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Amy Dodson has been named the 2020 recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, for supporting the value and necessity of equity, diversity, and inclusion as a part of her library’s mission and service. The award is given annually by the faculty of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and cosponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), a nonprofit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association (ALA).
Dodson, director of the Douglas County Public Library (Nevada), faced enormous public criticism last year for posting a diversity statement on the library’s Facebook page that included the line, “We support #Black Lives Matter.” The Douglas County sheriff equated this statement with the Black Lives Matter movement and perceived it as support for violence against law enforcement. He posted a letter on the sheriff office’s Facebook page stating this and adding that library staff should no longer call 911 for help with disturbances.
The sheriff’s letter led to national media coverage and protests in Douglas County, and Dodson was told to take down the diversity statement by county officials. Some of her most strident critics were members of the library’s board of trustees, which voted to investigate Dodson’s actions using $30,000 of the library’s budget to pay for a third-party investigation. The law firm conducting the investigation found that the library, Dodson, and her staff had not violated any laws or policies in introducing the diversity statement.
According to the letter of nomination, “Throughout the investigation, Dodson steadfastly supported the need for diversity initiatives while working to assure the safety and comfort of her staff.”
The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Each year, the recipient is recognized at the ALA Annual Conference. The award was established in 1969 by the Illinois iSchool’s faculty to honor Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the School.
Read this story on the Illinois iSchool website.
The iSchools have chosen Sanda Erdelez of the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science to be the organization’s new chair elect. Erdelez is SLIS director and professor at the Boston USA-based iSchools member. As chair elect, she will prepare to assume the organization’s leadership in early 2022, taking over from current chair Gobinda Chowdhury.
“I am honored and humbled by your support as I take on this new role,” said Erdelez in a message to her iSchools colleagues. “I look forward to working with all of you on advancing the information field!”
Erdelez previously served on the iSchools Board of Directors. She replaces former chair-elect Diane Kelly, who resigned her position in order to take on a new and expanded leadership role at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
"During our election, Sanda received broad support our membership," said Executive Director Michael Seadle."My staff and I look forward to working with her."
Two information schools from Korea and Thailand have joined the iSchools, taking their place among more than 120 institutions in the international organization’s membership.
New basic-level member Ewha Womans University Department of Library and Information Science is located in Seoul, Korea. Headed by Professor Sang-Yong Lee, the school currently has 24 students in its doctoral program, as well as nearly 200 master’s and undergraduate students.
Says the school: “iSchools membership [provides] an opportunity to expand our curriculum with greater emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, which will help our students better address dynamic and complicated issues around information and technology.”
Also joining the organization is the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU) School of Liberal Arts. Located in Nonthaburi, Thailand, the school is headed by Assistant Professor Vasan Rattanapoka. STOU joins at the Associate level.
German multinational science company Merck KGaA has launched what it call a Patient Experience Data Challenge to find solutions for effectively utilizing patient experience data mined from social media throughout drug research and development, and lifecycle management in multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune conditions. The application deadline is end-of-day April 30, 2021 (23:59 CET).
Applicants will submit a solution-description including details on the approach, software / Web API / IT system that allows definition or design of questions, collection of data across multiple social media sites, visualization of results, automatic or active update of results over time for integration into the drug development process, include programming language, and tools.
Ten finalists will be chosen, and the top two will receive contract of EUR 15,000 and EUR 10,000, respectively. Learn more
The following upcoming events are of interest to the information community and are provied as a courtesy to our readers. We urge readers to check the iSchools Events Calendar for more future happenings.
The iSchool at the University of Texas at Austin has launched a special colloquium series. It will include international subject experts in a range of disciplines, including the libraries and archives sector, a digital investigation collective and from the cybersecurity sector to consider born-digital evidence from a Historical Scholarship and Humanities perspective. Advance registration required to take part/
Upcoming presentations in this series include an April 19 presentation by Euan Cochrane, Digital Preservation Manager for Yale University Libraries, and David Bliss, Systems and Digital Archivist at UT Libraries. Register here
An April 23 presentation will feature, Matthias Vallentin, founder and CEO at Tenzir. Vlletin’s Ph.D. work at UC Berkeley about network forensics laid the foundation for the software that Tenzir now develops an open security analytics platform to empower defenders. Register here
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has announced that Calls for Proposals have been issued for online events scheduled to take place concurrently in November 2021, including: the Digital Library Federation’s (DLF) Forum; the Learn@DLF workshop series; and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance's Digital Preservation 2021: Embracing Digitality. Submissions deadlines are May 17, 2021. More details can be found using the links above.
Cambridge University’s Journal of Information Literacy (JIL) is recruiting peer reviewers for research articles. This diamond/platinum open-access journal is dedicated to publishing research across many areas of information literacy, including higher education, schools, health care, employment and government. It publishes the work of academics and practitioners and, as such, relies on experts across many sectors to provide peer reviews. Learn more
Visit the iSchools Events Calendar for more on these and other upcoming events.
iConference 2021 took place March 17-31, 2021. The annual gathering of information scholars and researchers was presented by the iSchools and hosted by Renmin University of China. It was the 16th event in the iConference series. A total of 520 participants took part, placing the conference among the better-attended events in the series; the relatively high attendance figure was particularly noteworthy given the all-virtual format.
iConference 2021 included 104 research paper presentations in the categories of Full Research Papers, Short Research Papers and Chinese Research Paper. Research was also the focus of 48 poster presentations. There were also 15 Workshops and similar interactive sessions, and 6 special Archival Education presentations. As always, the conference provided a foundation for future thought leaders with its Doctoral Colloquium, Student Symposium, and Early Career Colloquium.
Visit the iConference 2021 Archive page for complete details, including links to the proceedings, details on our keynote speakers, and other conference artifacts.
A follow-up survey will be issued shortly, and urge all conference participants to watch for the invitation and take part in the survey. The iSchools organization has learned much about virtual conferencing over the past two years, and participant feedback is vital for making even more improvements next year.
iConference 2022 will take place in March 2022. A Call for Participation will be issued in the coming weeks. The iConference 2022 co-hosts are the University of Texas at Austin (USA), University College Dublin (Ireland), and Kyushu University (Japan).
The Journal of Information Literacy (JIL) has issued a papers call for a special issue on information literacy and COVID-19. The CFP notes that information literacy has played a significant role in helping communities cope with the virus, mostly positive but in some some cases problematic. The issue will explore the impact of COVID-19 on information literacy within all of its forms.
Papers may be submitted through Jan. 10, 2022 for double-blind review. The special issue will be published in June 2022. See the JIL Call for Papers for general guidelines, topics of interest and submission instruction.
The 16th annual iConference is successfully underway, with roughly 500 international participants registered. This year’s conference is entirely virtual, taking place on the SCOOCS conferencing platform.
iConference 2021 kicked off on Wednesday, March 18, with a traditional opening ceremony followed by keynote address from Cuijuan (Jada) Xia of the Computer System and Network Center in Shanghai Library.
Next week, starting Monday, March 22, the research portion of the conference begins in earnest, with the presentation of all accepted Full Research Papers, Short Research Papers, and the remaining Chinese Papers. The Full Research Papers and Short Research Papers will be published by Springer, and conference participants will be granted free access for a limited time.
New conference features this year include an Exhibition Hall, and also a Presentation Library where participants can view recordings of presentations they may have missed.
There is still time to register and take part in iConference 2021. Visit the iConference Registration Page to get started.
iConference 2021 is presented by the iSchools organization and hosted by Renmin University of Beijing, China. This year’s theme is Diversity | Divergence | Dialogue. Sponsors include Elsevier, Springer, the U.S National Science Foundation, Renmin University, Wuhan University, Headtcentre, and the University of Illinois. Visit the iConference home page to learn more.
As a change of pace from workshops and papers presentations, iConference 2021 will also feature an exceptional collection of interactive sessions (VIS and SIE) as well as thought-provoking archival education sessions. These sessions range in length from 30 minutes to a full day, are open and available to all registered participants.
Here is a look at some of our featured sessions. View the program schedule for exact dates and times for your area. Note that the program schedule on our conference module will automatically correct for the local time on your device, and some sessions may appear on days other than those listed below.
Migration and (re)Settlement: Furthering the iResearch Agenda (#440)
All day Saturday, March 27, with follow-up on Wednesday, March 31
Join researchers and professionals from the information fields and related disciplines to reflect critically on experiences and engagement in the field of migration and (re)settlement, with emphasis on information practices, ICT use and forms of engagement and learning. A variety of experiences, pedagogical approaches and personal insights will be brought together with the aim to move the research agenda toward a more participatory, migrant and refugee-centered approach. The VIS will conclude with the establishment of a research agenda.
Saturday, March 27
Wednesday, March 31
Please indicate if you will attend: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deciding Where to Live: Information Studies on Where to Live in America, A Discussion (#478)
Monday, March 29
Come to this Virtual Interactive Session to learn not only about an everyday information phenomenon, but about how you can bring a varied group of information scholars together to uncover the beauty and complexity of information itself!
Deciding where to live in a country or city and whether to rent or buy are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the informational issues around deciding where to live. These decisions involve a dynamic assortment of people, information sources, behaviors, and problems. Each speaker will present their approach to the question of where to live from varying perspectives including privacy, surveillance, race and information, intergenerational community informatics, popular cultural information sources, information behavior, social informatics, information work, collective memory-making, and storytelling. This panel brings together several of the authors involved in the forthcoming edited volume, Deciding Where to Live: Information Studies on Where to Live in America.
Just put it on Zoom!: Effectively Fostering a Virtual Intellectual Community (#481)
Monday, March 22 and Monday March 29
Come play with us! Over the span of two sessions, we will explore tools, resources, and activities to help foster vibrant communities of inquiry. Together with your fellow scholars we will learn how to facilitate virtual communities in these challenging times.
Tuesday, March 30
When your personal data goes online, the whole world can suddenly have access to your most sensitive information. But what does it actually mean and how can you prevent that?
In UnAnonym you explore what can happen when scientific data that is not anonymized thoroughly gets published. During this workshop we will present the educational game experience, where the researchers will gather in small groups to look for unanonymized information in an interview to then use that data for further research on the interviewee and their network.
The concept of educational gaming is to both entertain and deliver fun gameplay, but also to raise thought-provoking questions and offer answers and points of discussion. It won’t feel like the usual workshop, but much rather an interactive game where you need to work with your peers to solve the riddle.
Advancing Search Mastery Education: Sharing Experiences & Exploring Possibilities (#578)
Thursday, March 18, 1:30 - 3:00 PM EDT
Search mastery -- the ability to effectively use public search platforms to discover and critically select materials for problem-solving and decision-making -- is an essential factor in student success in academia and beyond. Despite this, systematic search skills assessment and education remain an elusive goal. In this session you will learn about strategies for assessing and teaching search skills through hands-on examination of search skills assessments and discussion of approaches for improving students’ search mastery.
Research on Problems and Countermeasures of Promoting Archival Academic Research Results by Wechat Official Accounts in the Era of Digital Transformation. (#188)
Friday, March 26
Based on literature research, questionnaire survey and case analysis, this panel summarizes the problems in the process of promoting archival academic research results using WeChat official accounts. In terms of promotion content, some accounts are lack of research-based articles, systematic themes and diversifying form. In terms of releasing methods, some accounts fail to form a continuous release mechanism and the release method is solidified. In terms of promotion effects, WeChat public accounts has not been widely used to promote archival research results, and the social impact of research results is still limited. So, this panel analyzes reasons and solutions of these problems, in order to provide reference for using WeChat official accounts promoting research results, to widely promote archival academic research results in the era of digital transformation, and to achieve the balance between archival research and social transmission.
Research on Curriculum Reform and Practice of Archival Science under the Background of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (#211)
Innovation and entrepreneurship education is one of the core missions for colleges and universities in modern time. As archival educators, how to put innovation and entrepreneurship sprit into professional curriculum construction and practice becomes more and more important. The four members in our group are from different universities, taking different curriculums, but all of us have guided students to participate in various programs and competitions and won prizes. So we would like to share our opinions on the theme of how to combine innovation and entrepreneurship sprit into our courses and daily education from four parts, which are integrating innovation and entrepreneurship concept into curriculum design, bringing innovation and entrepreneurship mind into curriculum teaching, using innovation and entrepreneurship methods to curriculum practice, and applying innovation and 66 entrepreneurship achievements to curriculum evaluation. We hope our report is benefit to reform and practice of archival courses and to cultivate innovative talents.
“Re-understanding of Basic Issues in the Construction of Chinese Archival Discipline under real-time technical environment” (#464)
Under the real-time technical environment, in order to realize the data resources management of a complex organization with high quality, to ensure the integrity and quality of the government's open data, and to train specialized professionals to meet the needs of the single-set management of electronic records, we will re-understand the construction of Chinese Archival Discipline, point out the shortcomings in research of the definition of "records and archives", the research objects and the discipline attribute of Chinese Archival Science, and try to answer them.
Digital Transformation of Teaching Mode in Archival Education: Findings from surveys of online courses development in Chinese universities during the COVID-19 pandemic (#612)
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged both educators and students. They had to quickly switch from physical classrooms to online teaching and learning during the spring semester in 2020. This research investigates the development of online courses in 35 universities which offer archives majors in China by distributing questionnaires both to teachers and full-time resident students on campus. It analysis Chinese universities prompt response and construction of online courses, technical platform and functional requirements based on the survey. The research finding focuses on the progress and weakness of digital transformation of teaching mode right after the epidemic outbreak, proposes online teaching resource integration development strategy of archival education towards digital transformation and call for collaboration among stakeholders.
The speakers welcome teachers and students with the same experience to participate in the discussion, share their ideas and suggestions for improving online course on archive education. Email: email@example.com
How to attend these sessions
iConference 2021 will take place March 17-31. Registered participants should log into the conference system at the appropriate time. “Join” links will display on the dashboard roughly five minutes before each session begins.
Thought-provoking presentations have long anchored the iConference, and the organizers of iConference 2021 are pleased to announce their slate of keynote speakers for our 2021 event. There will be four plenary sessions this year, with addresses covering cultural ramifications of Social Memory, the Future of Online Learning, Data Feminism, and Curation.
Full details about this year’s speakers and abstracts of their presentations are available on the conference’s Keynote Speakers page. The following is a brief overview.
Cuijuan (Jada) Xia, Researcher, Shanghai Library
“Building a Data Infrastructure to Enrich the Multiple Sources of Evidence for Humanities Studies: From the Perspective of Cultural Memory”
Wednesday, March 17
Zvi Galil, President-emeritus Tel Aviv University and Dean-emeritus Georgia Tech iSchool
“Georgia Tech’s online Master in Computer Science Program and the future of online learning”
Monday, March 22
Catherine D’Ignazio, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Lauren F. Klein, Associate Professor, Emory University
Tuesday, March 23
Margaret Hedstrom, Robert M. Warner Collegiate Professor of Information, University of Michigan
“Collaboration Around Curation”
Thursday, March 25
About iConference 2021
iConference 2021 will be a virtual event, with all sessions and presentations taking place on the SCOOCS online conference platform; visit our Virtual Participation Guidelines page for details. Conference Registration is still open, with standard rates available through March 8 and late rates applying thereafter. A special scholarship rate is also available for students with an accepted submission.
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