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iConference Poster Finalists Announced


The iConference 2019 organizers have announced the finalists for this year’s best poster competition. The five finalists were selected from among the conference’s 92 abstracts that were accepted for presentation.

Above: Poster Presentatoin from 2018

iConference posters are an opportunity for present and future thought-leaders to display and discuss their research with key members of the information community in attendance at the iConference. The presentations of the five 2019 finalists will be judged during the conference poster session on Tuesday, April 2, and the overall winner will be recognized during the conference’s third and final plenary session Wednesday morning.

The 2019 best poster finalists are listed here alphabetically, by title:

Title: Algorithmic Accountability in Surveillance Regulation
Authors: Meg Young, Michael Katell, Peter M. Krafft, University of Washington

Title: Decision-making processes for e-book products: mixture of institutional and rational actions
Author: Mei Zhang, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Title: The Economic Value of Personal Information Under the Situation of Information Leakage
Author: Shengli Deng, Haiping Zhao, Wuhan University; Yong Liu, Aalto University School of Business Finland

Title: Leaving No One Behind: Preparing China’s Public Librarians for Providing Multicultural Services to Ethnic Minorities
Author: Lihong Zhou, Cheng Cui, Wuhan University; Tim Zijlstra, University of Derby

Title: Towards a Domain Ontology for Data Assemblages
Author: Ceilyn Boyd, Simmons University

iConference 2019 will take place March 31 – April 3, 2019, in Washington DC under the banner theme “Inform | Include | Inspire.” The conference poster session will take place Tuesday, April 2, 5:00 – 6:00 pm.

iConference 2019 papers finalists will be announced in the near future. All finalists will be found on our conference Awards Webpage. All accepted poster abstracts from iConference 2019 will be published in the IDEALS open repository.

Registration for iConference 2019 is open, with standard rates available through Feb. 25; late fees apply thereafter.

iConference 2019 is presented by the iSchool at the University of Maryland, College Park in collaboration with the Syracuse University iSchool and the iSchool at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Sponsors include the Computing Research Association, Emerald Publishing, Elsevier, MDPI, ALISE, NVivo, University of British Columbia, University of Pittsburgh, University of Kentucky, National Taiwan University, and Springer.

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 iConference is open to any and all information scholars and researchers, regardless of institutional affiliation. 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.


Maryland iSchool researchers link virtual reality with sight and smell to better understand data


Imagine running through a dark forest in a virtual reality video game and being able to smell the crisp scent of pine needles all around you. Or what if you were analyzing a complex data set, and could associate specific scents with data points in order to better track and recall the information?

University of Maryland researchers in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) are linking virtual reality with sight and smell to help people better process information. HCIL is jointly supported by the UMD iSchool and the UMD Institute for Advanced Computer Studies.

HCIM student, Biswaksen Patnaik and PhD student, Andrea Batch are exploring ways to convey information with scent as a complement to the visual representation of data sets.

Patnaik and Batch recently presented their research paper, “Information Olfaction,” which explores the sense of smell combined with information visualization at IEEE VIS in Berlin, the largest and most important conference on Scientific Visualization, Information Visualization and Visual Analytics.

“This was easily our most crazy idea to date,” said Niklas Elmqvist, HCIL director. Elmqvist is also the student’s adviser and co-author of the research paper.

Click here for more on this story.


News from Rutgers iSchool: ALA reaccreditation and return of Dept. Chair Radford


The Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I) announces that its Master of Information (MI) Program has been awarded full reaccreditation through fall 2025 from the American Library Association’s Committee on Accreditation. “We have had continuous accreditation since 1956, and continue our commitment ongoing quality curriculum design, innovation, and meeting professional opportunities in a diverse library and information landscape,” said former Department Chair Ross Todd.

The ALA/COA accredits master’s programs in LIS in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, based on an extensive review process conducted by an external panel of practitioners and academics that ensure the program meets the required standards. Click here for more on this story.

In related news, Professor Marie L. Radford is returning to the post of Library and Information Science Department Chair for the next 18 months, replacing former Chair Ross Todd. “It’s a pleasure to jump in here because Ross has worked hard to ensure that the department is in great shape,” said Radford. “Enrollments are up – our master and undergraduate programs continue to be very strong.”

Radford originally had the role from 2012 to 2014, then went on to serve as the school’s Ph.D. Director. During her Department Chair appointment, Radford is focused on maintaining the high standard of the School and LIS department. Click here for more on this story.


Central China Normal University Joins iSchools


The School of Information Management at Central China Normal University has joined the iSchools organization. CCNU’s application was accepted by the iSchools Board of Directors on Feb. 5, 2019. The school is now a member of our consortium of nearly 100 institutions dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st century. They join at the iCaucus level, showing their high level of commitment to the organization.

Above: Central China Normal University School of Information Managment

The CCNU iSchool is located in Wuhan, China. The Head of School is Prof. Yuhai Li. The school currently has 44 permanent professors and lecturers, plus additional external professor and adjuncts.

The CCNU iSchool PhD program dates back to 2005, and now includes Information Science, Management Science and Engineering, Library Science, and Archival Science. It also offers master’s degrees in Information Science, Library Science, Archival Science, Management Science and Engineering, Library & Information Science, and Agricultural Engineering and Information Technology. Bachelor’s programs include Information Resources Management, Information Management and Information Systems, and E-commerce.

“We believe that joining the iSchools is a step in the right direction, not only in terms of pursuing our school’s mission and the international strategy of our university, but also in terms of our contribution to the iSchools’ movement,” the school noted in its successful membership application.


Research Blog Post: New lion-alert platform helps protect both livestock and lions


In an area populated by more than 1,000 carnivorous lions, you might think people need protection. But actually, it’s the other way around. In Botswana’s Okavango Delta, lions are often shot or poisoned as locals attempt to protect their free-roaming livestock.

In the latest installment of our iSchools Research Blog, PhD Candidate Konstantin Aal of the University of Siegen explains how his research in conjunction with CLAWS Conservancy is helping mitigate human-lion conflict. Using information- and communications-technology (ICT), the group is developing a lion alert system for improved livestock protection in rural communities. With early warnings, rural communities can take proactive steps to prevent attack rather than rely on the historic model of reactive management—i.e. the unnecessary killing of lions.

Click here to read Konstantin’s blog entry.

The iSchools Research Blog showcases the exceptional work of emerging scholars in the information community. Visit our blog to review other scholarly posts, as well as information on how to propose a blog entry of your own.


Software Preservation Network seeks survey participants


The Software Preservation Network’s Research Working Group invites participating in a survey on practices, needs, and gaps related to software preservation. The goal of the Software Preservation Network (SPN) is to “make it easier to deposit, discover and reuse software.”

Why Does This Matter?
For decades, researchers and practitioners in information science, digital preservation, and allied fields have discussed the necessity of software preservation: preserving software is a prerequisite for preserving and providing access to digital cultural heritage and research, and software is increasingly considered a research product or artifact in itself.

How are cultural heritage professionals working on preserving software? What are the obstacles to software preservation? Do best practices exist? The survey is intended to help answer these questions.

Who Should Participate?
Any individual or organization involved in activities that involve or rely on software preservation is encouraged to take the survey. For the purposes of this survey, software preservation encompasses a wide range of experimental or established services or actions at organizations such as collecting original software media and documentation, consultations with software producers or users of specialized or obsolete software, preservation of software code or executable files, metadata creation for preserved software, etc. The survey will close on February 19, 2019.

How will the survey information be used?
Anonymized data from the study will be made available to the profession, along with analysis of current trends and possibilities for future research. This study has been approved by the Georgia Institute of Technology Institutional Review Board.

Click here to take the survey (roughly 15 minutes).

Questions can be addressed to the SPN Research Working Group.


Rutgers professor Shah receives $100K Amazon grant for search and browsing research


Rutgers iSchool Associate Professor Chirag Shah has been awarded $100,000 by the Amazon Research Awards program for his project “Addressing Cold Start Problem in Personalization and Recommendation Using Proactive Information Retrieval.” The grant will be distributed in two parts: $80,000 in monetary funding, and $20,000 in AWS cloud services credits.

The proposal takes on the issue of search and browsing difficulties, where users often do not know where or how to begin a search. The project will use existing data from a number of browsing and searching studies to build behavioral models for proactive information retrieval (IR), and test them using a new user study involving online searching and browsing. The results will include a new algorithm that will use a small amount of browsing data from a user’s session and make predictions about the nature of the task. This algorithm will also be able to provide recommendations before even the searcher realizes the need for them, thus being proactive in an IR episode and addressing the possible cold start problem.

“We have entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where artificial agents are becoming an integral part of our lives, being more proactive than reactive,” Shah said. “This project will design, build, and test information agents that learn from our behaviors and offer crucial support in a proactive manner.”

Also serving as Director of the InfoSeeking Lab, Shah’s work focuses on interactive information retrieval/seeking, with an emphasis on those involving social and collaborative aspects.

Click here for more of this story on the Rutgers iSchool website.


UMD iSchool theorist calls for research that is actionable rather than purely curiosity-driven


Human-computer interaction theorist Dr. Ben Shneiderman of the UMD College of Information Studies’ HCIL research lab is shaking up the research world by questioning the value of curiosity-driven research conducted in laboratories. “[In] our knowledge-rich, information-overloaded world, new models are needed…” he says.

With his Twin-Win Model of research, Dr. Schneiderman challenges the value of research that solely creates new knowledge. The Twin-Win Model contends that in this day and age, for new research to be impactful, it must be tied to actionable insights that can lead to societal benefits.

According to a recent UMD story written by Mia K. Hinckle, the Twin-Win Model theory is controversial as many researchers actively reject collaborations with businesses with the fear that it will taint the validity of their research or damage their academic credibility. However, Dr. Schneiderman argues that interdisciplinary ideas are not sufficient to achieve the goal of high research impact—that research must solve authentic, real-world problems and that partnerships with businesses or organizations provide a forum to identify these problems, test research, and disseminate actionable solutions.

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


The iSchools welcome new member Kyungpook National University LIS


The iSchools organization is pleased to announce that Department of Library and Information Science at a Kyungpook National University has become the organization’s newest member. The Korea-based school becomes the 98th member to join our consortium of schools dedicated to advancing the information field.

Located in the Daegu Metropolitan City, KNU LIS has 7 full-time professors as well as a number of adjunct professors. The school’s doctoral program was established in 2000. In 2018 the school had 9 doctoral students, 18 master’s students and 165 undergraduate students. Significant research areas include Bibliography, Information Organization, Information Service Management, Bibliometrics, and Information Retrieval.

The school cites several objectives for joining the iSchools, including the establishment of a framework that extends the existing iSchools model to accommodate characteristics specific to Korea, constructing a roadmap for world-class education, and laying the foundation for academia-industry-government symbiosis.

“Our aim is to establish a new direction for LIS in Korea that is firmly rooted in cross-institutional and international collaborations as well as academia-industry-government synergy,” the school notes in its successful application. “By capitalizing on school-wide initiatives, we hope to focus and extend our efforts to educate the next-generation information professionals that can interpret and analyze theoretical constructs of information science to synthesize practical applications for everyday life. Under the iSchools umbrella, our efforts toward that goal will not only gain in credibility but also be afforded a framework that can transcend existing boundaries.”


Drexel iSchool receives CAHIIM accreditation for Master of Science in Health Informatics Program


The College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University is pleased to announce that its Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) degree program was granted full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

CAHIIM is an independent accrediting organization whose mission is to serve the public interest by establishing and enforcing quality Accreditation Standards for Health Informatics and Health Information Management (HIM) educational programs.

With this accreditation, Drexel’s MSHI program is ensured to meet the rigorous academic standards set forth by CAHIIM, and is the first CAHIIM-accredited health informatics program in the Greater Philadelphia area. Students who graduate from CCI’s CAHIIM-accredited program are eligible to sit for professional certification exams including Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) offered by AHIMA.

“With recognition from the top accrediting body in health informatics and information management education, our MS in Health Informatics program is recognized among the best programs in the nation,” said Professor and MSHI Program Director Christopher C. Yang, PhD. “Our interdisciplinary curriculum, led by a world-class faculty, is helping health and computing professionals to advance their knowledge in the health IT field and achieve their career goals.”

Click here for more on this story on the Drexel website.