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Eric T. Meyer appointed dean of UT Austin iSchool


The University of Texas at Austin has named Eric T. Meyer the next dean of the School of Information. His appointment will begin Aug.1, and he will hold the Louis T. Yule Regents Professorship in Library and Information Science and the Mary R. Boyvey Chair for Excellence.

Meyer comes to UT Austin from the University of Oxford, where he currently serves as director of graduate studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and professor of social informatics.

“In an increasingly interconnected world, we need to understand the intersection of information, people and ever-evolving technologies. The School of Information is widely respected as one of the top information schools in the country, and I am thrilled to welcome Eric Meyer to lead as dean,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost. “He is an innovative visionary who brings with him great experience from an exceptional institution, and his success is grounded in working closely with students, faculty and others in order to leverage their collective talents and strengths.”

As director of graduate studies at the Oxford Internet Institute, Meyer has led efforts to develop innovative master’s and doctoral degree programs, enhance recruitment efforts, work closely with faculty members and students to provide exceptional educational experiences, and grow a positive scholarly environment for research, teaching and learning.
Meyer earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio University, a master’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his doctoral degree from Indiana University Bloomington. His research focuses on the connections between people and the technologies they use, and how people shape and are shaped by new digital technologies. This includes how digital technologies allow people to change the things they research, the ways they learn, and how people share information and collaborate.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the next dean of the School of Information at UT Austin. I think that the school has established itself as a leader globally, and I look forward to building upon the school’s exceptional accomplishments. I’m eager to contribute to the continuing success of this talented community of scholars,” Meyer said.

Meyer will succeed Randolph Bias, who has served as interim dean since September 2017.


University of Waikato iSchool to host ICADL 2018 in conjunction with annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific iSchools Consortium


The 20th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries (ICADL) takes place November 19-22, 2018 in Hamilton, New Zealand. Hosted by the University of Waikato, the event will be co-located with the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific iSchools Consortium and with the NZ Conference on Computer-Human Interaction (CHINZ). The juxtaposition of events is expected to attract a diverse group of academic and professional community members from all parts of the world to exchange their knowledge, experience and practices in digital libraries, and other related fields.

The main theme of ICADL 2018 is “Maturity and Innovation in Digital Libraries.” The conference invites high-quality, original research papers as well as practitioner papers identifying research problems and future directions. All topics in digital libraries will be given equal consideration with submissions on the conference theme especially welcome. View the papers call for details. The 2018 proceedings will be published as part of Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series (LNCS).

Hamilton, New Zealand, is a city of 140,000 people centered on the Waikato River in the heart of New Zealand’s rolling pastures. Its small, bustling downtown boasts river views and a stunning city park complex of themed gardens and river walks.

More conference details can be found on ICDAL website. The deadline for workshop proposals is June 1; paper submissions are due June 22, 2018.


iSchool students and alumni invited to take part in 2018 Drucker Challenge


The 2018 Global Peter Drucker Challenge is now open to iSchools students and alumni. The Drucker Challenge is a personal essay contest, typically infused with an analytical strain, for students and young professionals (18 through 35 years old) on a current topic in management. This year’s theme is: “how to stay human in a robot society.” Cash prizes and travel funding are given for winning entries.

In recent years, the Drucker Challenge team has seen increasingly more winners (places 1-3) and finalists (places 4-10) in both the student and professional categories who are students in or alumni of information-focused university programs. Once again, the Challenge team invites iSchools students and alumni to write and submit.

This year’s submission deadline is Sunday, 24 June at 16:00 CET (4:00 PM Vienna time); note that this is earlier than past deadlines. Successful Challenge essays are often comparable to a great long-form journalistic piece, telling a story while making a point.

Visit the Drucker Challenge website for more information on the Drucker Challenge, prizes, rules, and how to submit.


Texas iSchool Professor Awarded IMLS Early Career Development Grant


Texas iSchool Assistant Professor Amelia Acker has been awarded a three-year Early Career Development Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports the recruitment and education of the next generation of librarians, faculty, and library leaders.

The IMLS-funded project, “Investigating Platform Development for Mobile and Social Media Data Preservation,” builds on Acker’s ongoing research and teaching related to digital preservation strategies for social media and mobile platforms. Acker explains that although information generated on social media sites and mobile app devices represent the fastest form of data creation and collection, these data traces are vulnerable to loss. “Because social media started in the early 2000s, and mobile media in the late 1990s, we have yet to develop robust stewardship practices that facilitate digital preservation strategies in the long-term,” she added.

Beginning in fall 2018, Acker will begin a three-year investigation into emerging preservation tools and stewardship practices for mobile and social media data. The new grant will allow Acker to study the activities of engineers and designers at five digital media organizations engaged in platform development and information service provision. Acker will examine a variety of different research and development cultures where long-term data stewardship and digital preservation strategies are being re-envisioned in exciting ways.

The project will impact scholarly research, data preservation theories and models, professional education, and professional practice across U.S. cultural heritage organizations. Discussing the value of her project, Acker says, “It aims to cultivate cross-domain expertise, mobile and social media data infrastructure, and digital preservation knowledge for information practitioners working in libraries, archives, and museums and beyond.” In addition, Acker’s research will contribute to IMLS’s goal of building the social and technical infrastructure of cultural heritage institutions nationwide, developing the National Digital Platform.

Outcomes of the research will serve as a bridge between corporate platform creators, industry technologists, librarians, and archivists by providing empirical data about emerging and experimental approaches to long-term access of mobile and social media data. “It creates a much-needed point of connectivity between the two domains of information provision and digital preservation,” explained Acker. The project will conclude in 2021 with an Open Educational Report intended for use by practitioners and educators in library programs and iSchools.

In addition to this research project, Acker continues her work on data created with mobile and social media platforms. She recently began another project with colleagues from UT, examining social payments metadata from mobile apps like Venmo. In 2016 Acker started at the University of Texas iSchool, where she teaches courses on digital preservation, metadata, literacy, and memory technologies. In 2017, Acker received early access to the Obama White House social media data archive for her research on social media metadata and digital archives. Visit Acker’s website for more information about her research and teaching.


iSchool graduate students invited to apply for CNI fellowships


The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) has issued an invitation for applicants for the 2018 Paul Even Peters Fellowship. Established to honor the memory of CNI’s founding directory, the fellowship is awarded every two years to students pursuing graduate studies in librarianship, the information sciences, or a closely related field that advance the frontiers of digital information and technology.

Two fellowships will be awarded in 2018: One to a doctoral/PhD student in the amount of $5,000 per year, to be awarded two consecutive years; and one to a master’s student in the amount of $2,500 per year, to be awarded two consecutive years.

CNI is looking for applicants who demonstrate intellectual and personal qualities “consistent with those of Paul Evan Peters,” including:

  • A commitment to use of digital information and advanced technology to enhance scholarship, intellectual productivity and public life;
  • An interest in the civic responsibilities of information professionals and a commitment to democratic values;
  • A positive and creative approach to overcoming personal, technological, and bureaucratic challenges, and
  • Humor, vision, humanity, and imagination.

Visit the CNI fellowship webpage for eligibility and application details.


Simmons iSchool names new director


The Simmons School of Library and Information Science (Boston, USA) has announced that Dr. Sanda Erdelez will be joining the School as Director and Professor beginning in June of 2018. Dr. Erdelez is a world-renowned researcher in the area of information behavior and recipient of the 2015 “Outstanding Contribution to Information Behavior Research Award” from the Special Interest Group on Information Seeking and Use (SIGUSE) of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T).

Dr. Erdelez earned her PhD at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University while on a Fulbright scholarship. She served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and as an Associate and Full Professor at the University of Missouri School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT). While at the University of Missouri, Dr. Erdelez served as the Chair of the SISLT Library and Information Science Program and as the Associate Director for Education at the Missouri Informatics Institute.

Click here to visit the Simmons website.


Singapore iSchool Collaborates on Maritime Vessel Traffic Progam


Fujitsu Limited, Singapore Management University (SMU), and A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), today announced their collaboration to develop innovative new technologies for vessel traffic management in the Port of Singapore, with the support of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). These predictive technologies will leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics to optimize the management of Singapore’s port and surrounding waters, which sees an immense volume of seaborne trade and traffic. The technologies will also be validated using real-world data to improve the forecasting of congestion and identification of potential collisions and other risk hotspots before they occur at sea.

The research and development for these new maritime technologies has been conducted under the guidance of the Urban Computing and Engineering Centre of Excellence (UCE CoE), a public-private partnership consisting of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), SMU, and Fujitsu, that was established in 2014. This collaboration demonstrates the UCE CoE’s continued commitment to harnessing high performance computing capabilities in the development of solutions for sustainable urban operations, offering another example of how researchers at UCE CoE are using Singapore to test-bed next generation solutions for real-world issues faced by industry and government. The outcomes of this research and development phase, as well as the practical knowledge and experience gained through the project trials, will be integrated into Fujitsu’s future maritime solutions.

Click here for more on the Singapore Management University website.


Singapore iSchool Receives AAHRPP Accreditation


The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs Inc., headquartered in Washington D.C., has announced that Singapore Management University (SMU) is the first University in Singapore to become an AAHRPP accredited research organisation.

In its announcement, AAHRPP’s President and CEO Elyse I. Summers said “In today’s increasingly collaborative research enterprise, AAHRPP accreditation offers an assurance that an organization can be trusted to protect research participants and produce accurate, reliable results.” AAHRPP also stated that to earn AAHRPP accreditation, organisations must show that they have built extensive safeguards into every level of their research operation and that they adhere to high standards for research.

With SMU’s receipt of the accreditation status, there are now 35 research organizations across the whole of Asia that are AAHRPP accredited. Among these organizations, 33 accredited organizations are medical-related, such as hospitals, medical universities and medical centres. Besides SMU, the only other university-level accredited organisation in Asia (not specific to a medical-related research unit), is Peking University in China.

Professor Steven Miller, SMU’s Vice Provost (Research) and the Institutional Official of the university’s Human Research Protection Programme (HRPP), said “SMU has worked hard to create the processes and culture for protecting the safety, welfare and rights of the individuals who participate in our research. We are proud to be the first and only social sciences oriented research university in Asia that is AAHRPP accredited, and one of the few specialized social science research universities in the world to receive this accreditation.”

Examples of the processes and culture that SMU has built into the research operations to protect the safety, welfare and rights of research participants include the establishment of additional safeguards to protect the vulnerable populations in research, the regular evaluation of SMU Institutional Review Board’s composition and performance to ensure high quality reviews of human participant research, as well as the inclusion of compliance measures to ensure the proper conduct of transnational research by the SMU researchers.

Professor Lily Kong, SMU’s Provost, said “SMU is a relatively young university and our ability to meet AAHRPP’s rigorous standards for our Human Research Protection Programme is a testament to the very substantial progress that SMU has made as a research university.”

Click here to read AAHRPP’s press release on SMU’s Full AAHRPP accreditation achievement..


iConference 2018 successfully wraps up in Sheffield


A total of 468 registered participants took part in the recently concluded iConference 2018 in Sheffield, UK, jointly organized by The University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria University, iConference 2018 was the iSchools organization’s 13th annual event, bringing together information scholars, researchers and professionals to share their insights on critical information issues in contemporary society.

Over the span of four day, the 2018 delegates took in 82 peer-reviewed research papers, 67 peer-reviewed poster presentations, plus 10 thought-provoking workshops and 13 special interactive sessions. They also enjoyed meeting and mingling at numerous social occasions held at the conference venue, as well as at noteworthy city institutions. Throughout the conference, thanks to surprisingly clement weather for the time of year, the scenic charm of the city of Sheffield was on full display.

iConference 2018 papers have already been published in Springer LNCS, and will therefore be indexed by major services such as Web of Science and Scopus. The posters abstracts will be made available soon on the IDEALS repository; participants will be notified when these are available. A full summary of the iConference, including links to materials and artifacts, will be posted to this website soon.

The iSchools organization thanks all 2018 attendees for their participation. The iConference is a shared experience based on interdisciplinary discourses, and everyone’s presence had a direct bearing on the overall quality of the event.

Finally, be sure to mark your calendars for iConference 2019, which takes place March 31 – April 3, 2019, in College Park, Maryland. You can check out the advance website now, and watch for our Call for Participation, which will be distributed soon.


Dr. Sam Oh formally begins term as iCaucus Chair; first chair from the iSchools’ Asia-Pacific region


In a welcome address delivered to several hundred delegates gathered at iConference 2018 in Sheffield, Professor Sam Oh of Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, formally began his 2-year term as chair of the iCaucus, governing body of iSchools Inc. Dr. Oh was elected to the position in January 2015 and becomes the organization’s first chair to come out of its rapidly growing Asia Pacific region.

Dr. Oh delivered his welcoming address during the conference’s Tuesday morning plenary. In his talk, he cited iSchools as a catalyst for transformation.

“It is a distinct privilege for me to serve the iSchool community as incoming chair for the next two years,” said Dr, Oh. “While the Information Field has always been at the forefront of addressing obstacles in its landscape, society at large requires faster and more cutting-edge solutions to the problems posed within an ever-increasing deluge of data and information. I hope to build my tenure as iCaucus chair on a foundation of interdisciplinary cooperation shared among our stakeholders and articulated throughout the various areas under our purview.”

Dr. Oh points to raising awareness of the iSchools organization and the information field worldwide as key aspects of his vision. “I consider it my express duty to promote the iSchool movement where it is as of yet less visible and will do my utmost to represent the iSchools both in areas already at its forefront and in regions that have the greatest need of exposure to its initiatives,” he said.

“With more diverse disciplines adopting the iSchool approach on a global scale, I truly believe that the possibilities are endless when it comes to what we – the global iSchools – can achieve. We may differ, but we must work in a setting of respect and good will.”

Dr. Oh assumes the organization reigns from Dr. Ron Larsen, dean emeritus of the iSchool at the University of Pittsburgh. Larsen has the distinction of being the only two-term chair in the iSchools organization’s history, serving 2006-2008 and 2016-2018.

During Larsen’s most-recent term, iSchools Inc. increased in size more than 20 percent, gaining 21 new member schools; it now numbers 91 schools and institutions. The organization’s regional-cooperative focus blossomed under Larsen, helping make the organization more responsive to local needs and priorities. In addition, Larsen also helped spearhead an initiative to restructure governance in an effort to make the rapidly growing organization more nimble and responsive.

“As a twice-elected chair of the iCaucus, it’s been a pleasure watching the consortium gain size and stature over the years,” Larsen said. “I have enjoyed working with our member institutions as we worked collectively to advance the information field worldwide.”