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New offerings and opportunities at iConference 2019; deadlines coming soon


Each year, the iConference offers something new for information scholars and professionals. But iConference 2019 has upped the ante, with an unprecedented number of new and updated tracks scheduled to take place in Washington DC, March 31 – April 3. When these new offerings are combined with perennial favorites such as Research Papers, Posters, Workshops, Sessions for Interaction and Engagement, Doctoral Colloquium and more, iConference 2019 will truly offer something for everyone in the information field.

Here’s a quick look at what’s in store for 2019.

Blue Sky Papers
In addition to our existing Research Papers track (due Sept. 10), the iConference is introducing a new Blue Sky Papers track for 2019. Track chairs Kevin Crowston and John King are seeking papers that present ideas and visions that stimulate the iSchool research community to pursue new directions, and are particularly interested in papers that identify what sets iSchools apart from others.

“The Blue Sky track was inspired by the desire to push the frontiers of the information space,” says King. “We hope to receive thoughtful ideas about where the information fields are or should be headed, and in particular, things that are of special interest to the information fields.”

According to Crowston, the “Blue Sky” title was chosen in hopes of soliciting ideas that are open-ended, possibly even “outrageous” or “wacky.” Travel grants in the amount of $1,000, $750 and $500 will be given to the authors of the best three Blue Sky Papers, respectively, thanks to a grant from the Computer Research Association (CRA).

Blue Sky Paper submissions are due Oct. 1, 2018. Click here for more details.

Undergraduate Symposium
The iConference has always welcomed undergraduate participation, but iConference 2019 is taking that a step further with the new Undergraduate Symposium. “This event is the first time that the undergraduate participants have a formal venue for networking and professional development at the iConference,” says Yubo Kou, who is co-chairing the Symposium along with Matthew Bietz.

The Undergraduate Symposium will be a half-day networking and professional development opportunity taking place Saturday, March 30, which is the day before iConference 2019 formally begins. Undergraduate applicants must apply in advance and be accepted into the Symposium in order to participate. The application deadline is October 1, 2018.

“We expect participants to come away with better ideas and more information about their career paths in the information field,” says Kou. “They will also obtain networking opportunities with other undergraduate students and faculty. A benefit of holding the Symposium the day before the conference is that it will also help participants develop a fuller understanding of the iConference and navigate the iConference in a more effective manner in the following days.”

Click here for details on how to apply for the 2019 Undergraduate Symposium.

Early Career Colloquium
The Early Career Colloquium has been an integral part of the iConference for many years. But this year we are taking steps to make it an even more targeted and meaningful experience.

For the first time, would-be participants are being asked to apply for the Colloquium in advance, with all applications due Sept. 10, 2018. Track Chairs Hamid R. Ekbia and Dick Kawooya will select participants who they feel will most benefit from the Colloquium based on their career position, needs and potential. The change was inspired in part by conference participant feedback spanning many years. Space will be limited in order to provide a more targeted overall experience.

Click here for details on how to apply for the 2019 Early Career Colloquium.

iSchool Partnerships and Practices
Originally introduced at iConference 2017, these sessions showcase iSchool-members’ practices and strategies as well as their collaborative activities with industry partners and other non-academic actors. Formerly offered separately as iSchool Best Practices and iSchools and Industry Partnerships, the two tracks have now been combined into a single iSchool Partnerships and Practices track. All iSchool member-institutions are invited to submit proposals and case studies to be considered for inclusion in this special program. Click here for details.

Research Papers
The most significant change to this track was actually introduced at iConference 2018 and is being carried on in 2019: All accepted research papers are now published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science, and therefore be indexed by major services such as Web of Science and Scopus.

iConference Research Papers are divided into two categories. The Full Research Papers category remains relatively unchanged from previous years, focusing on new and original research results from empirical investigations and experiments, or from theory and model development.

The other papers category has been updated for 2019. Officially renamed Short Papers, the information community is encouraged to use this category to present new, provocative, and cross-cutting themes. The papers chairs expect short papers to provide more focused and succinct contributions to the research program than did the early work/preliminary results category of previous years. Authors wishing to present preliminary work are encouraged to explore the Posters track, or perhaps even the Blue Sky Papers track.

“The slight change in the iConference 2019 papers call is meant to attract high quality research submissions that are full archival quality (on par with a journal submission), or more succinct submissions that are narrower in scope, but equal in quality and potential impact,” says Nicholas Weber, who chairs the track along with Aleksandra Sarcevic. “We encourage authors to take advantage of both formats – the shorter more focused submissions are an excellent opportunity to experiment and try out ideas amongst iSchool peers.”

Click here for details on iConference Research Papers submissions.

Submission Deadlines Approaching Fast
The iConference is currently accepting submissions on its secure submission website. September 10 is the deadline for Research Papers, Posters, Workshop proposals, Doctoral Colloquium applications and Early Career Colloquium applications.

October 1 is the deadline for all remaining tracks, including Blue Sky Papers, SIE proposals, iSchool Partnerships and Practices proposals, Undergraduate Symposium applications and Doctoral Dissertation Award nominations.

About the iConference
iConference 2019 will take place March 31 – April 3, 2019, in Washington DC under the banner theme “Inform | Include | Inspire.” The event is presented by the iSchool at the University of Maryland, College Park in collaboration with Syracuse University iSchool and the iSchool at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The iConference is open to any and all information scholars and researchers, regardless of institutional affiliation.

An annual presentation of the iSchools organization since 2005, the iConference brings together scholars and researchers from around the world to examine critical information issues in contemporary society. An openness to new ideas and research fields in information science is a primary characteristics of the event. Attendance has grown every year; participants appreciate the inspiring sense of community, high quality research presentations, and myriad opportunities for engagement and networking. Click here to access past proceedings and conference summaries.