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iConference 2021 Registration opened today, Dec. 15, 2020, with discounted early rates available through Feb. 9. Register now to secure the discounted rates. Get full details on our website or go straight to ConfTool to register with your ConfTool user account.
Also today, decision notifications were issued for all conference tracks with the exception of Chinese Papers and the Doctoral Dissertation Award, which will be announced later. The chairs report being impressed with the overall quality of this year’s submissions and look forward to presenting a high-quality program. iConference 2021 will take place online March 17-31, and the complete program schedule will be made available in early January.
If you are an author/submitter who did not receive a notification, we suggest first checking your junk mailbox, and if you find nothing there you can send a message to the appropriate track chairs listed on our 2021 Organizers webpage.
iConference 2021 will be a virtual event, with all sessions and presentations taking place online. Registration fees are the lowest in iConference history, with early rates of $260 regular, $125 student, and a special scholarship rate for students with an accepted submission. During registration, participants will be offered the opportunity to sign up for up to two Workshops; click here for an overview of this year’s Workshops.
iConference 2021 is presented by the iSchools organization and hosted by Renmin University of Beijing, China. This year’s theme is Diversity | Divergence | Dialogue. Visit the iConference home page to learn more.
Applications for the inaugural IDEA (Innovation, Disruption, Enquiry, Access) Institute on Artificial Intelligence (AI) are now being sought. The Institute is seeking library and information professionals holding full-time positions in U.S. institutions interested in enhancing and applying their knowledge of AI in their workplace, to participate in the Institute.
Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the IDEA Institute offers one-week of intensive learning and practical experience in AI applications in library and information environments. The first Institute will be held at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville on July 10-16, 2021 (dates are tentative, pending COVID-19 circumstances).
Fifteen IMLS-funded Fellows will have their Institute expenses covered (housing, meals and program fee) and will only be responsible for the cost of their transportation.
Would-be participants can register for a virtual information session to learn more about this opportunity on January 12, 2021, 1pm ET.
Visit the IDEA Institute website for more details.
The first installment in the iSchools European Doctoral Dissertation Seminar series took place on Friday, Dec. 16, 2020. More than 60 attendees took part.
The program included a presentation by Alexander Frumment of the University of Regensburg, who used cooking to illustrate his research on conversational search, and also a presentation by Sylvain Daronnat of the University of Strathclyde, who examined the evolution of trust, reliance, cognitive load and task performance in a game-like framework. Videos of both presentions are available here.
A new presentation of the iSchools organization, the European Doctoral Dissertation Seminar series is an ongoing presentation of Zoom seminars in which European doctoral students give one-hour presentations on their work and answer questions. While the primary emphasis of the series is European doctoral students, any iSchool doctoral student may attend these sessions.
Watch the iSchools events calendar for announcements of upcoming installments in the series.
The latest addition to the iSchools Leadership Blog is an interview with Steven Miller, dean-emeritus and provost of Singapore Management University.
In his 27-minute presentation, Miller discusses the latest insights in learning science and presents a tutorial on learning that covers a wide spectrum of perspectives and strategies.
Visit the iSchools Leadership Blog webpage to access this and other videos from leaders in the information community.
The iSchools organisation has initiated a series of Zoom seminars in which European doctoral students give one-hour presentations on their work and answer questions. The first installment of the European iSchools Doctoral Seminars Series takes place Friday, December 11, starting at 14:00 CET.
While the primary emphasis of the series is European doctoral students, any iSchool doctoral student may attend. The 2-hour seminar on Dec. 11 will feature the following speakers:
Alexander Frummett, lecturer and Ph.D. student at the Department for Information Science in Regensburg, Germany. Frumment’s presentation focuses on conversational search, and the need to understand a user’s underlying information needs when they converse in diverse systems. Frummentt intriguingly uses the domain of cooking as the basis of his illustration.
Sylvain Daronnat, Ph.D. student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. Daronnat's work focuses on HCI with a specific interest on game-research and user studies. In his talk, he will demonstrate how he used a simple game-like framework to study the evolution of trust, reliance, cognitive load and task performance when agents display different behaviours and levels of performance.
Doctoral students interested in taking part should contact iSchools European Region Chair Peter Bath. More details on this event and also future installments in the European Doctoral Seminar Series can be found in the iSchools Events Calendar.
The organizers of iConference 2021 have announced their slate of Workshops for the upcoming virtual confernce. A detailed list is provided below.
iConference 2021 is hosted by Renmin University of China and will take place online during the two-week span of March 17 – 31, 2021. While past iConferences have presented all workshops on the same day, this year’s extended 2-week schedule will allow the organizers to spread out all six workshops so they do not conflict.
Conference participants will sign up for workshops when they complete their online registration. iConference 2021 registration will open in mid-December 2020. Decisions notifications for all remaining conference tracks will be released at that time.
Workshop #1: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Science of Science and Computational Discovery: Principles, Applications, and Future Opportunities
Organizers: Daniel Acuna, Syracuse University; Tong Zeng, Nanjing University; Han Zhuang, Syracuse University; Lizhen Liang, Syracus University
Understanding knowledge boundaries, proposing innovative ideas, and producing correct results have become increasingly more competitive in science. Most of these steps rely on colleagues, mentors, and peers. This reliance on humans might not be sustainable because of the growing number of people and ideas entering science. Recent datasets of the scientific enterprise (e.g., full-text publications, citations) offer unprecedented opportunities to solve this scalability issue by using Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These fields can help Science of Science (SciSci) and Computational Discovery (CD) understand and automate parts of the scientific process. In this workshop, we propose to 1) introduce participants to principles of modern ML and AI, including supervised, unsupervised, and semi-supervised learning, and 2) survey how these techniques are currently used in SciSci and CD. In the end, participants will have a well-rounded understanding of the opportunities and challenges that ML and AI offer. All information about the workshop can be found at https://scienceofscience.org/workshops/
Workshop #2: AI + Informetrics: Multi-disciplinary Interactions in the Era of Big Data
Organizers: Yi Zhang, University of Technology Sydney; Chengzhi Zhang, Nanjing University of Science and Technology; Philipp Mayr, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences; Arho Suominen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Tampere University
Inspired by the increasing interactions between informetrics and artificial intelligence (AI) for handling challenges raised from multiple disciplines – e.g., bibliometric-enhanced information retrieval, intelligent bibliometrics, digital library applications, and decision support for science, technology & innovation (ST&I), this workshop is to engage broad audiences to exchange their ideas, concepts, models, and applications in this cutting-edge area, identify research frontiers and emerging topics by incorporating advantages of cross-disciplines, and prompt multi-disciplinary collaboration. This workshop consists of keynotes, oral presentations, and panel discussion, and would attract interests from not only academic researchers and librarians but also decision makers from governments and practical sectors. More information can be addressed on the website: https://ai-informetrics.github.io/, and any enquires please email to Dr. Yi Zhang.
Please note tthat organizers of Workshop #2 have issued a Call for Papers; visit their webpage for details
Workshop #3: Supporting and Engaging Diverse and Socially Vulnerable Populations with Technology Adoption Amid COVID-19
Organizers: Xiaojun Yuan, University at Albany; DeeDee Bennett Gayle, University at Albany; Elisabeth Dubois, University at Albany; Dan Wu, Wuhan University
Due to inequities in society, certain populations have faced barriers to education and access to resources, which has been accentuated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These socially vulnerable populations often include underserved and marginalized groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many inequities and challenges for said populations especially in regards to technology. Due to the inequities present prior to the pandemic and especially in the face of recovery from the pandemic, a fresh perspective is needed. The workshop will provide a forum for people to discuss key issues and lessons learned on technology adoption among socially vulnerable population during COVID-19. By definition socially vulnerable populations may differ from region to region. In the United States, those often marginalized and underserved include people with disabilities, certain racial and ethnic minorities, older adults, and children, among several other. In general, these populations tend to face disproportionate difficulties before, during, and after major disasters. This multidisciplinary workshop will facilitate lively discussions on the implications of these challenges from a variety of disciplines across an international environment.
Workshop #4: The Information and Contemplation Salon
Organizers: Roger Chabot, University of Western Ontario; Tim Gorichanaz, Drexel University; Jenna Hartel, University of Toronto; Kiersten Latham, Michigan State University; Hugh Samson, University of Toronto; Madison Stoner, University of Toronto
This hands-on workshop invites participants to entertain the merits of "contemplation" as a new frontier for the iSchool community. Founding members of the Information and Contemplation Salon - a virtual research group - will introduce concepts at the crossroads of information and contemplation, each serving as a point of departure for dynamic discussion that is then encapsulated and experienced through a virtual activity. Topics include: the emerging discipline of Contemplative Studies; Contemplation as Information Behaviour; The Tree of Contemplative Practices; Contemplative Infrastructure; and Intellectual Humility. This workshop will be offered in the spirit of Contemplative Pedagogy, which honors an egalitarian, holistic, and uplifting learning environment. Participants will be gently immersed in an alternative universe of information-related concepts and leave with a new perspective.
Workshop #5: Navigating through the Panoply of Provenance Metadata Standards
Organizers: Rhiannon Bettivia, Simmons University; Jessica Yi-Yun Cheng, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Michael Robert Gryk, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The following provenance models and metadata standards will be discussed and evaluated using real-world research data provided by the organizers. Emphasis will be placed on highlighting the strengths and capabilities of each model, as well as shortcomings of any individual model which are handled by one or more of the others. The morning session will cover the models while the afternoon session will provide hands-on cross-walking exercises to explore the modeling differences in greater depth.
Workshop #6: Understanding the big data in emergency management: agenda for future research
Organizers: Ming Ren, Renmin University of China; Ziqi Zhang, University of Sheffield; Guozhi Li, Beijing Jianghe RichWay Technology Development; Xianhua Wu, Shanghai Maritime University; Jun Zhang, University of Sheffield
Big data are playing a more and more important role in the lifecycle of emergency management. The workshop aims to develop a deep understanding of the multi-dimensional disparate data sources used in the emergency management and identify key trends that inform future research agendas and practices. Through two talks and a group discussion session, it is hoped to strengthen a multidisciplinary network consisting of academic researchers, practitioners and policy makers with interest and/or involvement in the intersection of big data and emergency management.
Visit the iConference home page for the latest updates. Confernce registration will open in mid-December.
In an interview published on the Rutgers iSchool website, corporate librarian Beth Rizzotti offers advice to students on the business side of corporate librarianship and the value of knowing how information is collected, organized and disseminated.
Rizzotti earned her Master’s of Library Science at the Rutgers School of Communication & Information in 1991. While a graduate student, she took an internship that developed into a full-time position which in turn led to a decades-long career with her current employer, Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). Having this experience prompts Rizzotti to advise students to start networking from their very first day at school.
Over the course of her career, Rizzotti’s roles progressed from assistant librarian to librarian to managing the information center. Today, she’s on LHH’s global operations leadership team. Although Rizzotti wears lots of different hats, she still manages their library. “That remains my very favorite part of the job. I identify as a librarian; my heart is still there.”
Rizzotti spends time each day leading and managing projects: “One of the things you really get out of the program is a solid and deep understanding of how information is collected, organized, and disseminated. We know about databases and information, and we also know about people. We learn how people seek information, how they consume information, and how they use it and take action upon it.”
It has been her experience that this skill is often missing in the corporate setting. “Companies spend a lot of time creating digital tools but they struggle to create tools that people will adopt and use to achieve their business goals. Librarians have the skills to be in the middle between the users and the creators of these products, helping to ensure that the digital tools created are used, generate actionable insights, and meet the business needs. We also know how to manage vendors. We’re used to buying information services. We understand how licenses work and that translates very well on a larger scale in a corporate setting. That’s valuable to companies.”
Stressing the importance of data science, Rizzotti said, “The data science skillset is incredibly valuable in the market today. Refine your skills in predictive analytics, taxonomies, and metadata. We cannot hire people quickly enough that have these skills. If you have the opportunity to take advantage of these courses while you’re [in school], I recommend you do that. You don’t need to know how to code or program (although it’s great if you do), but you need to be able to talk to the people who do.”
As for current students, Rizzotti offered her advice on these topics:
Communication: Know how to present a business case. Have the confidence to be able to communicate very effectively from the executive suite on down to whoever’s at your reference desk—in writing, on video, and verbally.
Work: If you can work while you’re learning, even on a volunteer basis in a library or corporate information setting, you’ll start to use the skills you’re learning in a practical, hands-on way.
Profile: If you want to pursue work in a business library, it’s critical that your LinkedIn profile is polished and reflects who you are, what your skill set is, and what value you can bring.
Networking: You’d be very surprised at where your job opportunity comes from. Talk to people. Have an elevator story about who you are and what you think you want to do when you graduate.
Life beyond the library: Once you are inside an organization, insert yourself and try to get a seat at the table. Do informational interviews. Ask people in other parts of the business what they do, try to figure out how you could bring value to their work, and try to position yourself as a solution provider. When they see you that way, your career opportunities will go well beyond what you imagine today.
The last of our iConference 2021 deadlines is Monday, Nov. 2. This is the last day to submit Student Symposium applications and nominations for the iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award.
The iConference Student Symposium is special event undergraduate and master’s students. During this extended virtual event, students will receive insight on their current studies and useful guidance on career direction. For students who have never attended an academic conference, the Student Symposium can serve as an excellent introduction this sort of event.
Accepted applicants will receive a discounted conference registration rate. Visit the Student Symposium webpage for details.
The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes the most outstanding dissertation of the preceding academic year from throughout the iSchools organization. The competition is open to all iSchools members at any membership level. To encourage worldwide participation, dissertations may be submitted in any language, although the accompanying nomination material should be in English.
The winner and runner up will receive cash prizes. Visit the Doctoral Dissertation Award webpage for details. Information about our past winners can be found here.
iConference 2021 is hosted by Renmin University and presented by the iSchools organization. The all-virtual conference will take place online in the last two weeks of March. Reviews are currently in process, and decisions will be announced in mid-December; conference registration will also open at that time.
On Oct. 26, 2020, representatives of the iSchools organization met with representatives of Information Schools at African universities for the first-ever iSchools Africa Day. The virtual session allowed these schools to learn more about the iSchools mission and goals, as well as guidance on how to apply for membership.
At this time, the iSchools organization consists of Information Schools at 117 institutions worldwide. This includes The College of Computing and Information Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda. It is hoped that events like iSchools Africa Day will encourage and enable more schools from the continent to join the iSchools organization, and benefit from the mutual support and sharing of best-practices that comes with membership.
A similar event is planned soon for South America. More information on iSchools South America Day will be posted to the iSchools Events Calendar when available.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded Jingrui He, associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, a two-year $319,568 grant to study how the risk of foreign influence on news media can be mitigated. Her project, “Towards a Computational Framework for Disinformation Trinity: Heterogeneity, Generation, and Explanation,” will lead to a new suite of algorithms and software tools to detect, predict, generate, and understand disinformation dissemination. Hanghang Tong, associate professor of computer science at Illinois, will serve as co-principal investigator.
“As the 2020 decade unfolds, there is great optimism on what technology will emerge and how it can make daily life easier. However, the greater the technology, the greater risk foreign influence can have on that technology,” He said.
For her project, He will study foreign influence via the lens of disinformation on news media from a computational perspective. She will use Explainable Heterogeneous Adversarial Machine Learning (EXHALE) to address the limitations of current techniques in terms of comprehension, characterization, and explainability.
Read more on the Illinois iSchool website.
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