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If quiz-show host Alex Trebek had asked the iSchools, we would have told him that librarians not only know the answers, they know the questions as well. But to all appearances Trebek has figured this out on his own: The New York Times is reporting that Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher has won Trebek’s popular quiz-show Jeopardy. In the episode airing June 3, 2019, Boettcher successfully provided all the answers (in the form of a question) needed to defeat long-time defending champion James Holzhauer.
Holzhauer has become something of a media phenomenon during his 33-show reign as Jeopardy champion. The 33-year-old professional sports better used his gambling moxie to dominate competitors and rack up $2.5 million in prize money.
The Chicago Tribune reports that 27-year-old Boettcher is a user experience resident librarian at the University of Chicago. She received her master’s degree in information science in 2016 from the iSchool at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her master’s paper was titled, “Predicting the Difficulty of Trivia Questions Using Text Features.” The UNC iSchool is an iSchools member at the iCaucus level.
In an article titled “Trends in Accreditation” that appears in the May 2019 issue of American Libraries magazine, author Terry Weech explores the growth of the iSchool movement, and how he feels it has contributed in-part to pressure on the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation to expand its accreditation standards beyond librarianship.
The iSchools organization extends its appreciation to Dr. Weech. The organization welcomes discussion of the iSchools organization, and the roles our members play in the ever-evolving information field. As iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle is quoted as saying, “The growth of the international iSchools group and the broadened definition of information science represent defining trends because they cut across disciplinary and national boundaries.”
However, Weeks draws an inference about our organization that could be misleading. He states the following: “In 2019, the iSchools membership directory lists 101 institutions worldwide, but fewer than 40 have ALA-accredited programs. The iSchools represent a population of schools in information studies in which LIS programs are a minority.”
To clarify, the iSchools are an international organization. The majority of our members are outside North America, and their LIS programs are thus not eligible for accreditation by ALA. If you consider only our eligible North American member-schools, a significant majority of that subset have ALA accredited programs.
In addition, a significant majority of our international membership have LIS programs; it’s just that these programs are not eligible to seek ALA accreditation due to their geographic location. They are nevertheless meaningful and vibrant programs. When taken as a whole, LIS programs are by no means “a minority” among the iSchools—in fact, these programs represent a significant point of commonality across the iSchools’ membership.
The iSchool movement began several decades ago in the United States when a number of schools that were offering degrees in the library and information sciences realized that their teaching and research programs had capacity to reach a broader audience of students and also prepare professionals for work beyond libraries.
The iSchools organization now includes more than 100 schools from all parts of the world. Scholars and researchers in iSchools are focusing their attention on enhancing the lives of people, the productivity of companies, the innovation cycles of industries, the design of technologies, the policies that govern technology and information use, information services to communities, and much more.
Fresh on the heels of our successful conference in Washington DC, the organizers of next year’s iConference in Borås, Sweden have released the 2020 Call for Participation. Faculty and students in the information field are encouraged to begin making submission plans. iConference 2020 will open for submission in late June, and a series of staggered deadlines will occur starting in September.
The iConference 2020 CFP is available here in .pdf form for easy viewing and sharing. Meanwhile, our 2020 Program webpage provides a timeline a quick links to all track pages.
The fifteenth annual event in our series, iConference 2020 will take place in Borås, Sweden, March 23-26, 2020. It is jointly hosted by the University of Borås, Sweden, and Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.
The organizers invite papers on all current critical information issues. Contributions within the 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.
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.
iConference 2020 registration will open in November. Watch the iConference website for more details in the coming months. You can also follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter, #iconf2020
Although young children are increasingly familiar with technology, that does not necessarily mean they are comfortable with it. Researchers at the University of Washington Information School found that kids might say technology was “creepy” if they saw it as ambiguous or posing a threat.
“Over the years of working with kids we realized they use the word ‘creepy’ a lot as a way to reject specific technologies,” notes Jason Yip, an assistant professor at UW’s iSchool.
Yip and his fellow researchers designed a series of activities to help children work through these thoughts. This led to the identification of five properties of technologies that contributed to children’s concerns: deception versus transparency; ominous physical appearance; lack of control; unpredictability; and mimicry.
Click here for more details in a UW News story by Sarah McQuate.
The School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pleased to announce the establishment of an endowed professorship, the Mildred M. Luther and Kathryn Luther Henderson Professorship in Preservation and Technical Services. The professorship was established through the generosity of Mildred Luther (1926-2017), a loyal Illinois employee and alumna with a special family connection to the School.
The endowed professorship honors Luther’s 49 years of service to the University. Click here for the full story on the Illinois website.
The iSchools welcome two new members to its worldwide organization of leading information schools. Our new iSchools are: The Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, located in Melbourne, Australia; and The Department of Information Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at University J.J. Strossmayer in Osijek, Croatia.
Headed by Professor Jon Whittle, the Monash University iSchool has 69 permanent faculty members, as well as 37 additional teaching and research staff members. The school’s enrollment is more than 3,000, and 56 individuals have received their Ph.D. through the school in the last two years.
The Monash iSchool is focused on core research pillars in Data Science, Cyber Security, Computer Human Interaction and Community Organisational and Social Informatics. It also has research expertise in archives and recordkeeping systems, accountability and transparency, community development, technology for innovation, ICT in healthcare and digital civics.
Monash University is the largest university in Australia, and its iSchool has chosen to join at the iCaucus level, reflecting the highest possible level of support for the iSchools organization.
University J.J. Strossmayer
The iSchool at University J. J. Strossmayer is headed by Boris Badurina. The school has three permanent professors plus a teaching staff of more than 20. Enrollment is approaching 200, and the school has produced 10 Ph.D.s in the last two years.
Established in 1998 as a Cathedra for Library Science, the school changed its name Department of Information Sciences in 2005. A leader in developing new approaches to education and research in the Information Sciences field in Croatia, the school joins the iSchools at the basic level, and looks forward to developing strong partnership in research with other members of iSchools family, particularly in Europe.
About the iSchools
The iSchools organization was founded in 2001 as a collective of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st Century. It has since grown to more than 100 universities and institutions spanning six continents.
Julius C. Jefferson Jr., section head of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has been elected president-elect of the American Library Association (ALA). He will serve as president-elect for one year before stepping into his role as president at the close of the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.
An active member of ALA for 15 years, Jefferson holds an MLS from the University of Maryland.
Click here for more of this story on the UMD iSchool website.
The Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I) has announced four new faculty members that will join its Library and Information Science (LIS) Department in fall 2019.
The new faculty members are: Warren Allen, who joins Rutgers as Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of the Information Technology and Informatics (ITI) Program; E.E. Lawrence, a doctoral candidate in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Britt Paris, an information studies scholar focused on developing a sociotechnical understanding of how groups understand, build, and use Internet infrastructure in accordance to their value systems; and Gretchen Stahlman, a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Arizona’s School of Information.
“Rutgers LIS Department is very excited to be welcoming these four outstanding new faculty members,” said Department Chair Marie Radford. “Our Department is experiencing a period of rapid growth in enrollment in both our Masters of Information, as well as our Information, Technology, and Informatics undergraduate programs. These accomplished new faculty will bring a range of talents to enhance our research reach and innovative curriculum development.”
Click here for more for more of this story on the Rutgers iSchool website.
ISIC 2020 is a conference focused on Information Behavior taking place this fall in Pretoria, South Africa. Hosted by the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, the conference dates are Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2020.
The ISIC 2020 papers submission date is Jan. 31, 2020. The conference welcomes interdisciplinary information research, taking influence from fields such as information science, information studies, library studies, communication studies, computer science, education, information management, information systems, management science, psychology, social psychology, sociology, and other disciplines.
Full submission details are included in the CFP, found on the ISIC 2020 website.
In the latest installment of our iSchools research blog, Linnaeus University Lecturer Fredrik Hanell examines information literacy as it pertains to pre-school teacher education. Based on Hanell’s dissertation from Lund University, the author examines how global policy discourse surrounding digital competence can constrain the development of creative and critical aspects of information literacies that are vital to successful teaching. Click here to read the new post.
The iSchools Research Blog showcases the work of young scholars throughout our organization’s 100 member schools. Scholars at member schools are invited to propose blog submissions here.
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