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Dr. Diane Kelly has been selected as the next chair-elect of the iSchools organization. Dr. Kelly is director of the School of Information Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (USA).
iSchools chairs serve two-year terms, with the transition occurring every other year during the iConference. The current chair is Dr. Sam Oh of Sungkyunkwan University’s School of Library and Information Science (South Korea), and the current chair-elect is Dr. Gobinda Chowdhury of the Northumbria University Department of Computing and Information Sciences (UK). Dr. Chowdhury will assume the role of iSchools chair in March of next year during iConference 2020 in Borås, Sweden. Dr. Kelly’s term as chair-elect will begin at that time, and she will subsequently assume the role of chair in 2022.
Dr. Kelly will be the 11th chair in the iSchools organization’s history. A complete list of past iSchools chairs can found here on the iSchools website.
The City of Borås, Sweden, will host the upcoming iConference annual banquet, which takes place the evening of Tuesday, March 24 during iConference 2020. The city’s sponsorship honors the conference and its participants, recognizing their capacity of international collaboration and research to Borås. More about the city of Borås below.
iConference 2020 will take place March 23-26, 2020 in Borås. Jointly hosted by the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway) and presented by the iSchools, this is the 15th event in the annual iConference series. Conference submissions are now in review, and registration for the conference will open in mid-November.
The city of Borås was founded in 1621 and has a long history as a textile and merchant centre. Today it is home to a large number of Sweden’s textile and e-commerce companies. It also hosts a number of start-ups in textile and design, as well as the Swedish School of Textiles, with research and education in design, smart innovations and textile technology.
Borås has long been associated with library and information science. The Swedish School of Library and Information Science was the first of its kind when the government placed the library school in Borås in 1972; in 1977 SSLIS became part of the University of Borås.
Borås has an international contemporary art scene, with three internationally acclaimed art museums and street art and sculptures throughout town. Situated on the banks of the river Viskan and surrounded by woods and lakes, nature is always close at hand. The city proudly emphasizes sustainability, with ecological and social initiatives focused on sustainable city planning.
Image credits in order of appearance: Sofia Carlenberg; Per Pixel Petersson
The ASIS&T 82nd Annual Meeting takes place Oct. 19 to 23 in Melbourne, Australia. This year’s theme is “Information . . . Anyone, Anywhere, Any Time, Any Way.” More on the meeting can be found on the asist.org website.
Keynote speakers include Mikaela Jade and Helena Teede. New this year is a series called International Incubator sessions, which ASIS&T describes as celebrating the diversity of cultural perspectives.
As always, many iSchools representatives will be in attendance. For example, the Rutgers iSchool is sending many members of its community to the meeting, as detailed here, and the iSchool at Illinois will also be well represented.
Members who also want their participation added to this story can submit a summary and link using our news submission form.
Emerald Publishing is supporting interdisciplinary through a research grant of £10,000. The publisher seeks a Social Science project with “demonstrable real-world impact.”
According to Emerald, the grant aims to find an innovative research project that promotes action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)/global challenges, through collaboration of disciplines, methodology and research. They invite submissions that are interdisciplinary in approach, develop the advancement of theory and have practical relevance to benefit society in support of the SDGs. Grant details can be found here.
“We acknowledge that global problems cannot be solved by the work of a single discipline and require an interdisciplinary approach,” says Emerald.
Emerald Publishing is a long-time supporter of the iSchools and its annual iConference.
In addition to the usual array of groundbreaking research, iConference 2020 will offer two extended sessions expressly for current students and recent Ph.Ds—namely, our Student Symposium and Early Career Colloquium. Participation in both of these programs is by application only, with submissions due end-of-day Tuesday, October 15. Both will take place during iConference 2020, which takes place 23-26 March, 2020, in Borås, Sweden.
Now it its second year, the Student Symposium is an all-day event open to all bachelor’s and master’s students; affiliation with a member iSchool is not required. Program details and application instructions can be found here.
Our long-running Early Career Colloquium is a learning and networking opportunity for early career researchers working in information schools; the half-day event is open to those who earned their Ph.D. in the last five years. Program details and applications instructions can be found here.
iConference 2020 will take place March 23-26, 2020 in Borås, Sweden. Jointly hosted by the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway) and presented by the iSchools, this is the 15th event in the annual iConference series.
Visit the iConference website for more information, and follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter, #iconf2020. Participant registration will open in mid-November.
The newest member of the iSchools organization is China’s Jilin University School of Management, which has joined at the iCaucus level. With the addition of the Jilin iSchool, the organization now has 106 members dedicated to advancing the information field.
The Jilin University School of Management is headed by Prof. Beiwei Li, and located in Changchun City, Jilin Province, China. The University was found in 1946, and the School of Management dates to 1955. Bachelor’s degree programs include Information Management & Information System, Archival Science, and Big Data Management & Application. Academic master’s degree programs include Information Science, Library Science and Archival Science. The school also offers a professional master’s program in Library & Information Science.
The Jilin iSchool established a Ph.D. in Information Science in the year 2000, a Ph.D. in Library Science in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Archival Science in 2010.
In its application, the school expressed a commitment to promoting the iSchool movement throughout their university and northeast of China by integrating information management with Management Science and Engineering disciplines, fields in which it also offers degree programs. The school also looks forward to contributions it can make to the organization based on their experience in successful development of archives research on combining big data, digital humanities, and smart technology.
SINGAPORE, 28 August 2019 (Wednesday) – Professor Lim Ee Peng and Associate Professor Zhu Feida from the School of Information Systems at Singapore Management University (SMU) have been conferred the PAKDD Distinguished Contributions Award and PAKDD Early Career Award respectively at the Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (PAKDD) 2019.
Professor Jaideep Srivastava, Chair, PAKDD Awards Committee said, “This is the very first time that faculty from the same institution have received both these awards in PAKDD’s almost 25 years of history; and should be considered a significant milestone. It speaks volumes about the quality of not only the faculty, but also SMU and the programme these faculty members are part of.”
Click here for the full story on the SMU website.
By Keith Marzullo, dean and professor, University of Maryland College of Information Studies, iSchools North America regional chair
In this information age of the collection and analysis of massive amounts of data about people by both the private and public sectors, and of social media-supported hate crime, genocide, and attacks on democratic processes, who should help us think about how to protect ourselves? In a recent Forbes.com article titled “Computer Science Could Learn A Lot from Library and Information Science,” Dr. Kalev Leetaru gives an excellent answer: librarians.
He’s right. Let me give you an example. The USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. It was swiftly passed by Congress in response to the horrific 9/11 attacks. This act included Section 215, which allowed the government to obtain a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court order that required third parties to hand over any records or other tangible thing if deemed relevant to an international terrorism counterespionage, or to a foreign intelligence investigation.
The American Library Association (ALA) sounded the alarm about Section 215 and its risk to privacy and to society. The ALA president, Carla Hayden (now the Librarian of Congress), pushed back strongly when the Justice Department claimed that libraries were a logical target of surveillance. Hayden said “libraries are a cornerstone of democracy—where information is free and equally available to everyone. People tend to take that for granted, and they don’t realize what is at stake when that is put at risk." Her arguments were a rallying cry for civil libertarians, and Section 215 was soon referred to as the "library provision." Their opposition argued that the risk of terrorism was too high to hamstring the FBI, and in any case, the FISA court judicial review would ensure that civil rights would be protected. In the examples used in these arguments, libraries were often featured.
Libraries were, of course, a proxy argument, and the librarians were right. As we now know, Section 215 was subsequently used by the National Security Agency to secretly collect phone records of millions of Americans. This use was authorized by FISA courts. The disclosure of this program, which is often referred to as PRISM, furthered the erosion in trust many Americans had in their government. According to PEW, only 17 percent of Americans now say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right at least most of the time. Thirty-seven percent, however, believe libraries contribute “a lot” (and another 37 percent believe they contribute “some”) to helping people decide what information they can trust.
It’s not surprising, perhaps, that we ended up with PRISM. The NSA rightfully wanted to protect Americans, and were strongly motivated to get as much data as possible to do so. A colleague of mine, who worked in the NSA, told me that the PRISM effort was made up of engineers. Engineers are taught to ask what can be done with data. Librarians, on the other hand, are taught to ask what should be done with data.
This is the kernel of Dr. Leetaru’s argument. He says we need more people trained in Library and Information Science (LIS) to inform the people who are developing social media platforms and who are collecting and making use of the massive amounts of data being collected about people. LIS degrees cover topics such as values in design, data minimization, information behavior (including from different historical and cultural viewpoints), cataloging theory, and community informatics. Knowledge like this could help ensure that our evolving information infrastructure protects and promotes civil rights for people and communities.
I’m a dean of a college whose largest graduate program is the Master of LIS (MLIS). I agree with Dr. Leetaru. We need more people trained in LIS topics working with engineers and data scientists in both the public and private sectors. But, I question a claim he makes later in his article:
Sadly, however, as Library and Information Science schools have undergone a wave of rebrandings over the past decade into “iSchools,” this emphasis on data minimization and privacy, use and users of information, community informatics, civil liberties and the human dimension of informational creation and consumption has been steadily eroded in favor of the same harvesting, hoarding, mining and manipulation that were once the exclusive domain of computer science programs.
Our college became an iSchool over a decade ago. There are more than 100 colleges and departments worldwide that identify as iSchools and belong to the iSchools organization. There is considerable diversity among iSchools and the programs that they offer, and it is hard to make generalizations; indeed, not all iSchools came from LIS schools. Some have had an erosion in the interests that Dr. Leetaru mentions, but many have not – including ours. Instead, we have become multidisciplinary, bringing in computer scientists and engineers, sociologists and psychologists, ethnographers and human-computer interaction designers to address the exact problems that Dr. Leetaru points to in his article. We have not run away from LIS values he emphasizes as being needed, but rather broadened the application of them through our educational programs and our research.
Here are two examples from my college. One large NSF-funded project, called PERVADE, studies how diverse stakeholders (big data researchers, platforms, regulators, and user communities) understand their ethical obligations and choices, and how their decisions impact data system design and use. They have many goals, including developing implementable and sustainable best practices for research ethics. This project is made up of researchers from many communities, including archivists, computer scientists, and socio-technical designers. Another project, called Morphic, focuses on providing ICT access to people facing barriers to the use of computers due to disability, literacy, digital literacy or age. They are already deploying prototype technology, including at my university’s library. A major concern of the project is protecting the privacy of the people using the technology in terms of their disabilities. They have turned down corporate sponsorship because they will not share information about their users with companies, and are even setting up an external Data Ethics Council to oversee privacy after Morphic leaves the University. The Morphic researchers come from accessibility engineering, biomedical and health informatics, computer science, and HCI.
The skills and values taught by LIS programs are even more sharply needed now that information is becoming ever more deeply embedded in our lives. We badly need to bring engineers and computer scientists together with LIS-trained experts to work together. That is what our iSchool, and others like ours, do. We are the library and information science schools for the information age.
Image: Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, speaking at the 2019 iSchools' iConference. (Image by Craig Taylor / University of Maryland)
The deadline for iConference 2020 full research papers and short research papers is Sept. 16, 2019. This means that, as of press time, authors now have three weeks to finalize and submit their research findings. Papers accepted for presentation at iConference 2020 will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
iConference 2020 will take place March 23-26, 2020 in Borås, Sweden. Jointly hosted by the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway) and presented by the iSchools, this is the 15th event in the annual iConference series. Papers on all current critical information issues are invited; contributions within the 2020 conference theme of Sustainable Digital Communities are particularly encouraged. Participants are invited to discuss sustainability from ethical, social, ecological, economic and technological perspectives. This includes trusting communities, equality, openness, privacy, cultural heritage and access to digital worlds.
In addition to research papers, iConference 2020 seeks research posters, visions papers, workshop proposals and proposals for interactive sessions; all are due Sept. 23. Doctoral Colloquium applications are also due Sept. 23; meanwhile, applications for the Early Career Colloquium and Student Symposium are due Oct. 15.
All information scholars, researchers and practitioners are welcome to make submissions and participate at the iConference, whether they are with a member-school or elsewhere; affiliation with the iSchools organization is not required.
Visit the iConference website for more information, and follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter, #iconf2020. Participant registration will open in mid-November.
Kim S., like half of mobile phone users, has an application to track her daily eating and fitness. But Kim is newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and wants to start tracking the glycemic index of her food, her blood glucose levels, how low blood sugar affects her moods, and feelings of fatigue. People with complex or unique health tracking needs like these can struggle to find a single tracking app and often resort to using multiple apps, spreadsheets, and lists.
Dr. Eun Kyoung Choe, at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool), in partnership with researchers at Seoul National University and Microsoft Research, is tackling this challenge of individualized and unique data tracking needs through the development of a mobile data collection platform, called OmniTrack.
OmniTrack allows people to easily design their own personalized tracking tool (whether for food tracking or other health or fitness needs), selecting what they want to track and how to track it, and adding extra support like reminders. The app can also sync with external tracking devices, such as smartwatches, to integrate data scattered across multiple platforms. OmniTrack is in fact so flexible, that it can be used for people with unique tracking needs across domains, such as exercise, sleep, mood, or productivity.
Dr. Choe and UMD students Yuhan Luo and Peiyi Liu are also looking at potential applications of OmniTrack specifically in supporting the tracking of complex food and other contextual data to support individuals and patients with complex diet needs, such as individuals with diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or eating disorders.
Read more of this story on the UMD iSchool website.
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