collaborator on SKOPE. Other iSchool participants include Assistant Professor Peter Darch, who leads the Information Science Working Group of Whole Tale; doctoral student Linh Hoang; MS/IM student Pratik Shrivastava; and Hui Lyu (MS ‘17), who is now in the PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. All three students conducted provenance research and development as 2017 summer interns for DataONE (Hoang, Lyu) and Whole-Tale (Shrivastava). They will present posters on their work on "Prospective and Retrospective Provenance Queries using YesWorkflow, RDF, and SPARQL" and "Opening the Black Box of a Paleoclimate Reconstruction based on PaleoCar" at the workshop. 

"Provenance information has long been recognized as crucial metadata in the information sciences, such as in archival science and library and information science, but in recent years, provenance research has also been a hot topic in computer science. Now it is interesting to see whether and how this research may be translated into practical tools for the computational sciences and data science," said Ludäscher, who conducts provenance research in a number of his projects.

"Provenance is at the heart of transparency and open science and can help debug hard-to-reproduce computational studies. I am very much looking forward to seeing scientists and provenance tool makers join the fray in this first Prov-a-thon," he added.

Oates and Cheng complete digital preservation, digital musicology projects at Oxford

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 19:07:39 +0000

Adapted from an Oxford e-Research Centre press release Two ischool graduate students undertook placements at Oxford University this summer. The placements were part of the Oxford-Illinois Digital Library Placement Program, an ongoing collaboration between Illinois and Oxford. Master's student Anna Oates and doctoral student Jessica (Yi-Yun) Cheng spent six weeks at the Bodleian Libraries and the Oxford e-Research Centre, respectively. The program, a collaboration between the iSchool, Oxford e-Research Centre, and Bodleian Libraries, is now in its fourth year. Kevin Page, the Centre's coordinator for the program, and Michael Popham, head of Digital Collections & Preservation Services and Bodleian's coordinator for the program, work closely with the students on specific projects during their placements, which include attendance at the popular Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School. Oates's project focused on student theses in Oxford's Institutional Repository and the challenges faced in meeting the International Organization of Standardization or ISO 19005 Standard for document management. During her placement, she worked with the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA), which hosts rich collections created by student and faculty researchers at the University of Oxford. Among the collections in ORA are student theses, often saved as PDF/A (Portable Document Format-Archival) files, which is the ISO 19005 standard for long-term preservation of electronic documents. "I am deeply grateful for every moment spent with both folks at [Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services] and the Oxford e-Research Centre," Oates said of her experience. "Each day, my conceptions of information science, particularly regarding digital preservation, were challenged, which speaks to the wonderful environment that is Oxford. Those moments that kept me on my toes, as well as the connections I made as part of the placement, will send me back to Illinois with better direction and understanding of the value of my work." Both Oates and Cheng will be submitting abstracts for poster presentations at iConference 2018. In addition, Oates plans to submit an abstract for a presentation at the International Digital Curation Conference 2018 and extend her research project by completing a master's thesis at Illinois.  Cheng's area of work at the Centre was in digital musicology. The Centre's musicologists are studying how features characterizing the musical audio signal can approximate semantic descriptions of interest to musicologists. Specifically, they are exploring the use of Audio Feature Ontology (AFO), a descriptive framework for expressing different conceptualizations of, and designing linked data formats for, content-based audio features. Cheng's work explored the feasibility of "feature shape-based filtering and querying" within the Internet Live Music Archive, a large collection of audio recordings. She further investigated the applicability of such an approach within the domain of textual information. Cheng said of her time at the Centre, "I think I would describe it as a 'once-in-a-lifetime research experience' in beautiful Oxford! Getting to know about digital musicology and music information retrieval (MIR), which I had no knowledge of prior to the placement program, was very interesting. Also, it was particularly useful for me to get some hands-on experience with SPARQL queries and other Linked Data related tools. The people in the Centre were all really supportive and kind. I will definitely miss everything there." Cheng will enter the second year of her PhD studies this fall, resuming her research on taxonomy alignment of the Euler project. She also hopes to follow up on the MIR and feature shape research with the e-Research Centre team. [...]

Kuykendall brings love of library to job at alma mater

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 15:06:53 +0000

(image) Bradley Kuykendall (MS '15) was a "library junkie" as an undergraduate at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Now serving as the reference and instruction librarian at Lincoln University, he is in a position to give back to his alma mater and recruit more students into the field of library and information science.

"I never had intentions of becoming a librarian until I had an altercation with the library director about interlibrary loans (ILL)," said Kuykendall, who majored in business administration and management as an undergraduate. "He didn’t like me standing at the bookstore, telling all the students about ILL. We talked about it, then he gave me a job. The rest was history."
The MS/LIS program at the iSchool provided a strong foundation in librarianship that has helped Kuykendall work in various different industries. Prior to joining Lincoln University, he was a researcher for John Deere at the University of Illinois Research Park.

Kuykendall's advice to students is to get involved in iSchool programs and organizations and build relationships. As an MS student, he served as treasurer of the American Library Association (ALA) student chapter.

"The School provided me with access to a network of alumni across the country that has helped me personally and professionally," he said.

At Lincoln University, Kuykendall serves faculty, students, and the Jefferson City community, providing reference information and instruction on how to use the online catalog, electronic resources, and libguides. He also manages and trains circulation desk student workers. In addition, Kuykendall is the vice president of the Faculty Senate at Lincoln University. In his spare time, he likes to read and work out.

"I used the library all the time as an undergraduate. To this day, I still enjoy spending time in the library after work," Kuykendall said.

Katrina Fenlon defends dissertation

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 14:50:11 +0000

Doctoral candidate Katrina Fenlon successfully defended her dissertation, “Thematic research collections: Libraries and the evolution of alternative scholarly publishing in the humanities,” on September 8.

Her committee included Carole Palmer (chair), professor and associate dean for research, University of Washington Information School; Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn; Julia Flanders, professor, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Northeastern University; and Dean Allen Renear.

From the abstract:

The omission of digital scholarship from systems of scholarly communication – including peer review, library collection, discovery, organization, and preservation – poses a potential detriment to the evolution of humanities scholarship and the completeness of the scholarly record. One  emergent  genre  of  digital  production  in  the  humanities  is  the thematic  research collection (Palmer,  2004):  a collection created  by  scholarly  effort,  which  gathers  and provides access to primary sources to support research on a theme. This study investigates the defining features of thematic research collections, and considers the challenges for libraries in supporting this genre of scholarly production. Through a broad typological analysis of a large sample of collections, in tandem with a detailed qualitative content analysis of representative collections, this project characterizes collections in terms of their defining attributes and their distinctive differences, both from one another and from other kinds of collections. Through a set of interviews with practitioners in digital humanities centers and libraries, this study illuminates the challenges to the sustainability and preservation of thematic research collections, and potential strategies for ensuring their long-lived contributions to scholarship.

Twidale named Outstanding Information Science Teacher by ASIS&T

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 14:47:48 +0000

Professor Michael Twidale, program director for the iSchool's MS in information management, is the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). The award recognizes Twidale's unique teaching contributions through his methods of explaining highly technical material to students in various learning environments. According to nominator Linda C. Smith, professor and associate dean for academic programs, Twidale "has been an outstanding information science teacher throughout his twenty years at Illinois, with his impact extending literally around the world. In courses such as Interfaces to Information Systems, Entrepreneurial IT Design, and Museum Informatics, whether face to face, online, or hybrid, he consistently performs as a master teacher with a strong commitment to students." Twidale regularly appears on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent issued by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus each semester. In addition, for his accomplishments in teaching online, he was recognized in 2009 with the Campus Award for Excellence in Off-Campus Teaching. "While mentored by him, I've seen Professor Twidale teach in various contexts—instructing in class, leading workshops, and one-on-one advising," said Peter Organisciak (PhD '15), assistant professor in the Department of Research Methods and Information Science at the University of Denver. "Throughout this time, he's demonstrated creativity, engagement, and inclusiveness with remarkable consistency." Twidale is an expert in computer-supported cooperative work, collaborative technologies in digital libraries and museums, user interface design and evaluation, information visualization, and museum informatics. In her letter of nomination, Smith notes that Twidale considers his role as a teacher as designing learning experiences, an activity similar to the design of user experiences that he studies and undertakes in his own research. "There is no better way to learn a new technology than through experimentation, and Mike has an amazing ability to provide his students with the kind of 'sandbox' they need to play around with new technologies safely, without the fear that something will go wrong. His students experience a kind of 'learning by doing' that provides them with the confidence to master new skills while also producing an end product or outcome that they can proudly show off to their friends, family, and colleagues. I find myself using these same techniques in my own courses to help my own students develop new skills and engage with new concepts," said Paul Marty (PhD '02), professor in the School of Information at Florida State University. Likewise, Andrea Thomer (PhD '17), assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan, confirmed the far-reaching impact of Twidale's efforts. "Mike is one of the finest educators I have ever had the honor of learning from and collaborating with. His teaching style informs my teaching, and my research, every single day. He has helped shape scores of library and information scientists into the creative information professionals they are today." Twidale will be presented with the award at the 2017 ASIS&T Annual Meeting, which will be held from October 27 to November 1 in Washington D.C. "I am thrilled to receive this award from my professional association. It is an honor to be recognized for my efforts in developing innovative methods to engage and inspire students," Twidale said. [...]

SKOPE project helps researchers reconstruct and study past environments

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 17:54:46 +0000

Thanks to a new online resource for paleoenvironmental data and models under development at Illinois and partner institutions, historian Richard Flint can gauge whether environmental factors played an important role in driving the migration of Pueblo Indians from the Spanish province of New Mexico in the seventeenth century. Using SKOPE (Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments), scholars such as Flint and the larger community of archaeologists will be able to discover, explore, visualize, and synthesize knowledge of environments in the recent or remote past. "We are aiming to support different types of users—from researchers asking fundamental questions in the historical social sciences using climate retrodictions from tree-ring chronologies to developers of new computational models that produce such paleoenvironmental data—who want to build and share their models in a transparent and reproducible manner," said Professor Bertram Ludäscher, one of the principal investigators of the collaborative SKOPE project. Based on an initial design and early prototype developed since 2014 by the team from Illinois, Arizona State University, and Washington State University, the SKOPE partners were awarded collaborative grants totaling $1.3 million to develop and deploy the next phase of the project. As part of the software development effort, researchers from the iSchool have also teamed up with NCSA's CyberGIS Center, directed by Shaowen Wang, professor at the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science. As the SKOPE system is further developed, it will facilitate discovery of and access to additional sources of paleoenvironmental sample data (e.g., pollen for retrodictions) and to other spatial datasets (e.g., soils, surface hydrology, and elevation), while building on the infrastructure to provide researchers with easy access to the model outputs. Scholars in such diverse disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, ecology, economics, geography, political science, and sociology can benefit from the level of detail provided by the datasets. SKOPE is being developed as a dynamic resource, allowing users to rerun models with different inputs and accommodating new models. Data provenance—i.e., the lineage of data products in terms of computational steps and input data—will be exposed and made queryable using YesWorkflow, a modeling approach and associated set of software tools that support authors of script-based scientific workflows in their quest to make their computational science more transparent and reproducible. 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. His current research focus includes both theoretical foundations of provenance and practical applications as well as 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. [...]

Williams returns to the iSchool as student coordinator and advisor

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:31:52 +0000

(image) Jessica Williams (MS '13) joined the School on August 16 as a graduate student coordinator and academic advisor. In this role, she will provide academic advising and program planning for students enrolled in the MS in information management (MS/IM) program, as well as work with Michael Twidale, professor and MS/IM program director, and others to continue to evolve the program. 

Williams holds a master's degree in English from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's degree in English from Auburn University. She decided to pursue her MS in library and information science following a recommendation from one of her professors about the collaborative nature of the field. Williams recently started her Certificate of Advanced Study at the iSchool with the goal of enhancing her expertise in the management of electronic records and digital archives.

Prior to joining the iSchool staff, Williams worked at the University's Facilities and Services division as a records and information management coordinator, a job that evolved from the graduate assistantship she held there as an MS/LIS student.

"One of the things I really enjoyed in my previous position was talking to graduate students about their plans and what they needed to do to obtain their goals," she said. "When I saw this position open, I thought it would be interesting and fun to do that full time, with the added benefit of getting to share my experiences and what I've learned in the field with more students." 

Williams looks forward to expanding the programming available for MS/IM students and helping students be successful in their academic career and beyond.