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Your last weekend to finalize iConference submissions


The iConference 2018 submission deadline is Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. This is the last weekend for authors to finish up papers, posters, doctoral colloquium applications and other submissions.

The conference will accept submissions throughout the day on Monday, Sept. 19. When the time/date code at the top of the secure submission website rolls over to Tuesday, the conference will close to further submissions.

iConference 2018 will take place March 25-28, 2018, in Sheffield, UK. This is the iSchools’ thirteenth annual gathering of scholars, researchers and professionals who share an interest in the critical information issues of contemporary society. The 2018 theme is “Transforming Digital Worlds,” and the aim is to bring together thinkers and leaders from academia, industry and not-for-profit organizations, to discuss emerging challenges and potential solutions for information and data management in our rapidly changing world.

Accepted 2018 papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series and will therefore be indexed by major services such as Web of Science and Scopus. The papers will be published as Green Open Access allowing them to be deposited in institutional repositories as well as in the open access Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS).

iConference 2018 is jointly organised by two of the UK’s iSchools: The University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria. iConference 2018 will be hosted in Sheffield, a city of stunning landscapes – the greenest in Europe, creative, welcoming and rich in culture and history, but with a modern outlook and lots to see and do.

The iConference is presented by the iSchools organization, a worldwide consortium of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field, and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. Affiliation with the iSchools is not a prerequisite of participation; we encourage all information scholars and practitioners to take part in the conference.


Nominations Sought for Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award


Nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award are being sought by the iSchool at Illinois. The deadline for nominations has been extended to October 10, 2017.

The annual award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or a long-term interest in and dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom.

The Downs Award was established in 1969 by the Illinois iSchool’s faculty to honor Dean Emeritus Robert B. Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on the occasion of his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the school.

The Downs Award recipient will receive an honorarium from Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO Publishing Company. The honoree will be recognized during the 2018 American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Nomination instructions and a list of past recipients can be found on the Downs Award website.


Maryland iSchool Teams Up with Others to Tackle the Big Data Free-for-All


From mobile phone apps to website search engines, wearable technology to social platforms, consumer information has become highly trackable and available, resulting in an ethically questionable free-for-all in research and marketing. But consumers aren’t the only ones concerned about how their personal information is being collected and used. The University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies has formed a project team with five other research institutions to explore the ethics of how these data are captured and used.

The four-year project, PERVADE (Pervasive Data Ethics for Computational Research), was awarded a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation in August 2017. Prior research on ethics of large and pervasive data has hit roadblocks caused by a lack of empirical knowledge. The PERVADE team looks to “reveal ethical practices and norms to guide those who utilize big data and to inform policy-making and regulation,” says Dr. Katie Shilton, Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at UMD and principal investigator on the grant.

PERVADE brings together a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in computational science, research ethics, data practices, law and policy, health information, social computing, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and data privacy:
Dr. Katie Shilton – College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland College Park
Dr. Jessica Vitak – College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland College Park
Dr. Matthew Bietz – Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine
Dr. Casey Fiesler – Department of Information Science, College of Media, Communication and Information at University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Jacob Metcalf – Data & Society Research Institute
Dr. Arvind Narayanan – Department of Computer Science at Princeton University
Dr. Michael Zimmer – School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The project’s research focus will extend across consumers, big data researchers, commercial providers, and regulators, both domestically and internationally, to explore how these diverse stakeholders understand their ethical obligations and choices, and how their decisions impact data system design and use.

Specific issues that the PERVADE team will examine include how people experience the reuse of their personal data; what social factors influence people’s willingness to share their data; how and when consent should be given; and how consumers’ concerns can be shared with data system designers and big data researchers.

Click here for more on the University of Maryland iSchool website.


2017 iFellows Doctoral Fellowship Competition


The iFellows Doctoral Fellowship Program will award a two-year fellowship of $50,000 to selected iSchool PhD students during the 2017 – 2018 academic year to pursue independent dissertation research that supports the goals of the Coherence at Scale Program. Coherence at Scale is a broad-based program aimed at coordinating and aggregating national-scale digital projects in order to promote the development of new technology environments to support advanced scholarship across disciplines.

iFellows will be selected following a two-step application process that consists of a Letter of Intent and, if invited to do so, a Full Proposal. The Letter of Intent should demonstrate how the student’s dissertation topic aligns with and complements a topic of interest to the Coherence at Scale project.

Dissertation research relevant to elucidating technology and organizational issues related to Coherence at Scale goals would include topics bearing broadly on interoperability issues of scalable digital infrastructures, the information lifecycle, new scholarly workflows, and Internet accessible, open source tools, and resources for computation and data-intensive digital scholarship.

The Coherence at Scale Program is led by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The School of Computing and Information at the University of Pittsburgh will serve as the administrative organization for the iFellows Program. Funding support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Applicants must be currently enrolled at an iSchools member-institution. Other eligibility requirements are listed on the program website. The application deadline is October 31, 2017.

For more information, visit


UI iSchool’s Prof. Twidale named Outstanding Information Science Teacher by ASIS&T


University of Illinois Professor Michael Twidale, program director for the UI 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, UI 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 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.

Read the complete story on the University of Illinois website.


UNC health informatics program awarded $3.1 million from NIH-NLM


The Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Library of Medicine (NLM) T15 Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Training grant. Only a handful of U.S. organizations were selected for this highly-competitive and prestigious award, which will provide approximately $3.1 million for doctoral student support, post-doctoral appointments, and short-term summer training for undergraduate students. The grant will serve as a significant resource for CHIP’s recently established PhD in health informatics.

“CHIP has already made great strides in improving health data analytics and analytics systems usability through our master’s degree and certificate programs,” said CHIP Director and UNC Professor Javed Mostafa, who is the lead investigator on the T15 grant. “Research by doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, guided by CHIP’s world-class, interdisciplinary faculty, will advance this success even further, helping to improve the quality of health care for North Carolina citizens and the world.”

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) is a lead partner in the CHIP program, which draws faculty and expertise from units across campus, including the UNC School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Pubic Health, UNC School of Nursing, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC School of Dentistry, and Computer Science Department. Read more>


New iSchool and New Dean at University of Pittsburgh


The University of Pittsburgh has formally launched its new iSchool. The new School of Computing and Information (SCI) is comprised of faculty drawn from the former School of Information Sciences and Department of Computer Science. According to a news story on the SCI website, the new school will host an array of academic programs that integrate computing and information with core disciplinary strengths across the University of Pittsburgh.

Planning for the new school began two years ago, when faculties of the School of Information Sciences and the Department of Computer Science were asked to consider how best to structure computing and information at the University of Pittsburgh. The new school was announced last October, and officially launched in July. It will enroll its first cohort of students in fall 2017.

After an extensive search, Dr. Paul Cohen has been named founding dean of the new school. Cohen is a highly-regarded scholar and administrator who was the founding director of the University of Arizona’s School of Information: Science, Technology and Arts. He has been on loan from that school to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the past several years.

In his welcome message on the new SCI website, Dean Cohen encourages breaking beyond disciplinary boundaries in favor of polymathy—the ability to work in multiple disciplines. “Humanity depends on complicated, interacting systems that we understand poorly … None of these systems — much less their interactions — belongs to a single academic department,” says Cohen. “I want to promote systems-oriented research, technology and education at Pitt, because the world’s systems are increasingly stressed, and we need new methods to model and manage them.”

Cohen succeeds outgoing Pitt SIS Dean Ron Larsen. Larsen is chair of the iSchools Caucus, a position he will retain until March of 2018, when he hands the organizational reins to chair-elect Sam Oh of Sungkyunkwan University.

“This is truly a remarkable opportunity,” said Larsen of the new school. “This will take the research and scholarship of the School of Information Sciences to a new level and provide Pitt an exciting new opportunity to shape society’s use of information and computing resources.”


iConference 2018 Opens for Submissions


iConference 2018 is now accepting submissions of papers, posters and proposals. Authors can submit their work using the conference’s secure submission website through the deadline of September 18. iConference 2018 will take place March 25-28, 2018 in Sheffield, UK; accepted papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science, and indexed by Web of Science and Scopus.

The theme of iConference 2018 is “Transforming Digital Worlds.” The conference is being jointly organized by the University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria. It is the thirteenth event in the iConference series, and the second to take place in Europe.

The iConference pushes the boundaries of information studies, explores core concepts and ideas, and creates new technological and conceptual configurations. It is open to all information scholars, researchers and practitioners, regardless of affiliation with a member iSchool. Click here to view this year’s Call for Participation.

The iConference series is presented by the iSchools Inc., a worldwide consortium of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field, and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. Sponsors for 2018 include Microsoft Corp.


Call for Workshop Papers on Computational Archival Science


A workshop titled “Computational Archival Science: digital records in the age of big data,” to be presented at IEEE Big Data 2017, is now calling for papers. The workshop will explore the conjunction (and its consequences) of emerging methods and technologies around big data with archival practice and new forms of analysis and historical, social, scientific, and cultural research engagement with archives. Details at

The call for papers comes from program chairs Prof. Richard Marciano (University of Maryland iSchool), Prof. Victoria Lemieux (University of British Columbia iSchool) and Dr. Mark Hedges, King’s College London. Papers are due Oct. 10, 2017.

“The large-scale digitization of analog archives, the emerging diverse forms of born-digital archive, and the new ways in which researchers across disciplines (as well as the public) wish to engage with archival material, are resulting in disruptions to transitional archival theories and practices,” the papers call notes. “Increasing quantities of ‘big archival data’ present challenges for the practitioners and researchers who work with archival material, but also offer enhanced possibilities for scholarship through the application of computational methods and tools to the archival problem space, and, more fundamentally, through the integration of ‘computational thinking’ with ‘archival thinking’.”


UNC’s Amelia Gibson receives IMLS Early Career Award


UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Assistant Professor Amelia Gibson has received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Early Career Award to support a project titled “Deconstructing Information Poverty: Identifying, Supporting, and Leveraging Local Expertise in Marginalized Communities.”

The three-year project, which received over $336,600 in funding from IMLS, will examine the potential for libraries to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families fulfill their information needs and reduce information poverty in local ASD communities. It will also investigate how members of marginalized communities can act as self-advocates on a local level, and how libraries can recognize, empower, and educate all members of their communities through programming, planning, and collection development.

Gibson will collaborate with the Durham and Charlotte Public Libraries and the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) for the project, which will culminate in the development and dissemination of an online toolkit that describes community assessment and engagement processes.

Click here for more on the UNC website.