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School of Information Sciences - University of Illinois





 



Knox elected ASIS&T director-at-large

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:34:58 +0000

Assistant Professor Emily Knox has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). Her three-year term as a director-at-large will begin on November 1, 2017.

ASIS&T is a professional organization that seeks to discover new theories, practices, and tools to improve information access. Founded in 1937, today the group boasts an international membership representing fifty countries. Publications of the association include the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology, and Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST).

Knox joined the iSchool faculty in 2012. Her research interests include information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, and the intersection of print culture and reading practices. She recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context, published by Rowman & Littlefield. Her previous book, Book Banning in 21st-Century America, which was also published by Rowman & Littlefield, addresses challenges to materials in public libraries and schools. She serves on the boards of the Freedom to Read Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, and Beta Phi Mu and is the treasurer of the ASIS&T Information Ethics and Policy SIG.

Knox received her PhD from the doctoral program at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, and she earned her master's in library and information science from the iSchool at Illinois.

"I'm looking forward to serving on the ASIS&T board and working to strengthen the association's mission to improve access to information for all," said Knox. 




Scholarship recipient balances coursework and military career

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:33:51 +0000

(image) When Rob Callahan isn't participating in an online class, he is out flying helicopters. First Lieutenant Callahan flies H-60 Blackhawks as an aeromedical evacuation officer in the U.S. Army. 

"I have been fortunate to have commanders and supervisors who support my off-duty education," he said. "Since classes are held at the same time each week, I do my best to shape my schedule so I am available for the live sessions. When unavoidable conflicts arise, my professors are both understanding and accommodating, and Moodle recordings help me keep up to date."

Callahan is currently working on his MS in information management (MS/IM). He is the recipient of a scholarship that focuses on recruiting exceptional students, which is made possible through contributions from alumni and friends to the iSchool's Annual Fund.

"Receiving a recruitment scholarship helped make my decision to accept a spot in the MS/IM program. Graduate school is an investment of both time and money; knowing that the iSchool thought I was worth their time and money is a big confidence booster," Callahan explained.

Originally from New York City, Callahan earned his AB as a College Scholar at Cornell University, where his coursework focused on enlistment motivations and his senior thesis addressed civil-military relations at Cornell. He wanted to gain a better understanding of the information-driven systems he uses every day, so he decided to pursue an information science degree. He chose the iSchool for his graduate studies because of its excellent distance learning program.




Turk’s yt project receives NSF grant to expand to multiple science domains

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 19:26:16 +0000

The yt project, an open science environment created to address astrophysical questions through analysis and visualization, has been awarded a $1.6 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue developing their software project. This grant will enable yt to expand and begin to support other domains beyond astrophysics, including weather, geophysics and seismology, molecular dynamics, and observational astronomy. It will also support the development of curricula for Data Carpentry, to ease the onramp for scientists new to data from these domains.

iSchool Assistant Professor Matthew Turk is leading the project with Nathan Goldbaum, Kacper Kowalik, and Meagan Lang of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and in collaboration with Ben Holtzman at Columbia University in the City of New York and Leigh Orf at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

yt is an open source, community-driven project working to produce an integrated science environment for collaboratively asking and answering questions about simulations of astrophysical phenomena, leading to the application of analysis and visualizations to many different problems within the field. It is built in an ecosystem of packages from the scientific software community and is committed to open science principles and emphasizes a helpful community of users and developers. Many theoretical astrophysics researchers use yt as a key component of all stages of their computational workflow, from debugging to data exploration, to the preparation of results for publication.

yt has been used for projects within astrophysics as diverse as studying mass-accretion onto the first stars in the Universe, the outflows from compact objects and supernovae, and the star formation history of galaxies. It has been used to analyze and visualize some of the largest simulations ever conducted, and visualizations generated by yt have been featured in planetarium shows such as Solar Superstorms, created by the Advanced Visualization Lab at NCSA.

"I'm delighted and honored by this grant, and we hope it will enable us to build, sustain, and grow the thriving open science community around yt, and share the increase in productivity and discovery made possible by yt in astrophysics with researchers across the physical sciences," said Principal Investigator Matthew Turk.




Gengler brings knowledge, expertise to alumni affairs role

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 19:12:48 +0000

(image) Alumna and longtime staff member Jill Gengler (MS '99) has been named director of alumni affairs for the iSchool. In her new role, she will manage alumni engagement and programming, collaborating closely with other units in the iSchool and on campus.

Gengler, who began working at the iSchool after earning her MS degree in library and information science, has held positions of increasing responsibility, serving most recently as Help Desk manager. With nearly 20 years of experience in student support roles, she has developed strong connections with iSchool graduates as well as valuable institutional knowledge and administrative skills. She is passionate about the School, its mission, and the community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who contribute to its ongoing success.

"I've always enjoyed building relationships with our students," said Gengler. "I love to hear what's brought people to the iSchool, what people are studying, and what kind of experiences they’re having while they’re a part of our community. I do my best to keep track of people as they graduate and move on—social media has been a great help."

With a BA in teaching of social science from the University of Illinois, Gengler taught high school history in Danville, Illinois, before moving to the Chicago suburbs. She was working part time as a circulation assistant in the St. Charles Public Library when she enrolled in the Leep program. She served as a graduate assistant while earning her MS degree, and thereafter as the School's computer assisted instruction specialist, manager of instructional technology, and for the past ten years, Help Desk manager.

In 2013, Gengler was honored by the iSchool's alumni association with the Distinguished Service Award, which recognized her commitment to developing a strong sense of community both within the School and with alumni.

Gengler, who begins her new position on August 14, looks forward to connecting with alumni and listening to their stories. "I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with so many people, and I'm excited to get to know more of the alumni who came before me. I really cannot wait to get started!"




Gasser’s grant lays groundwork for student success

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 19:11:37 +0000

A project led by iSchool Professor Les Gasser, "Simulating Social Systems at Scale (SSS)," has laid the groundwork for a prestigious award to a student researcher. Santiago Núñez-Corrales, an Informatics PhD student directed by Gasser, was recently chosen from among several hundred applicants to receive an ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational & Data Science Fellowship, worth $15,000 per year for at least three years. 

Gasser's SSS project, which earned a 2016-2017 Faculty Fellowship from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), demonstrates new approaches to building very large computer models of social phenomena such as social change, the emergence of organizations, and the evolution of language and information. The project also explores new ways of connecting "live" social data to running simulations and new ways of visualizing social processes.

Núñez-Corrales is working on multidisciplinary problems in the project with three elements: (1) discrete event simulations that are too large and complex to compute complete solutions with available computing resources; (2) simulation elements that can be combined, condensed, or eliminated stochastically; and (3) specific driving applications that are very large data-driven models of social systems. He is also developing a novel method for comparing content of simulations based on "spectral analysis" of the simulation activity. 

"Research like this requires the ability to draw together knowledge from many disciplines including simulation, statistical physics, stochastic computing, and domain issues such as modeling social or biological structures and their evolution dynamics. Santiago has the fluency in all of these arenas to be able to synthesize novel solutions that push the state of the art, and this had a direct impact on his success," Gasser said.

Gasser has a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science and faculty affiliate appointments in the Computational Science and Engineering program and the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Institute for Software Research at the University of California, Irvine. He has published over seventy technical papers and five books on the topics of social informatics and multi-agent systems.




iSchool well represented at Digital Humanities 2017

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:46:22 +0000

Several iSchool faculty, staff, and students will present their research at Digital Humanities 2017, the annual conference of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations. The event will be held in Montreal, Canada, on August 8-11.

Presentations, posters, and panels will include:

"Building Worksets for Scholarship by Linking Complementary Corpora"
Presenters include Professor J. Stephen Downie and faculty affiliate Timothy Cole

"Building Capacity for Digital Scholarship & Publishing: Three Approaches from Mellon's 2014-2015 Scholarly Communications Initiative"
Presenters include faculty affiliate Harriett Green

"Creating a Policy Framework for Analytic Access to In-Copyright Works for Non-Consumptive Research"
Presenters include Professor J. Stephen Downie; Eleanor F. Dickson, visiting HTRC digital humanities specialist; and Daniel G. Tracy, information sciences and digital humanities librarian

"ARL Digital Scholarship Institute"
Presenters include Daniel G. Tracy, information sciences and digital humanities librarian

"Big-Data Oriented Text Analysis for the Humanities: Pedagogical Use of the HathiTrust+Bookworm Tool"
Presenters include Professor J. Stephen Downie and Postdoctoral Research Associate Peter Organisciak 

"Modeling Creativity: Tracking Long-term Lexical Change"
Presenters include Postdoctoral Research Associate Peter Organisciak 

"Informing Library-Based Digital Publishing: A Survey of Scholars' Needs in a Contemporary Publishing Environment"
Presenters include Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn, Research Scientist Megan Senseney, doctoral candidates LaTesha Velez and Katrina Fenlon, and faculty affiliate Harriett Green

"Collaborations in the Global Midwest: The Diffusion of DH Values in Research Collaborations in the Humanities Without Walls consortium"
Presenters include Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn, Research Scientist Megan Senseney, and faculty affiliate Harriett Green




Grant to expand Data Capsule Service of the HathiTrust Digital Library

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:25:57 +0000

The iSchool at Illinois is involved in a partnership that has received a research grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for an extension of the Data Capsule service, which enables remote access by the HathiTrust Digital Library to other collections managed by research libraries. The partnership is led by the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University. 
  
As the volume of digital content has expanded exponentially over the past several years, researchers and educators have recognized the potential of big data techniques to analyze, access, and organize digital scholarly collections. The Data Capsule service, which was developed for use in the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), creates virtual computers for users to access a restricted collection. Within HTRC, the Data Capsule service is used for non-consumptive analytics, which allow the computer to analyze the text but doesn’t allow the user to read or disseminate copyrighted content. Non-consumptive analytics include text extraction, textual analysis and information extraction, linguistic analysis, automated translation, image analysis, file manipulation, OCR correction, and indexing and search capabilities.

"Enabling greater library and archival community use of the HTRC Data Capsule service will open some very unique possibilities for use of born-digital content within many different types of libraries and archives," said Beth Plale, professor at Indiana University, who is leading the initiative. "The grant draws from years of experience of providing a similar service within HathiTrust and proposes to evaluate the needs of research libraries in other cases of restricted data requiring safeguarding the interests of right holders and protecting privacy."

The project will partner with eight academic libraries across the country to understand current library needs and practices in provisioning library services for computational access to special collections having constraints due to sensitivity or restrictions. It also will extend the Data Capsule service to broader needs of provisioning for analytical access to restricted collections across a range of collections and uses; study extensions of Data Capsule to cloud computing environments for broader uses; and identify gaps in skills needed for librarians to enable secure data analytics and provide resources that can address those gaps.

Funded partners include Illinois, Indiana, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Virginia. Lafayette College, MIT, Rutgers University, Swarthmore College, and UCLA are also engaged in the project.

The two-year grant is for $360,000.

"We are delighted to be part of the partnership that is bringing the Data Capsule technology to the broader library world," said J. Stephen Downie, iSchool professor, associate dean for research, and co-director of the HTRC. "This exciting technology opens up analytic access to new collections that would otherwise have been restricted for researchers."




Thinking beyond the codex

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:02:22 +0000

Bonnie Mak will join book artists, conservators, and archivists for a discussion of the future of the book at the symposium, "Codex: History, Art, and Practice." Hosted by the Ohio Preservation Council and the State Library of Ohio, the symposium brings together information professionals from across the state who are interested in the preservation of documentary heritage. 

In her talk, "Publication, Post-Codex," Mak will offer a provocation on academic publishing beyond the single-authored book. 

"Although innovative approaches to scholarship continue to be touted by university administrators, relatively little attention has been paid to how such work might be registered, disseminated, and preserved," Mak said. "I hope to stimulate further debate about what 'innovative' publications are, how institutional infrastructures can support them, and who will bear their costs." 

Mak's discussants include bookbinder and conservator, James Reid-Cunningham, and letterpress printer and book artist, Macy Chadwick.

The symposium takes place on August 4 at the Jessing Centre in Columbus, Ohio.

Mak is an associate professor at the University of Illinois, jointly appointed in the iSchool and the Program in Medieval Studies. Her first book, How the Page Matters (2011), examines the interface of the page as it is developed across time, geographies, and technologies. A second book-length project, Confessions of a 21st-Century Memsahib, examines the digital texts and images that have become key resources for humanistic scholarship. Ongoing collaborations include an exploration of the card catalogue as a way of knowing.




Two new lecturers join the iSchool

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:25:54 +0000

The iSchool welcomed two new lecturers this summer. Elizabeth Wickes (MS '16) began her position as lecturer on June 16, and John Weible began his position as senior lecturer on July 16. They will contribute to the development and teaching of information technology-related courses for both the MS/LIS and MS/IM programs.

Wickes came to the iSchool from the University Library, where she worked for the past two years as a data curation specialist. Prior to starting her MS/LIS studies, she held positions as project coordinator, data curator, and curation manager with WolframAlpha in Champaign. As an iSchool MS student, Wickes served as a research assistant in the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS). This past year she taught Foundations of Information Processing (IS 452) as an adjunct lecturer. Since 2013, she has served as co-organizer of the Champaign-Urbana Python User Group.

"I am very interested in understanding how programming is learned, particularly by students and researchers from the humanities and arts. So working with combinations of MS/LIS and MS/IM students is perfect," said Wickes.

Wickes is a certified instructor for Software Carpentry, a volunteer organization whose goal is to teach scientists basic lab skills for research computing. "I was able to gain my certification during my MS/LIS coursework at the iSchool because of the wonderful flexibility of our program. I look forward to continuing that instruction in our campus community," she said.

Weible worked for the University Library from 1998-2010 as a network analyst, director of library systems, and manager of IT infrastructure and software development. Beginning in 2010, he served as cofounder and president of Sharp Moon Inc., which developed and provides the Callisto service to assist research libraries with management of e-content. Since 2012, he also has been an iSchool adjunct lecturer, teaching Introduction to Databases (IS 490DB) on campus and online. Most recently, he taught Foundations of Information Processing (IS 452). 

"This fall I start a new course, Programming for Analytics and Data Processesing (IS 590PR), which is aimed at deepening students' programming skills, especially the aspects that lead to higher quality code and better collaborative development," Weible said. "Originally, we were targeting only students who had taken IS 452 or one or two other programming classes, but an interesting challenge is that many of our incoming MS/IM students already have a degree in computer science or some professional programming experience. I’m working on how to leverage their collective and varied experience, through group work to better simulate real-world team development situations."

Wickes and Weible look forward to teaching full time and sharing their real-world experience and technical expertise with iSchool students. 




Schneider to deliver keynote at VIVO Conference

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 16:22:16 +0000

Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider will serve as a keynote speaker for the eighth annual VIVO Conference, which will be held August 2-4 in New York City. VIVO is member-supported, open-source software and an ontology for representing scholarship. Hundreds of universities around the world are using VIVO software to showcase the experts, publications, and impact of researchers in academic institutions.

The international conference brings together the VIVO community and its partners to share the latest developments in Semantic Web academic profiles. Schneider will give the keynote, "Viewing universities as landscapes of scholarship."

Abstract: The university can be seen as a collection of individuals, or as an administrative engine, but what sets a university apart is the production of knowledge and knowledgeable people, through teaching, learning, and scholarly inquiry. In 2000, Michael Heaney proposed that the information landscape could be viewed "as a contour map" with both peaks and troughs. We extend this analogy to take universities, and their faculty members, themselves as a part of this information landscape. This leads us to ask how we can apply linked data not just to a single university but to interconnect universities, and to survey the university itself as a landscape to support scholarly inquiry. In particular, we ask what would a "Connected Graph of Scholarship" do that we can't do now?

Schneider studies scholarly communication and social media through the lens of arguments, evidence, and persuasion. She is developing linked data (ontologies, metadata, Semantic Web) approaches to manage scientific evidence. She holds a PhD in informatics from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to joining the iSchool in 2016, Schneider served as a postdoctoral scholar at the National Library of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, and INRIA, the national French Computer Science Research Institute. She recently received an XSEDE start-up award for her research in biomedical informatics.
 




Black presents research on British military intelligence

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 01:07:44 +0000

Professor Emeritus Alistair Black discussed his research on British military intelligence at the conference "Information and Communication in Wartime," which was held July 25-26 at the University of London.

He presented his paper, "'All information flows toward it, or returns to it in a form worked up into shape': the Intelligence Branch of the British War Office, 1873-1914." 

Abstract: In 1873 the British War Office established an Intelligence Branch, thereby formally recognizing, for the first time, the importance of gathering, organizing and disseminating information for strategic military purposes. 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.

Black is a prolific scholar whose research on the design of post-war British public libraries was recently awarded an Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) Honorable Mention prize for best faculty research. 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) and co-author of several other books. In 2014, he was named an iSchool Centennial Scholar for his outstanding accomplishments in the field of library and information science. He earned his master's degree in social and economic history from the University of London and his doctorate from London Metropolitan University.




Three iSchool students named ARL diversity scholars

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:56:57 +0000

Three iSchool master's students have been selected by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Committee on Diversity and Leadership to participate in the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) as ARL diversity scholars.

Underwritten by ARL member libraries, the IRDW offers numerous financial benefits to program participants as well as leadership development provided through the ARL Annual Leadership Symposium, a formal mentoring program, career placement assistance, and an ARL research library visit. This program reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse research library professional community that will better meet the challenges of changing demographics in higher education and the emphasis on global perspectives in the academy.

The 2017–2019 ARL diversity scholars are: 

  • LaReina Nicole Adams, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Aicha Azzaoui, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Leyla Cabugos, San Jose State University
  • Alexa Carter, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Jeannie Yujing Chen, UCLA
  • Zakiya Collier, Long Island University/New York University
  • Sarah Frances Corona, UCLA
  • Sonja C. Cossio, Clarion University
  • Veronica Franco, The University of Arizona
  • Kaneisha Gaston, North Carolina Central University
  • Codi Domonique Jones, The University of Oklahoma
  • Aldrich A. Linton, San Jose State University
  • Carli Lowe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Teresa Helena Moreno, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Karen Ng, The University of British Columbia
  • Diana E. Park, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Andrea Salazar, Wayne State University
  • Mark F. Sandoval, The University of Arizona



iSchool alumna to head Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:11:21 +0000

courtesy of the University of Illinois News Bureau Exactly twenty years after starting work as a graduate assistant in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Lynne M. Thomas (MS '99) is returning as the new head of the library. Thomas has been the curator of rare books and special collections at Northern Illinois University since 2004 and the head of distinctive collections there since 2014. She'll begin her appointment at the library and assume the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Library Professorship on September 1. "One of the things I learned at the U of I is the importance of the concept that rare books are for everyone," Thomas said. "These are important parts of our cultural heritage, and we make history available for everyone in a hands-on fashion that balances protection of the materials with making them accessible to the public." As a graduate assistant, she worked on the Carl Sandburg papers and, with an undergraduate degree in French literature and comparative literature, she was thrilled to see the collection of correspondence of Marcel Proust. She is excited about the library's use of its Gwendolyn Brooks Papers to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Brooks' birth. Thomas said a library's collection should reflect the society it is serving, and she is pleased to see the Rare Book and Manuscript Library's efforts to diversify its "massively prestigious and important collection." At Northern Illinois University, Thomas was responsible for popular culture special collections, including the literary papers of more than 75 science fiction and fantasy authors, the official archives of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and one of the country's largest collections of dime novels. Working with Northern Illinois University's collection sparked a passion for science fiction in Thomas. She is the winner of four Hugo Awards and has been nominated 11 times, including two 2017 nominations. She is the co-editor of "Chicks Dig Time Lords," "Whedonistas" and "Chicks Dig Comics." She moderated the monthly podcast "SF Squeecast" and contributes to the "Verity! Podcast." Thomas is the co-editor and publisher of Uncanny Magazine with her husband Michael Damian Thomas, and she is the former editor of Apex Magazine. Thomas' new job at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library will be her first full-time administrative role. "This is an opportunity for me to step into a role where I'm responsible for the vision and mission of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, with massive amounts of input from the people I’m supervising. I'm confident, based on my previous experiences, this is a role I'm ready for and a series of activities I'd like to do," she said. Thomas succeeds Valerie Hotchkiss, who left in July 2016 to become the university librarian at Vanderbilt University. Travis McDade, the curator of law rare books at the law library at Illinois, has been serving as the interim director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. In addition to a bachelor's degree from Smith College and her master's degree from Illinois, Thomas has a master's degree in English and American literature from Northern Illinois University. [...]



Summer program lets student experience graduate study at iSchool

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:34:10 +0000

(image) Thanks to a summer program at the University of Illinois, Melanie Nernberg, an undergraduate student from California, can work with an iSchool faculty member and learn about the graduate school experience. 

The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) brings to campus talented undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in graduate education so they can experience graduate study and research. Students benefit from the opportunity to develop important relationships with faculty and learn from them as well as about the culture and expectations of graduate school. 

"Through this experience, SROP participants gain the insight, validation, and support to apply to and enroll in competitive graduate programs across the country," said Moises Orozco Villicana, the iSchool's director of enrollment management. 

Nernberg, a global studies and sociology major from Sonoma State University, applied to SROP because of her interest in pursuing an MS in library and information science at the iSchool. Nicole A. Cooke, assistant professor and MS/LIS program director, serves as her faculty mentor for the program. 

Nernberg is writing a literature review and proposal for a future project on the competency of sci-tech librarians without science or technical backgrounds. She came up with her proposal after spending time at the Mathematics Library and Grainger Engineering Library at Illinois.

"At my school in California, we have subject librarians but not specialized libraries like Illinois, so the concept fascinated me," Nernberg explained. "I was especially interested in science and technical libraries, because I wondered what tasks differentiated librarians who work at these libraries compared to general and other specialized academic libraries." 

In her paper, she proposes conducting a qualitative study to update the literature with current data from the perspectives of library schools, sci-tech librarians, students and faculty served by sci-tech librarians, and the librarians' supervisors. 

In the future, Nernberg would like to work as an academic librarian, specializing in data librarianship and social sciences research.

"My experience at SROP has brought clarity on my future career goals and helped me develop lasting connections with my peers and the faculty at Illinois," she said. "I will carry the valuable lessons I have learned from this experience with me as I move forward in my academic career as a graduate student and beyond. I am forever grateful for this program and the SROP family I have found through it."




Turk partners on Crops in silico project

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:40:21 +0000

Adapted from an iSEE news release Assistant Professor Matthew Turk is partnering on a project to help resolve the growing gap between food supply and demand in the face of global climate change. Led by Amy Marshall-Colón, principal investigator and assistant professor of plant biology, Crops in silico (Cis) will integrate a suite of virtual plant models at different scales through $274,000 in funding from The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization that builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. The FFAR grant matches seed funding the project has received from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. As the planet warms, growing environments around the world are changing faster than traditional crop breeding programs can create new well-adapted varieties. Fully realized, Cis will give crop researchers a computational tool to examine the effects of environmental challenges on a molecular, cellular, and organ level within a plant to determine the best targets for genetic engineering. "Science is accelerating faster than ever before, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to harnessing cutting-edge science for the benefit of the agricultural system," said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. "Crops in silico will integrate some of today’s most advanced plant models, providing new and exciting insights into how a plant functions that will undoubtedly accelerate our ability to improve plants." The ability to computationally mimic the growth, development, and response of crops to the environment will allow researchers to conduct many more experiments than can realistically be achieved in the field. In addition to Marshall-Colón and Turk, collaborators on the project include Stephen P. Long, the Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at Illinois; Christine Kirkpatrick, executive director of the National Data Service; and Jonathan Lynch, University Distinguished Professor at Penn State University. The team will work to integrate above- and below-ground models of plants to create never-before-seen "whole views" of them. Then, they will subject these newly built virtual plants to computer-simulated extreme growing conditions—from flood to severe drought to increased ambient carbon dioxide—and compare the model's predicted plant reaction to observed responses from field studies. This will help "dial in" the model's accuracy. "One of the challenges in developing reusable, connected computational tools is ensuring that interoperating models are able to communicate effectively and transmit the semantics of their information consistently," said Turk. "That is a key challenge with the Crops in silico project, and one we are looking to address." Beyond a technological breakthrough, the Cis team also aims to achieve a research community shift. "We believe Crops in silico will unite largely isolated efforts into a connected and collaborative community that can take full advantage of advances in computation science and mechanistic understanding of plant processes and their responses to the environment," said Marshall-Colón. [...]