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The University of Washington announced a $5 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to create the Center for an Informed Public to resist strategic misinformation, promote an informed society, and strengthen democratic discourse. The Center is also funded by a $600,000 award from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
This interdisciplinary effort is being led by the UW Information School, Human Centered Design & Engineering and the School of Law, with collaboration from the Communication Leadership Program at the UW and numerous other university and community partners.
Read the full story here on the UW iSchool website.
The iSchools website now has a “Resources” section that will contain a collection of free resources that should be of interest to faculty, students, and other iSchool stakeholders. The inaugural resource is The Discipline of Organizing, first published by MIT Press in 2013 and now in its 4thedition published by O’Reilly Media. The Discipline of Organizing (TDO) unifies concepts and methods from library and information science, informatics and computer science, cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy, business, law, and other fields.
The transdisciplinary breadth of The Discipline of Organizing has enabled it to be used as a primary or supplemental text in more than 50 schools (more than half of them iSchools) in 20 countries. It has been used for courses in Information Organization, Knowledge Management, Digital Collections, Information Architecture, Information Systems Design, Data Science, and other related fields.
O’Reilly Media has given us permission to make TDO freely downloadable at no cost under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License. Not only does this put the book closer to its primary users (instructors of iSchool courses), but we hope it sets an example of “open access” texts that the iSchools can curate for their members.
In addition to the complete text of all three versions of the latest edition of TDO, the resources collection contains nearly 100 case studies that apply TDO’s framework for designing or analyzing an organizing system. Most of the case studies were written by students as “mini term papers” to demonstrate their mastery of TDO, and they have proven useful as supplemental readings in many courses that use the book.
An editorial board headed by Bob Glushko and Vivien Petras is being assembled to manage the continued evolution of TDO as a useful resource for the iSchools community.
The iSchools may assemble an analogous editorial board to evaluate further submissions to the Resources collection to ensure their quality and relevance to the iSchools community.
Berlin, Germany. Major award for Berlin: The Berlin University Alliance has won funding as a group in the Universities of Excellence funding line of the German federal and state governments’ Excellence Strategy.
The German Council of Science and Humanities announced the decision on July 19, 2019, in Bonn. The four Berlin partners – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (where the iSchool Berlin School of Library and Information Science is located), Technische Universität Berlin and Charité (the medical school jointly owned by FU and HU) -- submitted a common proposal entitled "Crossing Boundaries toward an Integrated Research Environment" and in a highly competitive process were able to convince the reviewers of its feasibility.
As of November 1, 2019, they will receive up to 196 million euros at first over a seven-year period. The Berlin Senate will contribute an additional 6 million euros annually through the Einstein Foundation Berlin to support top-level appointments and research projects.
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A $5 million gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will enable the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to launch a new research center focused on evaluating the impact of the internet, social media, and other forms of digital information sharing on society and politics. The UNC iSchool is lead partner in this new endeavor. The funding is part of a broader Knight Foundation initiative that is investing nearly $50 million for research around technology’s impact on democracy.
At Carolina, Knight Foundation funding will help establish the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP). The UNC iSchool is lead partner in this new endeavor, but CITAP will foster interdisciplinary research and exchange across the UNC campus and beyond. An additional $750,000 contribution from Luminate and $600,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will further accelerate and expand the center’s impact.
“CITAP capitalizes on the fact that Carolina is home to some of the nation’s leading communication, information, journalism, and legal scholars, as well as highly regarded centers focused on media law and innovation and sustainability in local media,” said Gary Marchionini, dean of the iSchool at UNC-Chapel Hill. “We envision the center as a crucible for ideas and a living laboratory for understanding the core information needs of American democracy and other socio-political systems.”
Read the full story on the UNC iSchool website.
Professor Judit Bar-Ilan passed away on July 16, 2019. Professor Bar-Ilan was born in 1958, and most recently worked in the Department of Information Science at Bar-Ilan University, where she served as head of department for several years. Her research interests included internet research, information retrieval and informatics.
Professor Bar-Ilan received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1989. She received the Derek de Solla Price Memorial Medal in 2017 from the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics, and the Association for Information Science & Technology Research in Information Science Award in 2018. She served as a member of the editorial boards of Scientometrics, Cybermetrics, Online Information Review, Journal of Informetrics, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and PLoS One.
Professor Bar-Ilan was a vibrant and valued member of the information science community, and she will be sincerely missed. We offer condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.
The Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) is making strides in addressing the country’s historically low K-12 school attendance through the implementation of a multi-year education development strategy that focuses on education quality. However, many of the underlying causes of low school attendance by Kyrgyz youth do not have immediate solutions, such as poverty, disabilities, and remote rural locations.
The University of Maryland College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) is helping Kyrgyzstan find solutions to these access-to-education challenges by leveraging a perhaps unlikely resource - the country’s public libraries.
Dr. Mega Subramaniam, a Fulbright Specialist from the UMD iSchool and internationally renowned youth library programming expert, visited Kyrgyzstan this past spring to provide support to the National Children’s Library of Kyrgyzstan in leveraging local public libraries to help address educational disparities among Kyrgyz youth, particularly in impoverished and remote communities.
Kyrgyz libraries are working hard to develop programs for early-childhood education, education for youth with disabilities and their caregivers, family learning, youth digital skills development, and much more. While they are making great strides, they have run into barriers with inadequate space, funds, and training for staff.
Dr. Subramaniam, with expertise in developing youth programming in the United States (US) for libraries and communities faced with similar challenges, introduced concepts of design thinking and connected learning that require minimal resources while also building capacity. For instance, leveraging youth peer mentors, implementing digital literacy and STEM learning tools that require little funding, space, or staff supervision, and leveraging partnerships with local communities and industries to help engage youth in the library programs.
Dr. Subramaniam illustrated implementation of these concepts through examples of her work with US libraries to support marginalized youth. For instance, a partnership between the Providence Public Library and Nordstrom to teach youth about merchandising and marketing – and a Washington DC Public Library computational thinking program for children and their families that does not require using any technology tools. She was also interested to learn about some of the extremely innovative ways that Kyrgyz libraries are already leveraging resources, such as a partnership with a brewery that helps fund the rental of athletic fields throughout one city. She found that youth in the impacted communities are so inspired by the role libraries are playing, or are beginning to play, that there is a surge of interest in librarianship careers.
Dr. Subramaniam is currently developing a study abroad program so that UMD students can visit Kyrgyzstan and experience first-hand how these libraries are doing a lot with so little, and also provide assistance to the libraries in designing, implementing, and evaluating youth programs.
Read this story in its entirety on the UMD iSchool website.
University of Illinois Provost Andreas C. Cangellaris has announced the appointment of Dr. Eunice E. Santos as dean of the School of Information Sciences, effective August 16, 2019, pending approval by the University’s Board of Trustees.
Santos currently serves as the Ron Hochsprung Endowed Chair and Professor, and department chair of computer science, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. She is an accomplished scholar and researcher whose expertise includes computational social science, with an appreciation for the social and human aspects of the information sciences. Her recent research focuses on using computationally intensive methods to understand the behavior of social networks and communities. This work has led to insights related to community resilience, disaster response, and belief and opinion change.
“As a member of the search committee, I was very impressed with Dr. Santos and her vision for the iSchool as a leader both among colleges at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and among our peer schools nationally and internationally,” said Professor Emerita Linda Smith, former Illinois iSchool executive associate dean. “Just as our School’s founder Katharine Sharp came from the Armour Institute (predecessor of Illinois Tech) to establish a pioneering library science program at Illinois, Dr. Santos’ appointment as iSchool dean promises to sustain our leadership into the twenty-first century.”
Santos takes over the leadership role from Dean Allen Renear, who has been an instrumental leader in the iSchools Organization for many years. Renear will return to a faculty role at the Illinois iSchool.
Santos will bring an impressive professional portfolio to the Illinois iSchool, with successful experience in strategic planning, academic program development, and community outreach initiatives. She will continue the School’s excellence in educating information professionals and advancing the broad application of information and technology in science, liberal arts, society, and other sectors. Her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will reinforce the values of librarianship that serve as the iSchool’s foundation.
At Illinois Tech, Santos focuses on growth, leadership, and partnership. Her accomplishments include furthering robust research programs and curricula in a multidisciplinary environment; supporting diverse groups of faculty by providing mentoring and service opportunities; and acting as an influential voice for her department, which has led to the awarding of external funding from agencies, foundations, and donors.
The appointment of Santos marks the only woman to currently serve as dean among schools ranked in the top ten for library and information studies by U.S. News & World Report.
“This is an extremely exciting opportunity for our School to further advance our global leadership in the information sciences and more fully realize our mission in the world. Dr. Santos is an inventive, committed scholar and an exceptionally creative and entrepreneurial academic leader; there is no one better prepared to lead our rapidly growing School and ensure that we engage the challenges that face our society,” said Dean and Professor Allen Renear.
Santos was selected by a search committee with strong representation from the iSchool. Members included Professor James D. Anderson, dean of the College of Education and committee chair; Heather Clay, executive director of advancement in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement; and the following iSchool individuals: Professor Emerita Linda C. Smith (MS ’72); Professor and Associate Dean for Research J. Stephen Downie; Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Jana Diesner; Associate Professor and BS/IS Program Director Emily Knox (MS ’03); Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Meg Edwards (MS ’04); and Kirstin Phelps (iSchool doctoral candidate).
This story can be read in its entirety on the Illinois iSchool website.
The Department of Library, Information and Archives (DLIA) at Shanghai University has joined the iSchools organization. Shanghai’s application was approved by the iSchools board in July of 2019, and is now a full member of the iSchools association of more than 100 leading information schools worldwide.
Located in Shanghai, China, the Shanghai University DLIA was founded in 1978. While it initially had only an undergraduate program, the school has since added master’s and Ph.D. programs. Today the school has 35 permanent professors, 120 undergraduate students, 250 master’s students, and 24 Ph.D. candidates. The school is headed by Professor Bo Jin.
The Shanghai iSchool’s significant research areas include the following: Cultural Heritage and Digital Memory; Competitive Intelligence; Archive Information; Digital Humanities; and Data Science.
The Shanghai iSchool has initially opted to support the iSchools at the Basic level. The iSchools have five levels of membership ranging from Basic up to iCaucus, and each member school is encouraged to select the level that best reflects their circumstances and support for the organization.
The iSchools organization is pleased to announce that the Kyushu University Graduate School of Integrated Frontier Sciences is now recognized as a full member of the organization at the Basic level. The Kyushu iSchool first joined the iSchools association of more than 100 information schools in 2018 as an Associate member, and the school recently petitioned the iSchools board of directors for full membership. That request was granted in early July of 2019.
The Kyushu iSchool is located in Fukuoka, Japan and is headed by Dean Professsor Kazunori Shidoji; the school’s iSchools representative is Dr. Emi Ishita.
The iSchools Associate level is for schools that are new or may not meet the requirements for other levels. Associate members are invited to petition for full membership when their circumstances so warrant. Once full membership is granted, each iSchool may choose the membership level that it feels best represents their relationship with the organization.
The School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. The deadline for nominations is October 5, 2019.
Given annually, the award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or a long-term interest in and dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom.
The Downs Award was established in 1969 by the Illinois iSchool’s faculty to honor Dean Emeritus Robert B. Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on the occasion of his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the School.
Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO Publishing Company, provides an honorarium to the Downs Award recipient and co-hosts the reception held in honor of the recipient. The reception and award ceremony for the 2019 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award will take place on January 25, 2020, during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.
Previous winners have included the Iowa Library Association (2018) for taking a leadership role in several highly visible challenges to intellectual freedom; The Kansas City Public Library (2017) for its defense of library patron’s First Amendment rights; Wendy Campbell (2016) for her work in increasing cultural awareness in her community; HP Kids Read (2015) for its work in support of freedom to read at the Highland Park (TX) High School; the staff and board of trustees of the Orland Park (IL) Public Library (2014) for the defense of their policy to not filter adult Internet access in the library; and DaNae Leu (2013) for her efforts to keep a controversial picture book on the shelves of her elementary school library.
More information and nomination instructions can be found on the Award website.
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