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School of Information Sciences - University of Illinois


Get to know Nisha Mody, MS student

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:59:37 +0000

(image) A former speech-language pathologist with a passion for social justice, master's student Nisha Mody found her calling in the field of library and information science. While at the iSchool, Mody has served on various committees and been recognized as an American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholar and as part of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce.
Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?

Before I decided to pursue my LIS degree, I was a speech-language pathologist. While I enjoyed helping individuals with speech and language impairments, I realized that I was more invested in providing them and their loved ones with information and support—which is why I was attracted to the field of LIS. Also, I discovered that libraries can provide a forum for individuals to challenge perceptions and push for social justice, giving a voice to those from different races, genders, and sexualities. I have always loved connecting people with information, and I intend to do so with a critical framework in mind.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

I was working as a speech-language pathologist in the Chicago area and wanted to stay in Illinois. The iSchool has a great reputation, and I was also excited to study at one of the largest library systems in the country. A local, highly reputable program with a great library system was a win-win situation.
What particular LIS topics interest you most?

I am very interested in reference, instruction, and information literacy through a critical framework, examining how different power dynamics within race, gender, sexuality, and ability shape research and information.

What do you do outside of class?
Outside of class I enjoy reading (shocking, I know), spending time with my loved ones, looking at cute animals on social media, and writing creative nonfiction. I am consulting editor and a contributing writer for Hack Library School. Read some of Nisha's creative nonfiction.

What career plans or goals do you have?

I am grateful to have recently received an offer to be a health and life sciences librarian at UCLA starting in April. I am so excited to join the team there! My focus will be reference and instruction. After that, I have no idea! I am a firm believer that if you focus on your passions in the present, opportunities you never thought of can arise in the future. I would love to be in a leadership position that helps to foster community within librarianship.

Mark Sorensen (MS ’98) named Illinois Library Luminary

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:57:29 +0000

(image) Alumnus Mark Sorensen (MS '98) has been named an Illinois Library Luminary by the Illinois Library Association (ILA). This distinction honors individuals whose efforts have made a significant contribution to Illinois libraries.

Sorensen has served public libraries, both professionally and privately, since 1982. After a career of twenty-one years with the Illinois State Archives, he retired as assistant director. Sorensen was instrumental in maintaining records management systems for all Illinois public libraries, as well as creating traveling exhibits for display at libraries throughout the state. 

In 1988, he was put in charge of two Commissions to add artwork to the State Capitol in commemoration of its 100th anniversary. He has served as Official Macon County Historian since appointment by the county board in 2004 and is a past president of the Illinois State Historical Society. 

Sorensen is a past president and current member of the Decatur Public Library Board, was vice president for public programs for the Friends organization, a member of the library Foundation, and a consulting archivist for both the Decatur and Moweaqua libraries. While president of the Decatur library, a program for special library services for Macon County businesses was instituted that served as a model for other libraries throughout the state.  

A recipient of the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society, Sorensen is a member of the American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, Midwest Archives Conference, and a Charter member of the Academy of Certified Archivists. 

iSchool participation in iConference 2017

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 14:24:28 +0000

The following iSchool faculty, staff, and students will participate in iConference 2017, which will be held March 22-25 in Wuhan, China. The event brings together scholars, researchers, and information professionals to share insights on critical information issues. The theme of this year's conference is "Effect • Expand • Evolve: Global collaboration across the Information Community."

Wednesday, March 22

Professor and Dean Allen Renear will chair the meeting of the iSchool North American deans, 3:30-5:30 p.m. (by invitation only)

Professor J. Stephen Downie, with Xiao Hu (PhD '10), Samuel K.W. Chu, and C. W-Y. Lee (University of Hong Kong), will present their paper, "Data Science as an Emerging Discipline: The Roles of iSchools in the Era of Big Data," at the workshop, "Information Science to Data Science: New Directions for iSchools," 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 23

Professor J. Stephen Downie, Professor Ted Underwood, Postdoctoral Research Associate Peter Organisciak (PhD '15), and Boris Capitanu (Illinois Informatics Institute) will present "Access to Billions of Pages for Large-Scale Text Analysis," 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Professor J. Stephen Downie and master's student Alex Olivia Kinnaman, with Michael Popham (Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services), will present the poster, "Auditing a Dark Archive," 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Professor J. Stephen Downie and Catherine Renee Blauvelt (MS '16), with David M. Weigl and Kevin R. Page (University of Oxford), will present the poster, "Towards Incorporating Derived Features in Dataset Alignment and Linking," 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Friday, March 24

Doctoral student Jacob Jett, with Thomas Andrew Disher and Jin Ha Lee (MS '02, PhD '08) (University of Washington), will present "Investigating the Status of Anime Collections in Public Libraries," 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Join the iSchool at ACRL 2017

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:40:29 +0000

Join iSchool faculty, staff, and students for the following activities during the Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference in Baltimore, including our reception on Thursday, March 23, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Hard Rock Café Baltimore. Please stop by and visit us at Booth #1305 as well!

Wednesday, March 22

Lisa Hinchliffe, affiliated faculty member and professor/coordinator for information literacy services and instruction at the University Library, will present "Assessing and Communicating Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success through Action Research," 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 23

Maria Bonn, senior lecturer, will present "Understanding the Needs of Scholars in a Contemporary Publishing Environment," with Janet Swatscheno (MS '14), visiting digital publishing specialist at the University Library, 8:00-8:20 a.m.

 Affiliate Professor Lisa Hinchliffe will serve on the panel, "From M.L.S. to Ph.D.: Librarians Pursuing Doctorates," 9:40-10:40 a.m.

Master's student Kristina Williams and Hailley Fargo (MS '16) (The Pennsylvania State University) will facilitate the roundtable discussion, "Tending the garden: Sharing projects that strengthen communities within the academic library," 9:40-10:40 a.m.

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem and Daniel Tracy, affiliated faculty member and assistant professor/LIS and research services librarian at the University Library, will present "Teaching Digital Humanities Tools at a Distance: A Librarian-Instructor Partnership Integrating Scalar into a Graduate Distance Course," 3:40-4:00 p.m.

Maria Bonn, senior lecturer, and Harriett Green, affiliated faculty member and English and digital humanities librarian at the University Library, will present "Humanities Collaborations and Research Practices: Investigating New Modes of Collaborative Humanities Scholarship" with Angela Courtney (Indiana University Bloomington), 3:20-3:40 p.m.

Assistant Professor Emily Knox will serve as moderator for "You Say You Want a Revolution? The Ethical Imperative of Open Access," 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Friday, March 24

Master's student Andrew Janco will participate in the panel, "Managing to Teach: Students, Digital Project Management, and Pedagogy," 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Master's student Kelly Applegate will present her poster, "Buried Treasure: How a Deep Data Dive Can Uncover Global Language Gems," 2:00-3:00 p.m.

At the ACRL Licensed Workshop Showcase, Affiliate Professor Lisa Hinchliffe will present "A Standards Roadshow Overview for 'Planning, Assessing, and Communicating Library Impact: Putting the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education into Action," with Lisa Stillwell (Franklin & Marshall College) and Rhonda Huisman (Marian University), 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Harriett Green, affiliated faculty member, will serve on the panel, "Re-Skilling for a Digital Future: Developing Training and Instruction in Digital Scholarship for Academic Librarians," 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke will give the invited presentation, "How would you like to be remembered? Expanding your pedagogy and professional practice," 4:15-5:15 p.m.

iSchool faculty ranked as excellent for Fall 2016

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:01:35 +0000

Twenty-one iSchool instructors were named in the University's List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for Fall 2016. 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, Betty Bush, John Gough, Jeanne Holba Puacz, Jimi Jones, Emily Knox, Kathryn La Barre, Rachel M. Magee, Bonnie Mak, Jerome McDonough, Kate McDowell, Shubhanshu Mishra, Steve Oberg, Melissa Ocepek, Melissa Salrin, Linda C. Smith, Jennifer Teper, Carol Tilley, Terry L. Weech, Melissa Wong, and Beth Woodard.

Diesner to present research at the Open Science 2017 Conference

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:54:29 +0000

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner will discuss current issues with open science that involve human-centered and online data and her related research at the Open Science Conference 2017, which will be held March 21-22 in Berlin. The Open Science 2017 Conference is the fourth international conference of the Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0, which addresses changes in science and the science system that are related to new forms of participation, communication, collaboration, and open discourse now possible through the web.

This year's conference will focus on open educational resources—course materials (print and digital), modules, streaming videos, software, and other tools, materials, or techniques used to support open access to knowledge. It will offer presentations by international experts, including Diesner, as well as a poster session, a panel discussion, and workshops.

Diesner's presentation, "Innovating compliantly and transparently—road blocks, myths and solutions," will address a set of challenges related to the use of human-centered and online data for research and applications in data science:

From the abstract: The collection, usage and sharing of these data is governed by multiple sets of norms and regulations, including institutional and sectoral norms and rules, intellectual property law including copyright and fair use, privacy and security laws and regulations, terms of service, technical constraints, personal ethics, and national differences in these rules. Problems can arise when students, scholars and practitioners are unaware of applicable rules, uninformed about their practical meaning and compatibility, and insufficiently skilled in implementing them. In this talk, I will discuss strategies for addressing these issues, and provide examples from our research in human-centered data science on solving some of these problems. I will also discuss how intransparencies in data preparation and data provenance – another limitation to openness – can bias research outcomes, and how we can detect and mitigate these shortcomings. 

Diesner is an expert in network science, natural language processing, machine learning, and human-centered data science. She was a 2015-16 faculty fellow at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at Illinois and is currently a research fellow in the Dori J. Maynard Senior Research Fellows program, which is a collaboration of The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She holds a PhD from the Computation, Organizations and Society (COS) program at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science.

iSchool staff present at advising conference

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:16:02 +0000

Karla Lucht, graduate studies advisor and coordinator of continuing education, and Rebecca Hodson, career services coordinator, will present a successful model of new student orientation at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 5 Conference. Over five hundred advisors are expected to attend this year’s conference, which will be held from March 15-17 in Rosemont, Illinois.

Lucht and Hodson will give the presentation, "Destination Early Engagement: A Holistic Approach to Graduate Student Orientation."

At the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, one major goal of our student affairs unit is to facilitate a holistic, engaging orientation for incoming students. The process of designing orientations is dynamic as we shift objectives to fit the changing demographics of our community. The career services and advising units work together to create a synergistic approach to welcoming new students which includes not just information transfer but community building, socialization, and tools to ensure student success before classes even begin. We will discuss the motivation and logistics of moving from a one-day orientation to a more thoughtful orientation week(s), and how we evaluate this structure.

This is their first presentation at an advising conference.

New management of UC2B to benefit local community

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:13:50 +0000

Since 2012, Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) has improved internet access for local homes and businesses by providing high-speed, direct connectivity through its underground fiber-optic network. A recent acquisition by a new provider, i3 Broadband, will further benefit the community through enhanced services.
UC2B has partnered with i3 Broadband, a privately owned company that will assume management of the open-access network from iTV-3, the original service provider. Based on feedback from community and UC2B board members, i3 Broadband plans to aggressively expand UC2B to include a "triple play" of gigabit internet access that includes television and telephone services. i3's goal is to open up a local storefront by summer; in the meantime, community members should visit to sign up for service and view the various offerings. 

"UC2B, with its Community Benefit Fund, is full of opportunities that we hope to use to stimulate creative, educational, and economic developments throughout the area," said Sharon Irish, acting director of the iSchool's Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI). "Imagine virtual exhibits of local history shared across anchor institutions, school children using an electron microscope remotely, or businesses able to share data quickly to promote health initiatives."

A number of faculty and staff at the iSchool made extensive contributions to UC2B during and after the grant period. For example, Jon Gant, founding director of CDI and former iSchool research associate professor, served on the UC2B board and provided direction and planning for the project until his departure from the iSchool in August 2016. In addition to Gant's expertise, the University of Illinois contributed other board participants with extensive knowledge and experience in telecommunications.

"The combination of the UC2B infrastructure, support from the cities and the University, a vendor partner who subscribes to our vision, and the talent and goodwill of our community positions us to become the Silicon Valley of the prairie," said Tracy Smith, director of Research IT at the University and a current representative on the UC2B board. 

Funded in 2009 by $35 million in federal, state and local funds, UC2B has served more than 1,200 residences; more than 300 fiber-connected businesses; dozens of nonprofit and governmental organizations; and every single school, fire station, and major medical facility in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign. The network was designed to provide digital opportunities to more people—by reducing barriers to high-speed internet access—and to spur economic, educational, and social growth. As one of the first gigabit fiber-optic networks in the United States, UC2B is unique in that the University collaborated with its two host cities to implement the grant.

iSchool at Illinois ranked number one

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:49:47 +0000

U.S. News & World Report has once again named the iSchool at Illinois the top graduate school for library and information studies, based on national rankings of accredited master’s degree programs. The iSchool has held the top spot since 1996.

“Our School is pleased to be acknowledged once again for the excellence of our MS degree in library and information science [MS/LIS], which has been at the forefront of innovation for years. We look forward to continued success, expanding our course offerings and curriculum to provide the best possible education for students in a rapidly evolving field,” said Dean Allen Renear.

The iSchool’s ongoing commitment to its MS/LIS includes the recent appointment of a program director, Nicole A. Cooke, to provide leadership in areas such as curriculum development, recruitment, academic advising, and career services. Cooke is distinguished by her work in diversity and social justice in librarianship, receiving the 2017 American Library Association (ALA) Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award as well as the 2016 ALA Equality Award.

In addition to retaining the top position, the iSchool also ranked highly in a number of specialty groups. These include a first-place ranking in Digital Librarianship as well as Services for Children and Youth, and a third-place ranking in School Library Media. The School also placed in the top ten for Archives and Preservation, Health Librarianship, and Information Systems.

The U.S. News rankings are based on the results of a 2016 peer assessment survey sent to deans, directors, and senior faculty in 51 programs accredited by the American Library Association. The last ranking for graduate programs in library and information studies occurred in 2013.

Congratulations to faculty, staff, students, and alumni for their contributions in making the iSchool a national leader among schools of information. For the full list of rankings, visit the U.S. News & World Report website.

Get to know Sandra Enimil (MS ’12), head of the Copyright Resources Center

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 15:37:53 +0000

(image) A lawyer and librarian, Sandra Enimil uses training from both vocations to navigate the world of copyright law. In addition to helping researchers untangle the legal complexities of using third-party content, she uses her reference skills to help them locate the resources they need. Watch Sandra Enimil talk about copyright law.

Where do you work and what is your role? 

As head of the Copyright Resources Center at The Ohio State University Libraries, I help people navigate copyright law. The question I receive most often is "Can I use this?" Researchers want to know how they can incorporate third-party content into their scholarship and research. Increasingly, we've been approaching inquiries as an opportunity to provide information on author’s rights and how to manage rights as a creator (and not just as a user) of content. 

What do you like best about your job?

I learn something new every day. The patrons who visit, call, or email us are looking for help with their research. I have to learn a little bit about what they do in order to discuss possible solutions for whatever brings them to us.

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

After several years of working in private practice and doing legal contract work, a friend who was employed in the archives at the Chicago Defender asked if I would to take over her position while she took a sabbatical. I ended up staying in the position for almost four years. During that time, I met many librarians and archivists who encouraged me to get an LIS degree. One archivist in particular suggested I apply to the iSchool at Illinois and for the LIS Access Midwest Program (LAMP) scholarship. I was accepted into the School and also received a LAMP scholarship. I planned to enroll in the Leep online option and keep my job at the Chicago Defender, but I was laid off a few months after the program began, so I decided to pursue the degree full time and try to complete it in one year. My MS/LIS degree helped me understand the library world. Additionally, I made some wonderful connections to faculty and students. 

What advice would you like to share with iSchool students? 

Don't feel like you have to know exactly what you want to do in school. I had an idea of what I could possibly do, but what I ended up doing was beyond my imagination. 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am currently on maternity leave, so I'm enjoying watching my newborn daughter sleep and binge-watching Netflix shows. When I'm not busy raising a tiny human, I love going to galleries and museums.


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Produced by The Ohio State University

Get to know Kristina Williams, MS student

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 14:37:02 +0000

(image) Kristina Williams believes deeply in the strength of character built by service to one's community and the enrichment gained through civic and neighborly engagement. It was this commitment to community involvement, which she observed in iSchool students, that first attracted her to the MS/LIS degree program.

Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?

I came to librarianship by way of my first graduate degree program at the University of Illinois—I earned a master's in communication following volunteer work as a news media coordinator for AmeriCorps. I realized that I enjoyed research and working in academia, and I found the core values of librarianship to be well aligned with my own professional aspirations.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

While at the University of Illinois, I was deeply impressed by the commitment to community that I observed in so many current iSchool students. Many a weeknight I would find current students volunteering for Books to Prisoners or tinkering at the local Makerspace. You can't say that about many graduate programs, library and information science (LIS) or otherwise. 
What particular LIS topics interest you most?

Information literacy is such an important issue right now. Whether it is understanding the relationship between data and knowledge or navigating the perils of information overload, LIS provides some of the best insights into how our information landscape is structured and what we can do to think critically and make educated choices about what we read, write, and share. I guess you could say I’m a bit of an info lit fanatic. 
 What do you do outside of class?

Right now I work for the Undergraduate Library as a reference and instruction librarian. I am also the managing editor for Hack Library School, a writing collective that represents the experiences of library students from over ten different library programs. My "me time" usually involves listening to NPR, cooking my way through new recipes, or breaking in a new pair of running shoes. 
What career plans or goals do you have?
It's an exciting time to enter the field. After I graduate, I'd like to work at an academic library where I can develop programming that pairs library instruction with improving digital literacies. 

Black and Witt present at Penn Libraries symposium

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:25:24 +0000

Professor Alistair Black and doctoral student Steven Witt discussed their research at the Penn Libraries symposium, The Science of Information, 1870-1945: The Universalization of Knowledge in a Utopian Age, which was held February 23-25 at the University of Pennsylvania and the Beckman Center at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia.  Black presented, "'All information flows toward it, or returns to it in a form worked up into shape': The Intelligence Branch and Libraries of the British War Office, 1873-1914." Abstract: Intelligence has always been an aspect of organized warfare. It was not until the 1873, however, that the British Army effectively recognized this formally by establishing a dedicated division, under the auspices of the War Office, named the "Intelligence Branch," whose work was to be supported by collections of printed materials in libraries spread across a number of locations. Based on documents held in the National Archives (UK), this paper explores the ways in which the work of the War Office Intelligence Branch developed before the First World War in response to imperial and foreign-military challenges. Specifically, attention is paid to the type of information management methods that were employed. Significantly, these methods pre-dated those that emerged around the turn of the century in the first large multinational corporations, in counter-intelligence agencies like MI5 (1908) and in the Board of Trade, which inaugurated a Commercial Intelligence Branch in 1899. They also pre-dated, though subsequently paralleled, the late-nineteenth century emergence of a science of management, which included an identifiable information dimension. Witt presented, "Creating the International Mind: Promoting Peace and the Global Society through Books, Dialogue, and Cultural exchange 1917-1938." Abstract: In 1918, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) worked to disseminate legal, cultural, and historical knowledge throughout the world. These efforts aimed to put an end to war by encouraging international understanding and developing cosmopolitan perspectives that emphasized transnational connections and de-emphasized nationalism. This global educational program was part of a well-funded and highly organized operation aimed to universalize global perspectives through an internationalism that would yield peace through cultural understanding and new forms of global governance. This paper will examine the role of the CEIP in developing transnational networks through libraries, publishers, and universities, anticipating the rise in the power of information networks and civil society groups to effect change on a global level. Black has been a full professor at the iSchool since 2009 and was named an iSchool Centennial Scholar for 2014-2015. He is the author of A New History of the English Public Library (1996), The Public Library in Britain 1914-2000 (2000), and Libraries of Light: British Public Library Design in the Long 1960s (2017). He is coauthor of Understanding Community Librarianship (1997); The Early Information Society in Britain, 1900-1960 (2007); and Books, Buildings and Social Engineering (2009). Among his current research projects is a study of the architecture of the new British Library in the context of the "two cultures" debate in Britain initiated by C.P. Snow in the late 1950s. Witt is director of the Center for Global Studies, and associate professor and head of the International Studies Library at the University of Illinois. His research focuses on the trajectory and impacts of international developments in library and information science, placing global trends in librarianship and knowledge production in the context of wider social and technological developments. [...]

Blake presents biomedical research at inaugural HCB3 Conference

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:43:39 +0000

Associate Professor Catherine Blake will present at the 2017 inaugural Health Communication: Barriers, Breakthroughs, and Best Practices (HCB3) Conference from March 1-3 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An exclusively online conference, HCB3 2017 is sponsored by the Health Communication Online Master of Science program at Illinois. Participants come from all professional areas of healthcare, especially those focusing on the intersections between technology and patient experiences, health literacy, provider-patient communication, cultural health communication, e-health accessibility, and application of theory to real-world practice. The theme of this year's conference is Technology and Electronically-Mediated Communication in Healthcare. Three keynote presentations are scheduled to stream at 12:00 p.m. each day of the conference, followed by a virtual discussion. Presentations will take place during the conference, but discussion boards will be open until March 10.  Blake will give the talk, "Using the Claim Framework in a Mobile Environment." Abstract: Mobile devices have very limited real-estate compared with our desktop interactions. Although we all can access the more than 26 million abstracts in PubMed that reflect the best quality scientific evidence available, the quantity of information is often not amenable in a mobile environment. Our goal is to provide a mobile user with a summary of key findings made in literature. In some cases this removes the need to access the full text of an article, and in other cases it provides the user with a way to navigate to the article that best meets a user's information need. The key to achieving this goal is a set of automated methods that identify the key findings (or claims) from full-text empirical studies. The Claim Framework (Blake, 2010) characterizes experimental findings into five types of claims – explicit, implicit, correlation, comparison and observation – that have been observed in a range of biomedical research settings. Explicit claims appear most often, but comparison claims (Blake and Lucic, 2015) also provide a rich source of information about exactly what entities are being compared, how they are compared and the result of the comparison. In this presentation we introduce the claim framework and focus on how explicit and comparison claims capture key findings from an article. We then show how a summary of the extracted claim facets from these claims provide a new way for a user to interact with the literature that is ideally suited to a mobile environment. In addition to her professorial role, Blake serves as associate director of the iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship and holds affiliate appointments in the Departments of Computer Science and Medical Information Science at Illinois. Her research explores both human and automated methods to synthesize evidence from text. She brings industrial experience as a software developer, formal training in information and computer science, and more than a decade of research experience in text mining, in particular from full-text scientific articles in medicine, toxicology, epidemiology, and diabetes. She was named a 2016-2017 Faculty Fellow at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, a research and development unit of the National Library of Medicine. [...]

Hinchliffe named inaugural recipient of Larry Romans Mentorship Award

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:27:10 +0000

adapted from an ALA news releaseThe American Library Association (ALA) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender and Government Documents Round Tables (GLBTRT and GODORT) are proud to announce Lisa Hinchliffe (MS ’94) as the inaugural recipient of the Larry Romans Mentorship Award. Hinchliffe is an iSchool-affiliated faculty member and adjunct professor, editor of the journal Library Trends, and professor and coordinator for information literacy services and instruction at the University of Illinois Library. “I believe that our community is strengthened when we support everyone in reaching their full potential and professional aspirations,” said Hinchliffe. “I am honored that so many have trusted me to be a part of their journeys and humbled to have my contributions recognized by this award.” Hinchliffe’s mentorship at the University of Illinois as well as in ALA and the Association of College & Research Libraries has provided support to many generations of library school students and colleagues. She has a passion and obvious joy in guiding library students and lifting up the profession. Throughout her career, she has sought out opportunities to assist students: co-authoring papers, including students in presentations, and developing courses and workshops on interviewing, and getting the most out of conferences. The Award’s namesake, Larry Romans, mentored numerous librarians at Vanderbilt University, where he worked for over 30 years. For decades, he also was tremendous leader and mentor in the Tennessee Library Association, providing a positive influence on the association and the careers of innumerable librarians, many of whom have gone on to be ALA leaders. Of particular note, during his 23 years of service to ALA Council, Romans mentored countless new and veteran councilors. “Larry Romans was a mentor to many and continues to be deeply missed by the library community,” said GLBTRT chair Deb Sica. “Lisa’s incredible work and student advocacy is his living legacy. She is highly reflective of Larry’s kind and considerate spirit." The award consists of a citation and $1,000. It will be presented at the GODORT Awards Program during the ALA Annual Conference in June. In addition, the recipient will be recognized at the beginning of the Stonewall Book Awards Program during the conference. For more information about the award, visit the GLBTRT website. As the oldest professional association for GLBT people in the United States, GLBTRT is committed to serving the information needs of the GLBT professional library community as well as the information and access needs of individuals at large. It is home to GLBT Book Month (tm), a nationwide celebration every June, and the Stonewall Book Award, the oldest award honoring GLBT books. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of ALA and democratic institutions. GODORT provides a forum for the discussion of problems and concerns and for the exchange of ideas by librarians working with government documents. It provides a nexus for initiating and supporting programs to increase the availability, use, and bibliographic control of documents; increases communication between documents librarians and the larger community of information professionals; and contributes to the education and training of documents librarians. [...]

App Authors gives elementary students programming experience

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:00:20 +0000

courtesy of the University of Illinois News Bureau Students at Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign are building their own phone apps. Some hope their apps will help solve big problems, such as curbing pollution or money management. Others will let users fight monsters that are trying to take over the world, or let users design a look for their nails. Through an after-school program called App Authors, the students are getting an idea of what the career of a software designer might be like, as well as gaining experience in coding and learning to work as a team to solve problems. The program was designed by researchers at the iSchool. The goal is to get students – especially those with limited access to technology and little coding experience – involved with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities. "What they're really getting is an education about the process," said Deborah Stevenson, director of the iSchool's Center for Children's Books and one of the lead researchers on the project, along with Associate Professor Kate McDowell and Assistant Professor Rachel Magee. "They're getting their feet wet with problem-solving. They're learning to fail and return, fail and return. They're learning that's a big part of coding." App Authors is a multiyear grant project using app creation to engage students and get them excited about coding. The iSchool is partnering with elementary schools and libraries to develop the curriculum. This spring is the second round of the program at Kenwood. It will be offered at the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library this summer and then expanded to libraries in Springfield, Oregon, and Frederick, Maryland. A dozen students are participating in the seven-week program at Kenwood this spring. The program uses design thinking, or focusing on the needs of users and considering diverse perspectives to solve a problem, said Lauren Gray, a master's student who is teaching the after-school program. The students are asked to think about a problem and how an app might be able to solve it. The program focuses on collaboration, something that is already a big part of students' experiences at Kenwood. "We did a teamwork challenge, which frustrated a lot of them, but I wanted to emphasize that asking questions and empathizing with their user and the people they are working with is part of (being on a team)," Gray said. The students brainstormed ideas, then made prototypes of their apps on paper, drawing what would appear on the screen as someone is using the app. One set of students wanted to help solve the problem of global warming. They first envisioned an app where users could photograph polluted areas and then solicit help in cleaning them up. They eventually settled on a game involving objects being shot out of the sky that would also teach about the effects of pollution. Another student initially wanted to create an app that would allow a user to make purchases even if he or she forgot to bring money. Her final idea was an app that would help monitor how much a person is earning every day, what he or she is saving and how much interest is being earned. Games proved quite popular, not surprisingly, with the creations from the first round of the program including a soccer game, a racing game and a game called "Jumpy Horses," modeled after the video game "Flappy Bird." After they made their prototypes, the students began building their apps with App Lab, a programming tool to make simple apps. Then they'll test the apps, look for problems and figure out how to fix them. "We want to make sure kids have the opportunity to give feedback and also learn how to incorporate feedback and use f[...]