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Applications sought for Undergraduate Symposium, new featured event at iConference 2019


An Undergraduate Symposium will be among several new offerings at iConference 2019. The iConference has always welcomed undergraduate participation, but the iSchools Organization is particularly pleased with the targeted opportunity being offered to applicants who are accepted into the new Undergraduate Symposium.

“This event is the first time that the undergraduate participants have a formal venue for networking and professional development at the iConference,” says Yubo Kou, co-chair of the Symposium along with Matthew Bietz. “On the one hand, it represents the iSchools’ efforts and vision in motivating and empowering undergraduate students; on the other hand, it requires innovative and engaging ways during the event to engage undergrads and enrich their conference experience.”

The Undergraduate Symposium will be a half-day networking and professional development opportunity taking place Saturday, March 30, which is the day before iConference 2019 formally begins. Undergraduate applicants must apply in advance and be accepted into the Symposium in order to participate. Application instructions can be found on the conference website, and the application deadline is October 1, 2018.

“We expect participants to come away with better ideas and more information about their career paths in the information field,” says Kou. “They will also obtain networking opportunities with other undergraduate students and faculty. A benefit of holding the Symposium the day before the conference is that it will also help participants develop a fuller understanding of the iConference and navigate the iConference in a more effective manner in the following days.”

Complete application instructions can be found on the conference website. Accepted applicants will need to purchase a full conference registration at the discounted student rate, but no additional Symposium fees will apply. Conference rates will be announced in fall. Applicants do not need to be with a member-school; students at any accredited institution are welcome to apply.

While the organizers are exploring external funding options, there is currently no financial support for the Undergraduate Symposium, meaning participants should also plan to cover their own travel and lodging costs. It is hoped that iSchool member institutions will be able to provide some degree of support to their accepted students.

In addition to this new opportunity for undergraduate students, iConference 2019 will also offer its traditional Doctoral Colloquium, now in its 14th year. The Doctoral Colloquium provides doctoral students the opportunity to present their work to senior faculty and engage with one another. Students receive feedback on their dissertation, career paths, and other areas from participating faculty and student peers. The application deadline is September 10, 2018.

The iConference also features an Early Career Colloquium, and starting this year participation in this event will be by application only. The new application requirement is expect to enable the chairs to better tailor the Colloquium to the needs of participants. The Early Career Colloquium provides an opportunity for pre-tenure faculty and post-doctoral researchers to engage with senior faculty mentors in large and small group conversation on topics related to early career success. The application deadline is September 10, 2018.

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.

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 to access past proceedings and conference summaries.


Team of researchers led by UMD iSchool are engaging communities in Baltimore’s Smart City transformation


Findings from a new multi-university study underscored a lack of resources—not lack of resourcefulness—that prevent residents from accessing opportunity and benefiting from safe, healthy communities in West Baltimore. The research, which was presented last week to city officials, community stakeholders and academic partners is the result of a “smart cities” grant from the National Science Foundation to understand how cities like Baltimore can employ “smart city” technology—such as smart street lights and citywide wi-fi—strategically and equitably to promote quality of life for all residents, particularly those in traditionally disadvantaged communities.

The multidisciplinary effort was led by the National Center for Smart Growth and the iSchool at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), along with colleagues from University of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and Morgan State University.

Director of the UMD’s National Center for Smart Growth Gerrit Knaap and iSchool Assistant Professor Vanessa Frias-Martinez, the project’s principal investigators, hope their research offers a glimpse of the barriers, concerns and hopes of Baltimore residents, and will help guide smart city design and development in disadvantaged communities. City officials say that the team’s recommendations will be implemented within months as part of Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh’s vision for Moving Baltimore Forward, an initiative to improve the quality of life of city communities.

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


Information meets industry as iSchools join LinkedIn


In its continuing quest to forge engagement between information researchers and industry professionals, the iSchools organization has launched a LinkedIn company page. The LinkedIn presence is a new facet of the Organization’s social media presence, which also includes Facebook and Twitter. Scholars and professionals alike can now follow the iSchools as part of their LinkedIn feed.

The iSchools’ official vision statement includes a call for iSchool graduates to “fill the person fill the personnel and leadership needs of organizations of all types and sizes.” To that end, iSchools member institutions maintain strong relationships with myriad companies worldwide. These relationships serve to help solve the business needs of industry will also creating meaningful career opportunities for students and graduates.

The iSchools’ annual iConference includes a special track called iSchools Partnerships and Practices, in which member-schools showcase special programs they have developed in partnership with industry; iConference 2019 is currently accepting proposals for this and other conference tracks.

To learn more, visit the iSchools company page at


Articles on the history of information sought by University of Texas journal


Information & Culture: A Journal of History is actively soliciting articles for publication. Published by the University of Texas Press, the journal publishes high quality, peer reviewed articles on the history of information.

According to the editor, the social and cultural context of information and information technology, viewed from an historical perspective, is at the heart of the journal’s interests. Typical papers might focus, for example, on the histories of information institutions, agencies, domains, or businesses; the history of information work and workers; the history of information in everyday life; the history of information and communication practices; the history of information artifacts (ranging from books to computers, information infrastructures and networks); the history of the organization and classification of information; the history of concepts and theories in the information domain; and intellectual and theoretical approaches for writing information history.

The intention is to juxtapose papers on a wide variety of topics related to the history of information to stimulate connections between the research of library historians, information science historians, historians of print culture, historians of computing, historians of media and communication, labor historians, gender historians, economic historians, business historians, political and diplomatic historians, cultural studies scholars, critical theorists, and science and technology scholars.

Instructions for contributors are available at


UMD iSchool seeks to find the unfindable in the world’s languages


The University of Maryland (UMD) is part of a multi-institutional team tasked with building a powerful set of language technologies that can unlock information that has previously been unsearchable, and thus unfindable.

The four-year project, funded by a $14.4M grant from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), is expected to produce a language processing system that allows a user to type in a query in English and have information returned in English—even if the content is only available in a lesser-known language like Croatian.

The project involves faculty, postdocs and students from Maryland, Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh. Columbia is the lead institution, with Kathleen McKeown, the founding director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute, serving as principal investigator.

The interdisciplinary research—already underway—includes experts in natural language processing, speech processing, and information retrieval.

“Today’s internet brings us closer together than ever before, but the diversity and richness of human language remains a challenge,” says Douglas Oard, a professor at the UMD College of Information Studies, who is heading up the UMD research team. “Computers can be trained to transform human language in many useful ways, but today that training process is still too expensive to affordably be applied to all the world’s languages, and too dependent on the artisanal skills of a small number of experts.”

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


Journal editors seek papers for special issue on biases in information, algorithms and systems


Emerald Insight’s Online Information Review is preparing a special issue on social and cultural biases in information, algorithm’s and systems, and the publication’s guest editors have issued a formal call for papers.

The stated purpose of the special issue is to bring together researchers from different disciplines who are interested in analyzing, and tackling bias within their discipline, arising from the data, algorithms and methods they use. “As the topic is highly interdisciplinary, we expect that this will be reflected by the submissions,” say the editors. “We intend to invite authors from multiple disciplines, including data/information science, computer science, the social sciences, and psychology. The resulting special issue may also be of great interest to practitioners (e.g., in government, non-profit organizations, or companies) and educators (e.g., in digital literacy).

The submission deadline is October 2018, and complete details can be found on the journal’s website.

The editors include: Dr. Jo Bates, Information School, University of Sheffield, Uk: Prof. Paul Clough, Information School, University of Sheffield, UK; Prof. Robert Jäschke, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany; Prof. Jahna Otterbacher, Open University of Cyprus; Prof. Kristene Unsworth, Stockton University, New Jersey, USA


UMD iSchool’s Data Challenge 2018 draws 150 enthusiastic participants to weeklong event


On the morning of February 24, 2018, over 150 enthusiastic students from different colleges around the University of Maryland gathered with experts from the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) and other sponsoring organizations at the UMD Riggs Alumni Center for the UMD iSchool Data Challenge 2018 event. The students embarked on an exciting week-long journey of problem-solving, number crunching, and data-wrangling to provide data analytics and digital curation ideas with a theme of Information Innovation for Social Good. The excitement was evident as participants were lined up at the entrance before the registration officially opened. During the event, there was constant activity with mentors assisting teams, encouraging them to come up with innovative ideas using the data they had chosen to work with.

The DCIC provided 3 datasets for students to work on and enhance their digital curation, user experience and data analytical skills. The datasets focused on historical, cultural and human justice collections. DCIC Director Richard Marciano and Software Architect Greg Jansen participated in the event as mentors and inspired participants to leverage the datasets and combined with their knowledge of the ever-advancing technology to provide results that will empower the community. Student teams were encouraged to extract insights from the data and create interesting narratives.

With overwhelming student participation, motivation from the mentors, a chance to interact with key industry experts, and scrumptious food, it was a splendid kick-start for the first ever UMD iSchool Data Challenge.

After a week of problem-solving, number crunching and data-wrangling, the Finale of the Data Challenge took place on the morning of March 3 at the University of Maryland. The judges were quite impressed with how well the students had leveraged technology and provided data as well as abided by the theme of Information Innovation for Social Good. One of the judges, Ying Lu, a Data Scientist at Google, shared that he was highly impressed by the winners of the Social Impact category, who had utilized the Morten Beyer and Agnew Aircraft data to study the carbon footprints left by the airplanes.

It was exciting to see several teams of undergraduate students participating in this event and showcasing their skills at such a major event. One of the undergraduate teams that really impressed all judges used data from the DCIC’s Mapping Inequality project, that focused on racial zoning as a result of the 1929 stock market crash that devastated America’s economy. The Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC), created by President Franklin Roosevelt, created maps that graded neighborhoods based on racial/ethic presence, high and low-income families and environmental problems and made financial decisions based on them. In this study, the team of students analyzed the level of vulnerability of American families based on several variables and highlighted a geographic trend between those of whom benefited and suffered the most. Among security grade ranking, they found that the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had the strongest ranking, while Vinton, Virginia had the lowest. They also found that the HOLC did discriminate against low-income and minority families, and foreign and negro inhabitants when evaluating the distribution of economic relief.

Overall the participants enjoyed working on the datasets, the mentors cherished guiding the students, the judges appreciated the hard work of the teams and the sponsors too enjoyed interacting with the participants – the event was a hit!

Click here for more information about the Data Challenge; click here to learn more about the DCIC.


iSchools Organization adds five new members, now numbers 96 institutions worldwide


The iSchools board of directors has approved the applications of five new member schools, two in North America, and three in Asia Pacific. With these additions, iSchools Inc. now numbers 96 institutions worldwide, each of them dedicated to leading and promoting the information field.

The five new iSchools members are:
Asia Pacific Region

North American Region

The incoming cohort represents the first schools approved under the iSchools new governance structure. “I am pleased that we continue to increase the physical and intellectual diversity of the iSchools with new members from Asia and North America,” said iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle.

iSchools Vision
The iSchools Organization seeks to maximize the visibility and influence of its member schools, and their interdisciplinary approaches to harnessing the power of information and technology, and maximizing the potential of humans. We envision a future in which the iSchool Movement has spread around the world, and the information field is widely recognized for creating innovative systems and designing information solutions that benefit individuals, organizations, and society. iSchool graduates will fill the personnel and leadership needs of organizations of all types and sizes; and our areas of research and inquiry will attract strong support and have profound impacts on society and on the formulation of policy from local to international levels.


iSchools Organization establishes new governance structure


The iSchools Organization has unveiled a new governance structure that is expected to make the Organization more responsive to the needs of its membership. To facilitate the change, the new membership structure more distinctly reflects each member’s involvement with the Organization. In the works for more than a year, the new governance model was formally adopted at the annual iSchools business meeting, which was held March 27, 2018 in conjunction with iConference 2018 in Sheffield, UK.

Under the new model, all iSchools members will participate in the election of a Board of Directors. This new Board consist of two groups: an Executive Committee, and an additional group of regionally elected Board members. The Executive Committee is made up of the current iSchools chair, the chair-elect, the immediate past-chair, the treasurer, the chairs of each of the three regions, and ex officio the executive director. The remainder of the Board consists of regionally elected chairs, calculated using a formula that factors the number of schools and the financial contributions in each.

The newly adopted membership structure offers a wider array of levels reflecting each member’s ongoing relationship with the organization. All members may self-select the membership level that represents the level of support they wish to provide; this includes the iCaucus level, which formerly required institutional approval to join.

The new iSchools membership levels are as follows: iCaucus; Enabling; Sustaining; Supporting; Basic; and Associate. Members at all levels have a vote factored for their level of support, with the exception of those who select the non-voting Associate level.

“I am very pleased with the new governance structure adopted at our recent business meeting,” said iSchools Chair Sam Oh. “These changes enable member-institutions of all sizes to have a direct impact on the Organization’s mission of leading and promoting the information field in the 21st century, while at the same time recognizing the level of Organizational support that each of our members graciously provides.”

Moving forward, the Executive Committee will continue to handle the ongoing day-to-day business of the Organization. The Board of Directors must approve broader decisions such as changes in the budget and membership. In addition, a majority of all members must vote to approve any change in the dues or fundamental structural alterations, and will also elect the chair.

The iSchools Executive Committee currently includes:

  • iSchools Chair: Sam Oh, Head of School, Library & Information Science and Data Science Department, Sungkyunkwan University
  • iSchools Chair-Elect: Gobinda Choudhury, Head of School, Mathematics and Information Sciences, Northumbria University
  • iSchools Past-Chair: Ron Larsen, Dean Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh iSchool
  • Executive Director: Michael Seadle, Professor, Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Treasurer: Johannes Bauer , Director, Department of Media and Information, Michigan State University
  • European Regional Chair: Ann-Sofie Axelsson, Head of School, The Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Boras
  • North American Regional Chair and Executive Committee member: Keith Marzullo, Professor and Dean, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Asia Pacific Regional Chair and Executive Committee member: Miguel Nunes, Head of School, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, School of Information Management

The above are joined by the following Board members, elected earlier this month:

North America

  • Gary Marchionni, Dean, University of North Carolina, School of Information and Library Science
  • Diane Kelly, Director, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, School of Information Sciences
  • Tom Finholt, Dean, University of Michigan School of Information
  • Kristin Eschenfelder, Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Library and Information Studies


  • António Lucas Soares, Director, University of Porto, Faculty of Engineering in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts; alternate Fernanda Ribeiro

Asia Pacific

  • Bin Zhang, Head of School, Renmin University of China, School of Information Resource Management; alternate Jenny Wang

For his part, iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle expressed satisfaction that the Organization’s extended governance deliberations have resulted in structures that support the needs of membership and will allow the Organization to address challenges and opportunities in the information field.

“All iSchools are known for their leadership and their commitment to the information field. Our Organization seeks to maximize our collective influence and impact worldwide,” said Seadle. “The Organization’s former tier structure was always intended to reflect each member’s relationship with the Organization. By recasting the membership levels and adding more gradations, as well as allowing members to self-select their appropriate level, we believe the egalitarian nature of our Organization will be more clearly understood.”

The current iSchools Board of Directors is listed on the Organization’s Meet our People webpage. Institutions interested in joining the iSchools should visit the Apply to Join webpage.

About the iSchools
The iSchools Organization is a consortium of more than 90 universities and institutions dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st Century. The iSchools organization supports and recognizes student achievement through its annual Doctoral Colloquium, Doctoral Dissertation Award, and, starting this year, Undergraduate Symposium. 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 31-April 3, 2019 in Washington DC. Click here to learn more about iConference 2019.


iConference 2019 now accepting submissions


iConference 2019 is now open for submissions. The conference will take place March 31-April 3, 2019, in Washington, DC, under the theme “inform | include | inspire.” It will include peer-reviewed papers and posters, as well as workshops, interactive sessions, and other sessions geared toward faculty, researchers, graduate students and, starting this year, undergraduate students. Details on each submission type can be found on the conference website, and submissions can now be made using the secure submissions site.

Papers published by Springer
All Full Papers and Short Papers accepted for presentation at iConference 2019 will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series (indexed by services such as Web of Science and Scopus). Springer will publish the papers as Green Open Access allowing them to be deposited in institutional repositories and the open access Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship repository (IDEALS). All poster abstracts will be deposited in the IDEALS repository.

New opportunities for iSchool researchers and undegrads
New this year, a Blue Sky track seeks papers that present ideas and visions that stimulate the iSchools research community to pursue new directions. And a new Undergraduate Symposium will provide peer networking opportunities for students from iSchools worldwide, including interactions with senior faculty to discuss their research and career path.

The submission deadline for papers, workshops, posters, Doctoral Colloquium, and Early Career Colloquium is September 10, 2018 while the submission deadline for Sessions for Interaction and Engagement, Blue Sky, Undergraduate Symposium, iSchool Partnerships and Practices, and Doctoral Dissertation Award is October 1, 2018.

Visit the conference’s Call for Participation page for more information and links to all iConference 2019 track pages. iConference 2019 is hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park in collaboration with Syracuse University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

About the iConference
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 to access past proceedings and conference summaries.