iSchools at ALA Annual Conference


The iSchools organization will be well represented at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition, with many members exhibiting and making presentations. The ALA Conference takes place June 22-27 in Chicago.

The School of Information Sciences at Illinois will be represented in booth #4742 in the Exhibit Hall. Alumni and students are invited to attend the Alumni Reception and LSAA Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 25, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Petterino’s, 150 N. Dearborn. Click here for more about Illinois iSchool faculty presentations and other events.

The Syracuse University School of Information Studies will be represented in booth #4839. Syracuse will be participating in ALISE’s Library and Information Studies Cooperative Alumni Reunion on Sunday, June 25, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Swissotel, Alpine II room. Click here for more on Syracuse faculty sessions and presentations.

The Rutgers School of Information and Communication will have representatives on hand in booth #4942. Rutgers iSchool faculty will also be supporting the ALISE/LIS Cooperative Alumni Reunion on Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, Room Edelweiss. Click here for details about Rutgers participation in the event.

Representatives of the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science will be in booth #4740. Alumni and students are invited to a free reception on Saturday, June 24, 5:30 p.m. at Tapas Valencia. Visit the Simmons iSchool website for more information.

Attendees can meet with a representative of the Department of Information Studies at University College London in booth 4734. Click here for details.

The University of Washington Information School will be on hand in booth #4739.

Alumni and friends of the University of Michigan School of Information are invited to attend a reception on Thursday, June 22 from 5:00-6:30 pm at the 676 Restaurant in the Chicago Omni Hotel.


Popular University of Washington Course Calls “Bull” on Big Data


The University of Washington is not-so-subtly questioning Big Data. Its 10-week seminar “Calling BS in the Age of Big Data” explores how data is frequently misinterpreted to come up with bogus findings.

In a Seattle Times article titled, “We crashed UW’s class on calling BS. Here’s what we learned about sleuthing ‘big data,’ “ reporter Katherine Long showcases the popular UW lecture series by Information School professor Jevin West and Biology professor Carl Bergstrom, noting that similar courses are cropping up at institutions worldwide.

The article cites several examples the professors gave of misapplied Big Data. In one, a study purporting to discern criminality from photographed facial features actually turned out to be more of a mood detector, reflecting the fact that criminals don’t smile in mug shots.

The course title is intentionally provocative, to get attention—BS is American slang, roughly translating to bull scat. “We’re making it fun—making it entertaining, theatrical, to make it less intimidating,” West is quoted as saying.

Profanity aside, the overall takeaway is familiar to information professionals: It is one thing to collect Big Data, but quite another to analyze and use it correctly. The later is the expertise of the iSchools: connecting information, people and technology.

For those interested in more, the course syllabus is available online, as are YouTube videos of the seminars.


iSchools Announce 2017 Dissertation Award Honorees


The iSchools organization is pleased to announce the results of its 2017 Doctoral Dissertation Award competition. The winner is Dr. Rachel Ivy Clarke, for her dissertation, “It’s Not Rocket Library Science: Design Epistemology and American Librarianship.” Dr. Clarke’s dissertation, conducted at the University of Washington Information School, was judged the best to have been completed at a member-iSchool in the preceding academic year. The runner up was Dr. Jasy Liew Suet Yan for her dissertation titled, “Fine-Grained Emotion Detection in Microblog Text”; it was completed at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies.

The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding work in the information field. Nominations are solicited from all members of the iSchools organization, now more than 80 institutions worldwide, and judged by an award committee drawn from leading international schools. The winner receives a prize of $2,500 US, the runner up $1,000. Honorees are also offered a travel allowance so they can collect their award in person at iConference 2017, which takes place March 22-25, 2017, in Wuhan, China.

Dr. Rachel Ivy Clarke

2017 award winner Dr. Clarke is currently an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. She was formerly the cataloging librarian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She holds a BA in creative writing from California State University Long Beach, an MLIS from San Jose State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington Information School.

The award committee had the following to say about Dr. Clarke’s work: “This dissertation explores the role of design in American librarianship based on argument that design provides an appropriate epistemological framework for librarianship rather than traditional scientific epistemologies. It distills design principles and applies them to the critical analysis of three cases representing significant artifacts in library history. Examining the field of librarianship from the perspective of design epistemology reveals new insights and interpretations of library work. The reviewers agreed that the topic of this dissertation is novel and original and the findings provide significant implications for future library and information science education and library practice.”

Dr. Jasy Liew Suet Yan

2017 runner-up Dr. Jasy Liew Suet Yan is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computer Sciences, University of Science Malaysia. She graduated with a Ph.D. from the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University in 2016. Her dissertation research was also recognized with the Syracuse University iSchool 2016 Doctoral Prize.

“This dissertation develops emotional categories inductively from Twitter data, and creates a taxonomy of 28 emotion categories for the range of emotions expressed in tweets,” noted the awards committee. “The dissertation also extracted linguistic cues that can serve as indicators, and then evaluated the performance of machine learning classification using several classifier and feature combinations. The results show that extend machine learning classification on tweets is feasible and makes a significant contribution toward machine learning models for fine-grained emotion detection in text.”

The 2017 iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award honorees will be recognized during a gathering of their peers at iConference 2017, which takes place March 22-25, 2017, in Wuhan, China. The iConference is an international gathering of scholars and researchers concerned with critical information issues in contemporary society.

About the iSchools
The iSchools organization was founded in 2005 by a collective of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st Century. It has since grown into a consortium of more than 80 universities and institutions spanning five continents.

The iSchools organization supports and recognizes student achievement through its annual Doctoral Colloquium and Doctoral Dissertation Award, as well as other special contests and mentoring opportunities. The iSchools also provide collaboration tools and other support to assist faculty in their teaching and research endeavors. Every year, the iSchools organization presents the iConference, a forum in which information scholars, researchers and professionals share their insights on critical information issues in contemporary society. The next iConference is scheduled to take place March 22-25, 2017 in Wuhan, China.


Keynote Speakers Announced for iConference 2017


The organizers of iConference 2017 are pleased to announce this year’s keynote speakers. They are Mike Eisenberg, dean emeritus of the University of Washington Information School, and Jason E. Rollins, senior director of innovation for Clarivate Analytics.

Mike Eisenberg is a founder of the iSchools movement and an evangelist for the information field, and will speak at the opening ceremony on March 22, 2017. In a talk titled “iSchools—Our Time is Now!”, Eisenberg will show how the field has been tied to every area of human endeavor throughout history, and challenge everyone to act boldly across the globe in advancing programs, research and services to humanity.

Jason E. Rollins is a product development and applied research expert with twenty years of experience bringing inventive projects to life for millions of users in the global scientific, academic research, and intellectual property community. His presentation takes place Thursday, March 23, 2017, and is titled “Web of Science Big Data—Powering Next Generation Discovery & Science of Science.” It will present an overview of the Web of Science citation network as a research dataset, and includes case studies of innovation projects from leading iSchools.

More information about the iConference 2017 keynote presetations can be found on the conference Keynote Speakers webpage.

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. The 2017 theme is Effect • Expand • Evolve: Global Collaboration Across the Information Community. iConference 2017 is jointly hosted by the Wuhan University School of Information Management and the Sungkyunkwan University Library & Information Science and Data Science Department.

iConference 2017 will begin on Wednesday, March 22, with an Opening Ceremony followed by five specially selected workshops available free-of-charge to all paid participants. Over the ensuing days, participants have the opportunity take in more than 60 peer-reviewed papers focused on completed research, as well as shorter papers focused on preliminary results. New this year is a special series of papers focused on specific research in China. Numerous interactive sessions and special panels are also planned. As always, the conference will also feature two extended poster sessions showcasing the work of current and future thought-leaders.

The complete iConference 2017 program schedule is now available for review. Conference organizers have also posted information to assist all participants with lodging, visas and other travel needs. Visit the iConference registration page to begin your arrangements. For added convenience, the organizers also offer a special Chinese language website.


Dr. Sam Oh Elected iCaucus Chair


Washington D.C.—The iSchools organization announces the election of Dr. Sam Oh of the Sungkyunkwan University iSchool in Korea to the position of iCaucus Chair. The iCaucus is the governing body of the iSchools organization, and Dr. Oh is the organization’s first chair from the Asia-Pacific Region. He has pledged to continue the iSchools’ mission of advancing the information field, while also expanding the organization’s reach.

2014 Sam Oh“It is truly an honor to be the new iSchools Caucus chair-elect,” said Dr. Oh. “As the first person from the Asia-Pacific region to take on this responsibility, I consider it my express duty to promote the iSchool brand where it has remained less visible. I am grateful to those who have supported me and will do my utmost to represent the iSchool both in areas already at its forefront and in regions that have the greatest need of exposure to its initiatives.”

Dr. Oh’s election was formally announced on Monday, January 11, 2016. He will serve as chair-elect during the 2016-2017 term of iCaucus Chair Ron Larsen of the University of Pittsburgh, and then assume the role of iCaucus chair for the 2018-2019 term.

The election was presided over by outgoing iCaucus Chair Michael Seadle of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, who had this to say: “I am very pleased that the iSchools have elected Sam Oh from Korea as the new chair-elect. Sam has been the leader of the Asia-Pacific region of the iSchools, and his election represents another significant step in the internationalization of the organization.”

Dr. Oh earned his Ph.D. in Information Transfer from Syracuse University in 1995 and worked as an assistant professor at the University of Washington Information School for four years before returning to South Korea to become a professor at the Sungkyunkwan University iSchool. He has taught summer courses at the University of Texas at Austin; Syracuse University; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also spent a sabbatical year at the University of Pittsburgh iSchool. Dr. Oh served as the chair of ISO TC46/SC9 (Identification and Description) for six years and is currently the chair of ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 (Document Description & Processing Languages). He is a member of the DCMI governing board and the iCaucus executive committee, as well as chair of the Asia-Pacific iSchools. His expertise lies in the fields of metadata design, social/big data analytics, and data/ontology modeling.

The iSchools organization is a worldwide association of 65 information schools dedicated to advancing the information field. These schools, colleges, and departments have been newly created or are evolving from programs formerly focused on specific tracks such as information technology, library science, informatics, information science, and more.

The iSchools organization is responsible for the iConference, an international gathering of scholars and researchers concerned with critical information issues in contemporary society. The iConference is presented by the iSchools organization, and hosted each year by a different member school. In addition to his duties as iCaucus Chair, Dr. Oh will serve as co-chair of iConference 2017, which will be co-hosted by Sungkyunkwan University Library & Information Science and Data Science Department and the Wuhan University School of Information Management; the event will be held in Wuhan China.

In the meantime, this year’s iConference, which is the eleventh in the series, is hosted by the Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics, and takes place March 20-23, 2016 in Philadelphia. The theme is Partnership with Society, and registration is now open.


Eliza Dresang – In Memoriam


On 4/21/2014, the UW iSchool community lost Eliza Dresang, a respected friend, colleague, teacher and community member. Eliza held the endowed Beverly Cleary Professorship in Children and Youth Services.

Eliza was well known in information communities, and also was a supporter and participant in the iConference – she served as the iConference Doctoral Colloquium Co-Chair in 2011, and later helped organize several iConference sessions on Digital Youth.

The thoughts and prayers of the iSchool community are with Eliza’s family.

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USA Today: University of Washington Professor explores why things go viral


According to University of Washington professor Karine Nahon and doctoral student Jeff Hemsley, virality is “a social information flow process where many people simultaneously forward a specific information item, over a short period of time, within their social networks, and where the message spreads beyond their own (social) networks to different, often distant networks, resulting in a sharp acceleration in the number of people who are exposed to the message.” Read more