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  • 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

  • 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. 

  • 5 Feb 2020 00:59 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    iConference 2020 will feature three plenary presentations, each anchored by a noteworthy keynote speaker. This article, which is the first in a series, introduces the talk by Dr. Lena Dencik.

    Dr. Dencik is Associate Professor (Reader) at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University, UK and is Co-Founder of the Data Justice Lab. She has published widely on digital media and the politics of data and is currently Principal Investigator of the DATAJUSTICE project funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. Her publications include “Media and Global Civil Society” (Palgrave, 2012), “Worker Resistance and Media” (Peter Lang, 2015), and “Digital Citizenship in a Datafied Society” (Polity, 2018).

    Dr. Dencik’s presentation is titled Civic Participation in the Datafied Society. "The use of data and algorithmic processes for decision-making is now a growing part of social life and helps determine decisions that are central to our ability to participate in society, such as welfare, education, crime, work, and if we can cross borders” she explains. “Citizens are increasingly assessed, profiled, categorized and ‘scored’ according to data assemblages, their future behavior is predicted through data processing, and services are allocated accordingly.

    "In a datafied society, state-citizen relations become quasi-automated and dependent on digital infrastructures. This raises significant challenges for democratic processes, active citizenship and public engagement.

    "In this talk I will engage with the question of advancing civic participation in a context of rapid technological and social transformation, considering also experiments in new democratic practices to ensure legitimacy, transparency, accountability and intervention in relation to data-driven governance. In so doing, I will outline emerging terrains for developing civic agency in a datafied society."

    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, along with registration information. 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.

  • 29 Jan 2020 23:07 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) is an international biennial conference that brings together researchers, educators, students, practitioners, and developers from all  over the world in a forum for personal exchanges, discussions, and learning. Due to a high number of requests, the deadline for submission of poster and student showcase proposals to LIDA 2020 has been extended to February 15, 2020.

    Since 2000, LIDA has addressed the changing and challenging environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world. This year's theme is "Reshaping Identity in The Digital Age: People, Libraries, Data, Technology & Ethics". The organizers welcome submissions that address critical and theoretical examination of the theme; present current research and evidence, as well as examination of best practices from the field, and practitioner perspectives and applications.

    Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) organized jointly by University of Zadar and University of Osijek, Croatia, and Rutgers University, US. Learn more on the LIDA website.

  • 28 Jan 2020 20:45 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The iSchools organization has admitted three new member-schools to its consortium of leading Information Schools. Our newest members: the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Department of Library, Information and Archives Management, which has joined at the prestigious iCaucus level; the University of Regensburg, Institute for Information and Media, Language and Culture; and the University of São Paulo, School of Communication and Arts.

    The iSchools movement originated from a small group of schools in the United States; the iSchools organization how has 110 members worldwideResearchers in iSchools are focus 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. The iSchools also presents an annual information conference; iConference 2020 will take place March 23-26 in Borås, Sweden.

    About Our Newest Members

    The University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Department of Library, Information and Archives Management is located in Beijing and headed by Prof. Jingli Chu. The school has joined at the iCaucus level, showing the highest possible support for the organization. With 76 professors, the school offers Master’s Degree programs in Library Science, Information Science, and Archives Management; it also has Doctoral programs in Library Science and Information Science.

    The University of Regensburg, Institute for Information and Media, Language and Culture is located in Regensburg, Germany, and headed by Prof. Dr. Udo Kruschwitz. Master’s programs include Digital Humanities, Information Science, Media Informatics, Media Studies, General and Comparative Linguistics, and Comparative Cultural Studies. It’s Ph.D. program pre-dates the creation of the institute in 2003. The school has joined at the Basic level.

    The University of São Paulo School of Communication and Arts is located in São Paulo, Brazil, and headed by Prof. Dr. Brasilina Passarelli Vice-Dean at ECA. The school has 185 professors, more than 2,100 undergraduate students, and more than 1,200 graduate students. The school has also joined at the Basic level.

  • 13 Jan 2020 22:03 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The iConference organizers are please to present the 2020 papers and poster awards finalists, listed below. Finalists were selected by their respective track and program chairs based on content and reviews; winners will be announced at the conference. As aways, the iConference award nominations reflect the field’s diversity and worldwide perspective.

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23-26 in Borås, Sweden. Early registration rates are available through Wednesday, Jan. 15; standard rates apply thereafter.

    The finalists are listed below. Full details, including links to abstracts, can also be found on the conference Awards webpage.

    Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper finalists

    Named in honor of Lee Dirks, friend and early supporter of the iConference, this award is now sponsored by the iSchools organization and comes with a $1,000 cash prize. The finalists are listed alphabetically by title. Visit Awards page for details.

    AI Models and Their Worlds: Investigating Data-Driven, AI/ML Ecosystems Through a Work Practices Lens

    Author: Christine T. Wolf, IBM Research (USA)

    Educating for democracy? The role of media and information literacy education for pupils in Swedish compulsory school

    Authors: Hanna Carlsson, Linneaus University (Sweden); Olof Sundin, Lund University (Sweden)

    Identifying Historical Travelogues in Large Text Corpora Using Machine Learning

    Authors: Jan Rörden, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria); Doris Gruber, Austrian Academy of Sciences (Austria); Martin Krickl, Austrian National Library (Austria); Bernhard Haslhofer, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria)

    “In the beginning, it was little whispers…now, we’re almost a roar”: Conceptualizing a model for community and self in LGBTQ+ health information practices

    Authors: Vanessa L. Kitzie, University of South Carolina (USA); Travis L. Wagner, University of South Carolina (USA); A. Nick Vera, University of South Carolina (USA)

    Trolling Trump

    Author: Pnina Fichman, Indiana University - Bloomington (USA)

    Best Short Research Paper Award finalists

    The finalists are listed alphabetically by title. Visit Awards page for details.

    Challenges in Organizing and Accessing Video Game Artifacts

    Authors: Jin Ha Lee, University of Washington (USA); Marc Schmalz, University of Washington (USA); Stephen Keating, University of Washington (USA); Jeewon Ha, University of Washington (USA)

    How does media reflect the OA and Non-OA scientific literature? A case study of Environment Sustainability 

    Authors: Tahereh Dehdarirad, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden); Jonathan Freer, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden); Alexander Mladenovic, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden)

    Indigenous Cultural Sustainability in a Digital World: Two Case Studies from Aotearoa New Zealand

    Authors: Anne Goulding, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand); Jennifer Campbell-Meier, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand); Allan Sylvester, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)

    On the Breakdown of the Controlled Environment Paradigm in Norwegian Archival Repositories

    Author: Herbjørn Andresen, Oslo Metropolitan University

    The What of Data: Sharing Appropriate Scientific Research

    Author: Bernadette Marie Boscoe, University of Washington (USA)

    Best Poster Award finalists

    The finalists are listed alphabetically by title. Visit Awards page for details.

    Dealing with privacy - Personal privacy from a research data management perspective

    Authors: Live Håndlykken Kvale, Oslo Metropolitan University; Peter Thomas Darch, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    Digital Literacy Initiatives in Canada: Exploring Successes from Multiple Perspectives

    Authors: Heidi Julien, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Brian Detlor, McMaster University

    “I Like the Way the Skin Looks”: Player Perspectives on Aesthetic Appeal and Self-Representation With Video Game “Skins”

    Authors: Alia Fatima Reza, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Adanna Floris Nedd, The Pennsylvania State University, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Sabrina Chu, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Amy Castillo, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Zuaira Khan,  iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Daniel Lowell Gardner, University of California, Irvine,  iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3)

    Telling Multifaceted Stories with Humanities Data: Visualizing Book of Hours Manuscripts

    Authors: Rongqian Ma, University of Pittsburgh; Kai Li, Drexel University

    Who Gave You the Right?: Exploring Power and Politics in Journalism and Academic Work Chronicling Hurricane Maria

    Authors: Amy Chew, University of Michigan, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Gabriela C. Delgado-Fernandini, University of Puerto Rico, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Jamario Devon Cantrell, Vanderbilt University, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3); Daniel Carter, Texas State University, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3)

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23—26, 2020, in Borås, Sweden. iConference 2020 is presented by the iSchools organization and co-hosted by the iSchools at the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University. Sponsors include the City of Borås.

    Useful links:

  • 10 Jan 2020 21:02 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    To help participants maximize their experience of Sweden while attending iConference 2020, the hosts have made arrangements for special guided tours in and around the conference city of Borås. These tours all take place after the conclusion of the iConference. A brief overview is provided below, and full details are provided on the University of Borås website.

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23—26 in Boras, Sweden. Discounted early registration rates are available through Wednesday, Jan. 15; standard rates apply thereafter. In addition, the organizers have made arrangements for specially priced rooms at nearby hotels. These lodging rates are available through Jan. 19, after which users will need to make their own hotel arrangements via normal channels. Visit our registration webpage for more details on registration and lodging. Act now to secure the lower rates!

    The following guided tours are available to conference participants:

    • Travel to the medieval Torpa Castle and experience the glassblowers work at Glasets Hus / The House of Glass. Friday, March 27.
    • Travel to the 18th Century Gunnebo House estate, and also experience the gorgeous Swedish west coast on the picturesque island of Tjörn. Saturday, March 28.
    • Day tour to 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, which is approximately one hour from Borås. Friday, March 27.
    • Visit to the University of Borås library, just minutes from the conference venue. (Date TBA)
    • Street art guided walk: Experience the street art created as part of the art festival No Limit Borås. The art is scattered around the city. Thursday, March 26.
    • A guided tour of Abecita Museum of Modern Art, located in an industrial estate about 10 minutes from the conference venue. 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.

    Please note that some tours are free of charge, others require additional fees. In additon, some tours have sign-up deadlines. Visit the University of Borås tours webpage for details. 

    Useful links

    Conference home page

    Registration and lodging

    Conference program schedule

    Guided tours at the conference

  • 6 Jan 2020 21:23 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    All prospective participants for iConference 2020 in Borås, Sweden are reminded that the discounted early registration period end Jan. 15; rates increase on Jan. 16. Register now to secure the lower rate. 

    In addition, the discounted-room arrangement with Resia booking service is for a limited time and ends soon! For the Scandic Plaza it will expire Jan. 9, just 3 days from today. For other hotels it will expire Jan. 19. After that, rooms can still be booked through regular booking channels, but they may cost more and may not be as close to the venue. For lower rates and peace of mind, book your lodging now.

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23—26, 2020, in Borås, Sweden. The venue is the Borås Kongress (pictured). iConference 2020 is presented by the iSchools organization and co-hosted by the iSchools at the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University. Sponsors include the City of Borås.

    Useful links:

    Photo credit: Åke E:son Lindman

  • 18 Dec 2019 02:26 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    Incoming Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu today announced the appointment of Rajiv “Raj” Dewan as the next dean of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. Dewan, professor of computers and information systems, comes to Syracuse from the University of Rochester Simon Business School, where he currently serves as the Xerox Professor of Business and director of the M.S. in business analytics program, the latter of which he helped build into a nationally ranked program listed among the top five in 2019 by the TFE Times. Dewan’s appointment, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, is effective Jan. 13, 2020.

    “Raj has great expertise in both technology and information analytics and an impressive track record of building academic programs, harnessing the passion and interests of faculty, and truly innovating curriculum in teaching and pursuing relevant research,” says Liu. “Syracuse University’s iSchool has long been a leader in information studies and I am certain the school, along with its faculty and students, will continue to flourish under Rajiv’s leadership. I look forward to welcoming Raj to Syracuse.”

    At Rochester, Dewan worked with faculty to develop the business analytics curriculum, partnered with admissions to build the applicant pool and recruit students, and liaised with corporate partners to place students in competitive career and internship opportunities. When it was launched in 2014, the M.S. in business analytics program had four students in its inaugural class; today, it has more than 90.

    Dewan previously served as senior associate dean for faculty and research and chief operating and academic officer at the Simon Business School. He was principally in charge of developing and retaining faculty, assessing and developing programs, and managing budgets and the technology infrastructure. Dewan also served as the school’s diversity officer, charged with ensuring inclusivity and a healthy and welcoming environment for all students.

    “I have long admired the groundbreaking work being done at Syracuse University’s iSchool,” says Dewan. “I appreciate its history and current commitment to innovation in the digital age. Today’s students and professionals are seeking the kinds of experiences they will need for successful careers in library science, information policy, information behavior, information management, information systems, information technology, information services, data analytics and enterprise data systems. I look forward to working with deans and faculty across campus to ensure that our students have access to the information and experiences they seek.”

    Visit the Syracus iSchool website for more on this story.

  • 16 Dec 2019 16:42 | iSchools News (Administrator)

    The organizers of iConference 2020 have released the official program schedule for the upcoming conference. Authors, presenters and other participants can now view the schedule to begin making their conference plans. The program schedule is interactive and searchable. Users can enter their name in the search field to quickly find their sessions.

    iConference 2020 takes place March 23—26, 2020, in Borås, Sweden. Conference registration is open now, with discounted early rates available through Jan. 15. 

    iConference 2020 is presented by the iSchools organization and co-hosted by the iSchools at the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University. Sponsors include the City of Borås.

    The iConference organizers will continue to make announcements as planning develops in the coming months. The 2020 program schedule is preliminary and subject to change.

    Click here to view the 2020 program schedule.


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