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Graduate School of Library and Information Science - University of Illinois


Get to know Kayleigh Van Poolen, CAS student

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:45:14 +0000

S.K. (Kayleigh) Van Poolen is a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) student who has advanced degrees in political science, urban planning, information sciences, and law. On November 15, Van Poolen's talk, "Started with a Hurricane Named Katrina," won third place at the 2016 Research Live! competition sponsored by the Graduate College. In the Q&A below, she explains her interest in social and economic justice and her decision to return to Illinois. Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois for your MS/LIS, and what made you decide to return for your CAS? How I ended up in the iSchool in the first place is a bit of a story. I took an hourly position in the Main Library and was asked to stay on, working on several projects. I intended to head off to law school, so I planned to turn down the Library’s offer initially. But after some discussions with my supervisor, I was convinced to stay and completed my master’s at the iSchool while working at the Library. Then I headed to law school, and Hurricane Katrina hit the very first weekend of classes. Because of Katrina, I started extensive work related to social and economic justice. However, upon graduation, life took me for a ride, and I found myself wandering and still searching. As I told one of my iSchool professors, I returned to what I knew, the iSchool. And although many students take the step into the CAS realm shortly after their master’s work, I just did it quite a bit later—over six years later. And when one takes a risk, it helps to take that risk at a school with reputation I knew and a curriculum that had some familiarity. What particular topics interest you most? I pursued social and economic justice projects while in law school and will continue to do so with information science. Thanks to a meeting that included a data science related topic, I have added data science to my interests, building on my days in IT and project management as well as my academics in law. I see data science as a critical aspect of social and economic justice and intend to combine both worlds whenever possible.  What do you do outside of class? I work, and I research. After being out of academics for a while, I spend little time doing anything but class and research-related activities. I took on a practicum this semester, in addition to a full-time course load and GA position with the Law Library, so that has taken up a substantial amount of time. I have spent any available time on research-related activities, pursuing grants, presentation opportunities, conferences . . . pretty much everything, outside of family, is focused on research and job possibilities. In the past, when time permitted, I painted, mostly with acrylic and watercolor; designed jewelry; and volunteered with arts, sciences, and various community-oriented programs. I also play the bass, although that is strictly an in-house activity at this point. What career plans or goals do you have? Ideally, I would love to work for a social/economic justice organization, independent or part of a University, to advocate as well as support their research needs. I am also looking for law schools that have active pro bono and public interest law programs where I can support related research needs. The legal field and law schools are starting to grasp data; instead of limiting data science to the benefit of firms, we need to be outward-looking and use data science to determine policy and legislation as well as advocacy that supports our communities. One thing my journey has taught me is this: you can plan and plan and plan . . . and then something entirely different takes place. Essentially, I am open to possibilities because very little of what I have ever planned worked out "according to plan." [...]

Admissions Committee meeting

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:20:48 +0000

Regular meeting of the iSchool Admissions Committee


  • Email on Confidentiality Policies and Third Party Inquiry Log 
  • IM evaluation (more detailed discussion)
  • Next steps on changing essay prompts for MS/IM and MS/LIS
  • Planning spring meetings: regular recurring monthly
  • Discussion of applications (if needed, closed session)

Questions? Contact kmcdowel [at] (Kate McDowell)


341 LIS


iSchool Admissions Committee

Event Date: 

Tue, 12/06/2016 -
3:00pm to 4:00pm

Get to know Henry A. Gabb, PhD student

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:57:30 +0000

An interest in medical informatics led Henry A. Gabb to pursue a doctoral degree in LIS. Gabb's research goal is to mine the vast scientific literature and genetic databases for biomarkers that predict drug efficacy.

Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?

I studied many interesting case studies while working on a master's in medical informatics. At first glance, these cases looked like computer science problems, but on closer inspection turned out to be information science problems. I decided to pursue a doctorate in LIS to see if I could solve some of the problems described in these medical case studies.

Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

I was already living in Champaign. The #1 LIS program was just a few minutes away, so it didn't make sense to look elsewhere.

What particular topics interest you most?

I initially intended to study the problem of undiscovered public knowledge, particularly in medicine, but I got sidetracked by a toxicology problem. There's a lot of interest in the health effects of exposure to environmental chemicals. The EPA, NIH, et al. have published lists of suspected harmful chemicals that have never undergone risk assessment. I'm studying the degree to which these chemicals are present in everyday consumer products. This will help the EPA and NIH prioritize these chemicals and their prevalent combinations for comprehensive risk assessment based on likely consumer exposure. Some of this work was recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

What do you do outside of class?

I'm a frustrated historian, so I like to read anything about medieval history. I like programming, so I'm always looking for a shiny new programming language to try or an interesting problem that can be solved using computers. Apart from that, I go horseback riding with my daughter and watch a lot of college football on weekends.

What career plans or goals do you have?

I rejoined Intel last October after being away for four years. I'm looking forward to applying what I learned at the iSchool to information science problems within Intel.

iSchool cohosting international workshop on digital scholarship centers

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:37:33 +0000

The iSchool and the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong are cohosting the workshop "Digital Scholarship Centers: Building Library Services for Data-Driven Scholarship" from November 28-30 at the University of Hong Kong. Illinois participants include Professor and Dean Allen Renear; Professor J. Stephen Downie, a member of the workshop's organizing committee; iSchool faculty affiliate Harriett Green and her colleagues Eleanor Dickson and Karen Hogenboom from the University Library; and iSchool alumni Nic Weber (PhD '15) from the University of Washington and Xiao Hu (PhD '10) from the University of Hong Kong.

At the three-day workshop, participants will discover how digital scholarship centers support academic research by bringing together hardware, software, and in-person expertise "to empower researchers with the tools, skills, and information resources to incorporate computational methods into their work." Lectures and hands-on labs will share practical strategies for supporting or partnering in digital scholarship. Topics will include text mining, analysis, and data visualization using the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC); spatial humanities; machine learning; data wrangling with OpenRefine; and publishing data on the web.

Downie is codirector of HTRC, a partnership between Indiana University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the HathiTrust. Established in 2011, HTRC develops cutting-edge software tools and cyberinfrastructure to enable advanced computational access to the growing digital record of human knowledge. "I'm thrilled to have the HTRC contribute its expertise to this workshop," Downie said. "It has been an amazing collaboration with colleagues in Hong Kong and Illinois as well as with some of our own alumni."

"This workshop is another example of how the iSchool at Illinois, working with partners from around the world such as the University of Hong Kong, continues to lead the way in exploring how libraries can provide the services needed by scholars applying advanced digital technology in research and education," said Dean Allen Renear, who gave the opening remarks.