The Schools organization is preparing to release the i-4-G database to our global membership. This searchable resource will make research conducted at our members schools more visible, and also enable specialists worldwide to identify viable research partners within our member-network. Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this new member benefit exemplifies our commitment to fostering global collaboration across the organization. The database is projected to be operational starting in fall/winter 2021.
i-4-G stands for iSchools for a Globalized World. The database is being constructed based on interviews with the information schools that make up our worldwide membership. Participation in these interviews is voluntary, and they are managed regionally. In Europe they are managed by Vivian Petras of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in North America by Gary Marchionini of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and in our Asia/Pacific region by Lihong Zhou of Wuhan University.
When the database becomes available later this year, researchers at members schools can use it to showcase their work and search for potential collaborators within their region and around the world. For example, consider a researcher with a background in social anthropology now focusing on algorithm information ethics. As part of her investigation into patterns of representation of social inequalities in newspaper copora and how these are reproduced by self-learning systems and in indexing algorithms, this researcher could use the i-4-G database to identify and contact researchers around the world in these subject areas. At the same time, the database lets her make her specific research field more globally visible.
The i-4-G database project has origins in an internal membership study conducted several years ago by the iSchools. Following a presentation of preliminary results, representatives of the prestigious Mellon Foundation recognized the study’s global potential and asked the organization to submit a grant proposal to expand the project. The subsequent grant funded the development of this new member benefit, and the iSchools are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their support.
All iSchools members were sent invitations to take part in the development of the database, and to this point approximately 70 percent have consented to be interviewed. Our goal is universal participation, and if your school has not yet participated, we urge you to contact us.