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2017 iFellows Doctoral Fellowship Competition


The iFellows Doctoral Fellowship Program will award a two-year fellowship of $50,000 to selected iSchool PhD students during the 2017 – 2018 academic year to pursue independent dissertation research that supports the goals of the Coherence at Scale Program. Coherence at Scale is a broad-based program aimed at coordinating and aggregating national-scale digital projects in order to promote the development of new technology environments to support advanced scholarship across disciplines.

iFellows will be selected following a two-step application process that consists of a Letter of Intent and, if invited to do so, a Full Proposal. The Letter of Intent should demonstrate how the student’s dissertation topic aligns with and complements a topic of interest to the Coherence at Scale project.

Dissertation research relevant to elucidating technology and organizational issues related to Coherence at Scale goals would include topics bearing broadly on interoperability issues of scalable digital infrastructures, the information lifecycle, new scholarly workflows, and Internet accessible, open source tools, and resources for computation and data-intensive digital scholarship.

The Coherence at Scale Program is led by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The School of Computing and Information at the University of Pittsburgh will serve as the administrative organization for the iFellows Program. Funding support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Applicants must be currently enrolled at an iSchools member-institution. Other eligibility requirements are listed on the program website. The application deadline is October 31, 2017.

For more information, visit


UI iSchool’s Prof. Twidale named Outstanding Information Science Teacher by ASIS&T


University of Illinois Professor Michael Twidale, program director for the UI iSchool’s MS in information management, is the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). The award recognizes Twidale’s unique teaching contributions through his methods of explaining highly technical material to students in various learning environments.

According to nominator Linda C. Smith, UI professor and associate dean for academic programs, Twidale “has been an outstanding information science teacher throughout his twenty years at Illinois, with his impact extending literally around the world. In courses such as Interfaces to Information Systems, Entrepreneurial IT Design, and Museum Informatics, whether face to face, online, or hybrid, he consistently performs as a master teacher with a strong commitment to students.”

Twidale will be presented with the award at the 2017 ASIS&T Annual Meeting, which will be held from October 27 to November 1 in Washington D.C.

“I am thrilled to receive this award from my professional association. It is an honor to be recognized for my efforts in developing innovative methods to engage and inspire students,” Twidale said.

Read the complete story on the University of Illinois website.


UNC health informatics program awarded $3.1 million from NIH-NLM


The Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Library of Medicine (NLM) T15 Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Training grant. Only a handful of U.S. organizations were selected for this highly-competitive and prestigious award, which will provide approximately $3.1 million for doctoral student support, post-doctoral appointments, and short-term summer training for undergraduate students. The grant will serve as a significant resource for CHIP’s recently established PhD in health informatics.

“CHIP has already made great strides in improving health data analytics and analytics systems usability through our master’s degree and certificate programs,” said CHIP Director and UNC Professor Javed Mostafa, who is the lead investigator on the T15 grant. “Research by doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, guided by CHIP’s world-class, interdisciplinary faculty, will advance this success even further, helping to improve the quality of health care for North Carolina citizens and the world.”

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) is a lead partner in the CHIP program, which draws faculty and expertise from units across campus, including the UNC School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Pubic Health, UNC School of Nursing, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC School of Dentistry, and Computer Science Department. Read more>


New iSchool and New Dean at University of Pittsburgh


The University of Pittsburgh has formally launched its new iSchool. The new School of Computing and Information (SCI) is comprised of faculty drawn from the former School of Information Sciences and Department of Computer Science. According to a news story on the SCI website, the new school will host an array of academic programs that integrate computing and information with core disciplinary strengths across the University of Pittsburgh.

Planning for the new school began two years ago, when faculties of the School of Information Sciences and the Department of Computer Science were asked to consider how best to structure computing and information at the University of Pittsburgh. The new school was announced last October, and officially launched in July. It will enroll its first cohort of students in fall 2017.

After an extensive search, Dr. Paul Cohen has been named founding dean of the new school. Cohen is a highly-regarded scholar and administrator who was the founding director of the University of Arizona’s School of Information: Science, Technology and Arts. He has been on loan from that school to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the past several years.

In his welcome message on the new SCI website, Dean Cohen encourages breaking beyond disciplinary boundaries in favor of polymathy—the ability to work in multiple disciplines. “Humanity depends on complicated, interacting systems that we understand poorly … None of these systems — much less their interactions — belongs to a single academic department,” says Cohen. “I want to promote systems-oriented research, technology and education at Pitt, because the world’s systems are increasingly stressed, and we need new methods to model and manage them.”

Cohen succeeds outgoing Pitt SIS Dean Ron Larsen. Larsen is chair of the iSchools Caucus, a position he will retain until March of 2018, when he hands the organizational reins to chair-elect Sam Oh of Sungkyunkwan University.

“This is truly a remarkable opportunity,” said Larsen of the new school. “This will take the research and scholarship of the School of Information Sciences to a new level and provide Pitt an exciting new opportunity to shape society’s use of information and computing resources.”


iConference 2018 Opens for Submissions


iConference 2018 is now accepting submissions of papers, posters and proposals. Authors can submit their work using the conference’s secure submission website through the deadline of September 18. iConference 2018 will take place March 25-28, 2018 in Sheffield, UK; accepted papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science, and indexed by Web of Science and Scopus.

The theme of iConference 2018 is “Transforming Digital Worlds.” The conference is being jointly organized by the University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria. It is the thirteenth event in the iConference series, and the second to take place in Europe.

The iConference pushes the boundaries of information studies, explores core concepts and ideas, and creates new technological and conceptual configurations. It is open to all information scholars, researchers and practitioners, regardless of affiliation with a member iSchool. Click here to view this year’s Call for Participation.

The iConference series is presented by the iSchools Inc., a worldwide consortium of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field, and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. Sponsors for 2018 include Microsoft Corp.


Call for Workshop Papers on Computational Archival Science


A workshop titled “Computational Archival Science: digital records in the age of big data,” to be presented at IEEE Big Data 2017, is now calling for papers. The workshop will explore the conjunction (and its consequences) of emerging methods and technologies around big data with archival practice and new forms of analysis and historical, social, scientific, and cultural research engagement with archives. Details at

The call for papers comes from program chairs Prof. Richard Marciano (University of Maryland iSchool), Prof. Victoria Lemieux (University of British Columbia iSchool) and Dr. Mark Hedges, King’s College London. Papers are due Oct. 10, 2017.

“The large-scale digitization of analog archives, the emerging diverse forms of born-digital archive, and the new ways in which researchers across disciplines (as well as the public) wish to engage with archival material, are resulting in disruptions to transitional archival theories and practices,” the papers call notes. “Increasing quantities of ‘big archival data’ present challenges for the practitioners and researchers who work with archival material, but also offer enhanced possibilities for scholarship through the application of computational methods and tools to the archival problem space, and, more fundamentally, through the integration of ‘computational thinking’ with ‘archival thinking’.”


UNC’s Amelia Gibson receives IMLS Early Career Award


UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Assistant Professor Amelia Gibson has received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Early Career Award to support a project titled “Deconstructing Information Poverty: Identifying, Supporting, and Leveraging Local Expertise in Marginalized Communities.”

The three-year project, which received over $336,600 in funding from IMLS, will examine the potential for libraries to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families fulfill their information needs and reduce information poverty in local ASD communities. It will also investigate how members of marginalized communities can act as self-advocates on a local level, and how libraries can recognize, empower, and educate all members of their communities through programming, planning, and collection development.

Gibson will collaborate with the Durham and Charlotte Public Libraries and the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) for the project, which will culminate in the development and dissemination of an online toolkit that describes community assessment and engagement processes.

Click here for more on the UNC website.


University of Washington iSchool Names New Dean


Anind K. Dey has been named dean of the Information School at the University of Washington, President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Jerry Baldasty announced this week. Dey comes to the UW from Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, where he is the Charles M. Geschke professor and director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. 

Dey will take over from Harry Bruce, who announced his intention of stepping down as dean earlier this year. Bruce is a former iCaucus Chair; he led the iSchools organization from 2010 to 2012.

In commenting on the appointment, Provost Baldasty expressed confidence in Dey’s ability to build on Bruce’s exemplary work, as well as that of dean emeritus Michael Eisenberg; Eisenberg was keynote speaker at the recent iConference 2017 in Wuhan, China.

According to an article by Victor Balta published by the UW, Dey’s research uses everyday technology (worn, carried and embedded in the environment) to develop tools and techniques for understanding and modeling human behavior, primarily within the areas of health, transportation, sustainability and education. Some of his work has involved using sensors to collect information on the activities of older people that could be used to better personalize their health care.

Dey earned his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Simon Fraser University in Canada. He holds two master’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology – one in aerospace engineering and one in computer science. He received his Ph.D. in computer science, also from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


UNC’s David Gotz awarded $1 million by NSF for advanced data visualization methods


David Gotz, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and Assistant Director of the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP), has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant worth over $1 million to develop a set of contextual visualization methods that will improve analysis of complex data sets. Gotz and his team will evaluate the new methods in a health outcomes setting, offering significant potential to improve health care through data analytics. Ultimate goals for the four-year project include the development of open-source software that can help advance data visualization accuracy and efficacy for enterprises around the world.

“Datasets can have many thousands of variables, a stark contrast to the relatively small number of dimensions supported by current visualization tools,” Gotz said. “The gap between what the data contains and what the visualization shows can put the validity of any analysis at great risk of bias, potentially leading to serious, hidden errors. This research project will develop a new approach to high-dimensional exploratory visualization that will help detect and reduce selection bias and other problems.”

Gotz and his team will build on the premise that the very summarization that makes many visual methods effective also inherently obscures important aspects of a high-dimensional datasets. In other words, people cannot fully understand complex data, or make good decisions based on that data, if they are relying on a visualization that omits or misrepresents the context of the findings.



Young students and grads invited to take part in Drucker Challenge essay contest


iSchool students and graduates are invited to take part in the 2017 Peter Drucker Challenge, an annual essay competition open to students (bachelor’s, master’s, MBA, and PhD) and young professionals (associates, managers, professionals, and community leaders) ages 18-35. This year’s topic is “human prosperity in a changing world,” and the submission deadline is July 15, 2017.

The Challenge honors Peter Drucker, an influential visionary in the world of business management; it was Drucker who developed the concept of “information workers.” Challenge winners will receive a cash prize of €1,000 and attend the Global Peter Drucker Forum in November in Vienna, Austria. Details can be found on the Drucker Challenge website.