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  • 13 Feb 2020 18:32 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    With this second installment in our series on iConference 2020 keynote speakers, we focus on Prof. Jussi Karlgren, whose talk will take place the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25. Standard conference registration rates are in effect through Feb. 17, after which time late rates go into effect.

    Karlgren is a principal research scientist at Spotify and one of the founding partners of the text analysis company Gavagai. He has worked with language technology and interaction with information since 1987. His main research interest is on how to design a learning knowledge representation to handle the continuously changing form and content of human information and to meet the broad variety of human information needs an information system meets with, including entertainment and diversion. He believes human language to be very well designed representation and that technology to handle it should embrace its characteristics instead of viewing them as problems. Karlgren has worked on stylistic variation and genres in language and on large scale semantic spaces for application e.g. to sentiment analysis.

    Karlgren’s presentation is titled Information Access for Evolving Media Usage. "The media usage habits of the population at large change, which has effects for the educational system, for memory institutions, for the media industry, and therefore for those of us who develop technology for information access,” he tells us. “Many of the current changes are easy to observe through introspection or through observing how people in our vicinity consume media and information: people read text on screens; watch lectures and educational material in video clips; listen to literary material and to short written texts superimposed on brief video clips to their near and dear; and stream music and movies instead of purchasing physical objects to place in shelves in their homes.

    “There are very obvious challenges for technology having to do with how we make documents and their content accessible for search and exploration across media types, and we do not quite know what effects today's changes have on tomorrow’s media usage.

    "This talk will give some examples, based in part on experiences from Spotify, a large music and podcast streaming service, and discuss one of the less obvious challenges: how to evaluate and validate new technology solutions. We know how to measure quality for systems designed to fulfil expressly formulated known information needs, but how can we measure quality of a system designed to entertain and delight? How can we assess the usefulness of systems for digital scholars? And what are the underlying assumptions that have governed the make-up of the experimental benchmarking of today's information systems?" 

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23-26 in Borås, Sweden. More information about this year’s keynote speakers can be found on the conference website. Click here for registration details; standard registration rates are in effect through Feb. 17, after which time late rates go into effect.

    iConference 2020 is a presentation of the iSchools and is hosted by the University of Borås: Swedish School of Library and Information Science, and Oslo Metropolitan University: Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Science. Sponsors include the City of Borås, Monash University, and Springer.

  • 12 Feb 2020 05:32 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The University of British Columbia iSchool has a new name. Formerly the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) in the Faculty of Arts, the school has officially changed its name to School of Information, (or iSchool, informally).

    According to an announcement posted to the school’s website, the change in names is “the logical conclusion of more than a decade of evolution of the School’s scope and orientation, mirroring broader changes within the disciplinary areas of library, archival and information studies.

    The UBC iSchool is a member of the iSchools at the iCaucus level, showing the highest possible level of support for the organization. UBC joined the iSchools in 2011.

    Read the full announcement on the UBC iSchool website.

  • 10 Feb 2020 21:21 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    Since the adoption of The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May of 2018, European iSchools have been developing processes for complying with the Regulation’s privacy requirements. The iSchools organization has now posted a white paper that examines the subject and its impacts on research. This white paper is now available to iSchools members and others with interest in the subject.

    Titled GDPR compliant research at iSchools in the European Region, the white paper was written by Melanie Rügenhagen of Berlin’s Humboldt University and iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle. Based on a survey of European member-iSchools, the white paper gives an overview of how these schools and their universities are addressing GDPR.

    GDPR is complex and allows European countries to specify their own measures regarding data protection. As a result, final regulations can depend on local decisions to a degree. The white paper should not be considered legal advice nor a discourse on the law. Instead, it is a step toward unfolding how particular schools in Europe cope with the GDPR when it comes to research.

    GDPR compliant research at iSchools in the European Region is available free-of-charge in the iSchools website’s Resources section.

  • 10 Feb 2020 19:26 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    Amid worldwide concern about the COVID-19 outbreak, the iConference 2020 hosts are monitoring developments and following the recommendations of the Swedish State and Public Health Authorities. iConference 2020 will take place March 23-26 in Borås, Sweden, and the conference hosts will continue seeking the input of these authorities during the remaining six weeks leading to the conference.

    Conference participants are advised to follow travel recommendations issued by authorities in their respective countries. There are currently travel restrictions in some affected areas, and these may not be lifted in time for the conference. In light of this, the organizers are exploring the possibility of enabling virtual presentation by participants in affected areas. These remote presentations would be in keeping with the conference mission of promoting knowledge-exchange on a world-wide basis. More on this will be posted to the conference website as planning develops.

    In the meantime, the conference organizers look forward to hosting participants next month. They will continue to monitor the situation, and all delegates will be promptly informed if any significant changes become necessary. The conference hosts and the iSchools organization wish the very best for all our colleagues in affected areas around the world.

  • 7 Feb 2020 00:02 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies (UPSLIS) has proudly introduced its new Dean, Prof. Mary Grace P. Golfo-Barcelona. 

    According to the school, Prof. Golfo-Barcelona personifies the interdisciplinarity inherent within the information professions. With her BLS and MLIS degrees from UP SLIS she represents the traditions and values of a Scholar ng Bayan, Scholar para sa Bayan (Scholar of the People, Scholar for the People). The subsequent development of her career as a librarian in various academic institutions and as records manager and archivist in the government sector has shaped the way she looks at information across competing applications, priorities, and paradigms of access. Her ongoing PhD in Anthropology and completed MA in Archival Studies (History) from the University of Manitoba broadens and reshapes her professional practice. This foundation coupled with a multi-faceted professional background makes her an archetype of the modern information professional, ever responsive to the continually changing needs and priorities of communities driven by technology, history, and culture.

    Prof. Golfo-Barcelona succeeds Prof. Kathleen Lourdes B. Obille whose 6-year tenure saw the declaration of the School as the sole CHED Center of Excellence in Library and Information Studies, becoming a member of the iSchools, as well as re-established ties in South East Asia and the larger international stage.

  • 6 Feb 2020 21:40 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The City of Borås, Sweden, is sponsoring a free guided walking-tour of art installations from its biannual art festival No Limit Borås. The one-hour tour will take place 1:30-2:30 pm the afternoon of Thursday, March 26, immediately following the conclusion of the conference. 

    This Street Art tour is free of charge to iConference 2020 participants. Interested parties must sign up for the tour on our guided tour webpage.

    This is one of the many excursions being offered to iConference 2020 participants. Some, like the Street Art Walk, are free of charge. Others have a nominal fee. 

    Additional excursions include:

    • A visit to the medieval Torpa Castle, where participants will experience the glassblowers work at Glasets Hus / The House of Glass. Friday, March 27.
    • A visit to the 18th Century Gunnebo House estate, and an opportunity to take in the gorgeous Swedish west coast on the picturesque island of Tjörn. Saturday, March 28.
    • A day-tour of various Gothenburg libraries, including the University of Gothenburg Library and Chalmers University of Technology Library, as well as sight-seeing in the coastal town of Gothenburg (approximately one hour from Borås). Friday, March 27.
    • A visit to the University of Borås library, just minutes from the conference venue. (Date TBA)
    • A guided tour of Abecita Museum of Modern Art, which is located in an industrial estate about 10 minutes from the conference venue. The museum includes more than 500 works of photography and graphic art by internationally acclaimed artists such as Warhol, Rauschenberg, Bourgeois, Hockney, Hamilton, Bacon and Dine, as well as Scandinavian artists and photographers. Thursday, March 26.

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23-26 in Borås, Sweden. Click here to register. More information about excursions in-and-around the host-city of Borås can be found on the guided tour webpage. iConference 2020 is a presentation of the iSchools and is hosted this year by the University of Borås: Swedish School of Library and Information Science, and Oslo Metropolitan University: Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Science. Sponsors include the City of Borås and Monash University.

  • 6 Feb 2020 20:41 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The 83rd annual meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology will take place Oct. 23-28 in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Prospective participants are invited to join a cadre of scholars and professionals from around the globe to share research, innovations, and insights regarding the impact of information science and technology on individuals, groups, organizations, governments and societies throughout the world.

    ASIS&T has issued a Call for Proposals seeking papers, posters, panels, workshops and other proposals. There will also be a doctoral colloquium. Full details, including submission instructions and deadlines, can be found on the meeting website.

  • 6 Feb 2020 20:29 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The iInstitute at Sweden's Linnaeus University is accepting applications for a newly established master's program in Digital Humanities. The two-year program is taught entirely online, and in English. According to the school, the progam is free of charge to EU citizens.

    Digital humanities is an inter-disciplinary field of study that represents a bridge between the arts and humanities and information technology. Visit the progam website for full details.

  • 6 Feb 2020 20:20 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    Personal data, like social security numbers, medical histories, and financial status, say a lot about who we are and affect how we accomplish necessary tasks, such as obtaining an apartment lease, pursuing higher education, applying for federal aid benefits, health insurance, and jobs, or even obtaining citizenship. But for some vulnerable and marginalized groups, particularly in low-income communities, this personal information can be susceptible to malicious behavior without the adequate skills needed to navigate these tasks. UMD researchers set out to understand data-privacy hurdles faced by low-income families and to develop public-library programs to help change this dynamic.

    Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), researchers from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park are working with library staff and families of low-socioeconomic backgrounds to develop privacy and security resources as the goal of the Safe Data | Safe Families project. The team began by interviewing 52 families from high-poverty communities to understand the real, perceived, and unknown risks they face as they navigate online transactions with limited technical skills, as well as the strategies they use to minimize these risks. 

    From these interviews, the team found various themes emerging related to these privacy challenges, including families facing multi-channel threats like phone and email scams - typically involving enticing monetary rewards - computer viruses, and online stalking. Many participants claimed to struggle to protect themselves from or respond to security threats, so they resort to adverse practices like deleting junk mail everyday as opposed to adjusting the email account settings (e.g changing account password) or putting themselves in situations where they’re more susceptible to fraudulent activity, such as using prepaid cards that typically lack security protections compared to a card from legitimate banks. 

    Many participants described their friends and family as having similar technical skills as them, suggesting they may not be sources of help for certain digital tasks, so they turn to libraries as a knowledge sources that they believe are well-versed and trustworthy – using library computers and asking librarians for assistance with specific websites or online tools. In some cases, the families create relationships with the library staff over time, further solidifying their trust in the library. 

    Libraries have remained an integral asset for these underrepresented families to get things done, but for library staff assisting these families, there can be a lot of tension when dealing with this sensitive information. Older family members are often unsure of how to practice sufficient confidentiality and privacy behaviors, most notably when navigating technology to complete a task, and in many cases will leave critical information out in the open that a passersby could easily steal.

    “There’s this sense that anything they do on the public computers, the librarian will know and protect the – like if people are trying to scam them, the librarian will protect them. But, that’s a misconception because librarians don’t look at what you do on public computers due to intellectual freedom values,” said Dr. Mega Subramaniam, Associate Professor at UMD and a Co-Principal Investigator for the Safe Data | Safe Families project. “That’s the part that we are really diving into right now and seeing what resources emerge that can be developed for families.”

    The roles of libraries have shifted dramatically over the last few decades going beyond the curation and borrowing of literature. In many low-income and impoverished communities, libraries are used as a hub for technology access, educational programming outside of schools, job interview preparation, and completing essential tasks and transactions that cannot be completed at home due to a lack of technology or skill. Libraries have also developed a reputation for acting as safe spaces to confide personal experiences that a person might not be comfortable sharing with their family members.

    “[Families] come to the library and they know that the librarian is a trusted source of information,” said Subramaniam. “Kids are also learning a lot of things from school, which is great, and they pass it back to their families. So we’re trying to see how this knowledge and skills are shared within the family, how can we leverage all this to facilitate good privacy practices within the family.” 

    The Safe Data | Safe Families project aims to develop a suite of resources to be used by librarians to inform their practices in helping families in sensitive online transactions and by libraries to facilitate digital privacy and security skills education for these families. This story comes to us from UMD iSchool News; to learn more about the project, visit safedata.umd.edu.

  • 6 Feb 2020 20:10 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The Rutgers iSchool invites applicants for entry into their doctoral program. The school seeks applications of students from all backgrounds interested in pursuing research advancing the information field.

    The Rutgers iSchool is one of the founding iSchools. The LIS area of concentration in their interdisciplinary Ph.D. provides an environment for research in such areas as Health Information and Technology; Human Information Behavior; Human-Computer Interaction; Information Institutions, Artifacts, and Documents; Information Retrieval and Language Analysis; Learning, Education, and Technology; Social Computing and Data Science. Connecting these research foci are common threads: people and community; data, information, and knowledge; technologies, systems, and networks; and empowerment, engagement, and action.

    Interested parties can use this link to learn more about the program and apply. 

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