UMD iSchool alumnus elected ALA president

 

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.

 

iConference 2019 a rousing success; planning now underway for upcoming conferences in Sweden and China

 

iConference 2019 drew nearly 600 participants to the Washington DC area, making it the best-attended conference in our 14-year-old series. iConference 2019 was hosted by the University of Maryland iSchool, and took place March 31 – April 30. We urge participants to watch their inbox for our follow-up survey invitation.

For those seeking information on this recently concluded conference, our iConference 2019 Summary provides exhaustive conference details, including links to past proceedings, organizer names, program information, award winners, and myriad conference artifacts. Click here for details.

Our next event is iConference 2020, which takes place March 23 – 26, 2020 in Borås, Sweden. Co-hosted by the iSchools at the University of Borås and Oslo Metropolitan University, the conference theme is Sustainable Digital Communities. Watch for our CFP to be released in the coming weeks.

The iSchools are also very pleased to announce that the iConference will return to China the following year, where iConference 2021 will be hosted by the iSchool at Renmin University of China, located in Beijing. It will be the second iConference to be hosted in Asia.

 

UMD iSchool professor receives Google faculty research award

 

Dr. Jonathan Lazar, professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, has received a Google Faculty Research Award for the next academic year. Dr. Lazar’s Google faculty research award focuses on the development of new metrics for use in automated accessibility testing tools, for more accurately measuring web accessibility in large organizations. Dr. Lazar is the Associate Director of the Trace Research and Development Center at the Unviersity of Maryland, the nation’s oldest center on disability and technology.

The Google Faculty Research Awards provide funding for a graduate student to work on one cutting-edge research project for an entire year. The awards include a broad set of computer science research areas, including Algorithms and Optimization, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Retrieval and Real-Time Content, Machine Learning and Data Mining, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and much more.

Read more on the UMD website.

 

UMD iSchool alumus becomes NASA Goddard’s first-ever archivist

 

UMD iSchool MLIS alumnus Holly McIntyre has been named archivist of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of 11 NASA centers. NASA Goddard was established 60 years ago, and McIntyre is its first archivist, meaning she starts out with a considerable backlog of materials to be collected, organized and securely stored.

Although NASA keeps permanent materials in the National Archives (NARA), according to McIntyre this only applies to the 1 to 3 percent of records created by government agencies that are considered permanent. “The rest is considered temporary and will be disposed of (after a certain amount of time),” says McIntyre. It’s McIntyre’s job to separate Goddards’s created records into three categories: these permanent records, temporary, and non-record. Temporary material includes working records that allow someone to do their job. These might be copies of permanent series, or different versions that aren’t necessarily the final version. Non-record material is anything that is ephemeral: posters given out to employees, stickers, pins, personal photographs, etc. The Goddard Archives’ holdings are compiled of historically significant temporary and non-record material.

Who uses the Goddard Archives? “The first group would be people working here – like scientists and engineers who may want to see their own history so that they can build on the legacy that came before them,” says McIntrye. “The second group are members of the Goddard center who want to see culturally important or historically significant records. And finally, space historians, researchers, and students.”

McIntyre worked at NARA while she was an MLS student. Soon after graduating, she started working with special media in the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Unit. Because she was working with “special media,” she was able to do all parts of the archival process: appraisal, accessioning, processing, etc. NASA was one of the agencies she did appraisal and accessioning for.

Creating an archive from the ground up is a constant learning experience. When she was first starting out, McIntyre contacted other centers with archives to see what they were doing and what their records look like compared to her records. She needed “to start learning what a science archives looks like, not to be confused with data centers that take raw data that come down from space.”

Click here to read the full story on the UMD iSchool website.

 

USPS uses technology from UMD iSchool to improve automated kiosk accessibility

 

The United States Postal Service has a new version of its popular Automated Postal Center that includes an updated EZ Access keypad developed by the Trace Center at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. The keypad, along with software techniques developed by Trace, makes it possible for people with low vision, blindness, physical and cognitive disabilities to use touchscreen-based public systems.

The original Automated Postal Center (APC), which included an earlier version of EZ Access, won the 2004 Kiosk Award as “Best Retail Application.” Over 2,800 of the APC kiosks are deployed in post offices throughout the US.

Development of the keypad began in 1998, when the Trace Center began researching barriers to using touchscreens and self-service kiosks faced by people with varied abilities. Today, the keypads are used on kiosks at automated postal stations, Amtrak ticket machines, Homeland Security kiosks, airport check-in kiosks, museum and other information and transaction machines across the country.

Click here to read this story on the UMD iSchool website.

 

UMD iSchool theorist calls for research that is actionable rather than purely curiosity-driven

 

Human-computer interaction theorist Dr. Ben Shneiderman of the UMD College of Information Studies’ HCIL research lab is shaking up the research world by questioning the value of curiosity-driven research conducted in laboratories. “[In] our knowledge-rich, information-overloaded world, new models are needed…” he says.

With his Twin-Win Model of research, Dr. Schneiderman challenges the value of research that solely creates new knowledge. The Twin-Win Model contends that in this day and age, for new research to be impactful, it must be tied to actionable insights that can lead to societal benefits.

According to a recent UMD story written by Mia K. Hinckle, the Twin-Win Model theory is controversial as many researchers actively reject collaborations with businesses with the fear that it will taint the validity of their research or damage their academic credibility. However, Dr. Schneiderman argues that interdisciplinary ideas are not sufficient to achieve the goal of high research impact—that research must solve authentic, real-world problems and that partnerships with businesses or organizations provide a forum to identify these problems, test research, and disseminate actionable solutions.

Click here for more of this story on the UMD iSchool website.

 

UMD iSchool researcher questions AI used to interpret police body-cam video

 

Axon Enterprise, formerly known as Taser International, recently shifted its focus from stun guns to body-cam video following the killings of a number of unarmed black citizens by police. Researchers have followed Axon’s plans to build artificial intelligence systems, AI, to process, label and interpret police body-cam video and have now expressed doubts in an article published in IEEE Spectrum.

In the article, Dan Greene, assistant professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies and his colleague, Dr. Genevieve Patterson, a computer vision researcher, question the practicality of Axon’s strategy and the preparedness of Axon’s proposed AI capabilities.

The application of machine learning for the classification of police body-camera video has become a major flash point in the broader debate over whether proprietary software should be incorporated into the criminal-justice system. In their article, “The Trouble With Trusting AI to Interpret Police Body-Cam Video” Greene and Dr. Patterson discuss their concerns and also offer suggestions for how to manage technology that is on the horizon.

Click here to read this news story on the UMD webstie

 

UMD iSchool offers special participatory events immediately following iConference 2019

 

iConference 2019 host University of Maryland is holding a series of workshops and related events immediately following the conference. iConference 2019 attendees may want to extend their stay in Washington DC to take advantage of these thought-provoking opportunities.

More information and sign up instruction on these post-conference events can be found below. Please note that the sign-up process for these events is separate from iConference registration; these post-conference events do not appear in iConference 2019 registration sign-up.

Developing a Computational Framework for Library and Archival Education
April 3 – 4, 2019

UMD researchers and partners will hold an IMLS-funded workshop to create the building blocks of a Master’s level educational curriculum to educate the next generation of librarians and archivists in the computational treatments of collections. The 2-day workshop will be held on Wednesday afternoon on campus and Thursday in Washington D.C. at the National Museum of Natural History on the Mall. Project outputs will include a framework for creating curricula and lesson plans, open access tools for institutions to deliver this type of educational program, and a community development plan to seed future collaboration in this area.

UMD seeks the participation of interested iSchool educators and researchers and a short statement of interest as the Workshop has limited seating and is by invitation. UMD will reach back out to prospective participants after they have submitted this application form. Registration is free.

Human-Computer Interaction Lab 36th Annual Symposium
April 4th, 2019

The Human-Computer Interaction Lab at UMD has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. The HCIL Symposium will be held on Thursday April 4th, immediately following iConference. It will feature workshops, demos, tutorials and more. Click here for details on the HCIL website.

Disability Summit 2019
April 5, 2019

The 3rd Biennial University of Maryland Disability Summit will take place on Friday, April 5th, 2019. All panels and presentations will take place in McKeldin Library on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. Registration is free. Click here for more information

We encourage iConference 2019 attendees to look into these offerings before finalizing their iConference travel and lodging plans; you might want to extend your stay!

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. Sponsors include the Computing Research Association, Emerald Publishing, Elsevier and MDPI. 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 for details on all of our past conferences, including full proceedings and conference summaries.

 

iConference 2019 Registration Opens

 

iConference 2019 registration has officially opened, and participants can now begin making arrangements to attend our annual gathering of information scholars and professionals. iConference 2019 takes place March 31 – April 3, 2019 in Washington DC. Discounted early rates are available through January 21. Click here to register today.

iConference 2019 will take place at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, and we’ve reserved a discounted block of rooms for conference participants. Visit our venue page for details on this specially priced lodging. Our venue page also offers useful information on travel, visas and more.

iConference 2019 review decisions were issued Monday, Nov. 19. Email notifications have been sent to all submitters and co-authors, with the exception of the Doctoral Dissertation Award. Users can log into their ConfTool account to view decisions and feedback.

Monday also marked the close of the student volunteer application period. Applications are currently in review and decisions will be announced soon.

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. Sponsors include Emerald Publishing and Elsevier. 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 for details on all of our past conferences, including full proceedings and conference summaries.

 

UMD iSchool faculty honored by ACM; research grants announced

 

The University of Maryland College of Information Studies announces that Jennifer Golbeck, professor and director of the social intelligence lab, and Nicklas Elmqvist, associate professor at the UMD iSchool, have both been elevated to 2018 ACM Distinguished Members. Golbeck and Elmqvist were 2 of only 49 people selected in the world to receive the honorable ACM award this year. Learn more

In addition, the UMD iSchool has announced the winners of its September Research Improvement Grants (RIGs). Congratulations go out to Joel Chan, Kenyon Crowley, Ken Heger, Xiaoyun Huang, Philip Piety, and Diva Smriti. The RIGs program is a competitive internal grant program for improving research. The program supports and encourages individuals or teams of researchers to catalyze and mobilize larger scale research that extends beyond the iSchool. Learn more