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iSchool at Illinois seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award


The iSchool at Illinois seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. The deadline for nominations is October 1, 2017.

Given annually, the award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or a long-term interest in and dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom.

Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO Publishing Company, provides an honorarium to the Downs Award recipient and co-hosts the reception held in honor of the recipient. The reception and award ceremony for the 2017 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award will take place in February 2018 during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Click here to learn more, including information on submitting nominations.


Jens-Erik Mai named new head of University of Copenhagen iSchool


Jens-Erik Mai will take on the position as Head of Department at the Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS), Copenhagen, Denmark on Sept. 1st 2017. He has been full professor at the department since 2012, and was previously associate professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, where he also served as Vice Dean and Acting Dean. Prior to that he was a faculty member at the University of Washington Information School, where he also co-directed the Center for Human-Information Interaction. Jens-Erik Mai has an MLIS from RSLIS and a PhD from the Information School at the University of Texas in Austin.

Jens-Erik Mai will take over the position after Per Hasle, who has headed the RSLIS since 2008. During Per Hasle’s tenure, RSLIS has developed tremendously; most significantly, Per Hasle oversaw the successful merger of RSLIS with the University of Copenhagen in 2013. RSLIS is now one of eight departments at the University’s Faculty of Humanities, and a significant player in the Faculty’s digital initiatives, including the faculty-wide strategic efforts in the area of digital humanities.

Click here for more on the RSLIS website.


iConference 2018 Keynote Speakers Announced


iConference 2018 organizers University of Sheffield and Northumbria University have announced their full slate of keynote speakers for next year’s conference in Sheffield, UK. And given that the collective members of the iSchools Organization share a fundamental interest in the relationships between information, people, and technology, it’s only appropriate that the three 2018 speakers are scheduled to give talks on the subjects of people, information, and technology, respectively.

The following is a brief introduction of the 2018 speakers; more detail is offered on the conference’s Keynote Speakers webpage:

  • People: Dr. Lynn Connaway, Senior Research Scientist and Director of User Research at OCLC Research where she leads research into user and information seeking behaviour, and an American Library Association for College and Research Libraries project on academic library support for student learning.
  • Information: Professor Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Department of Economics, American University, Washington D.C., and Faculty Fellow of The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Technology: Dr. Sue Dumais, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft and the Deputy Managing Director of Microsoft’s Redmond Research Laboratory where she leads research at the intersection of information retrieval and human-computer interaction.

iConference 2018 will take place March 25-28, 2018, and this June announcement represents the earliest point at which the conference’s full speaker program has been established.

The iConference 2018 Call for Participation was announced in May, and authors are encouraged to begin work on their submissions. This year, for the first time, accepted papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series, and indexed by major services such as Web of Science and Scopus. Conference organizers will begin accepting submissions in early July. Visit the conference website for more details.

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. The 2018 theme is Transforming Digital Worlds. iConference 2018 is jointly presented by the Information School at the University of Sheffield and the iSchool at Northumbria University. Vist the About the iConference page to learn more about the series, including links to past proceedings.

The iConference is sponsored by Microsoft, and additional sponsorships are available.


Turing award winners discuss cities and the future of smart systems at Singapore Management University summit


The benefits and challenges of using technology to transform cities into smart cities was the subject of a panel discussion held during Singapore’s Global Young Scientists Summit, held January 19, 2017, at Singapore Management University. SMU is a member of the iSchools organization and the iSchools Caucus. The panel featured three recipients of the prestigious Turing Award, and was moderated by Steven Miller, vice provost and professor of information systems at SMU. Miller has summarized the results in an article titled Country 2.0: Upgrading Cities with Smart Technology.

The panelists included Vinton Gray Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist; Butler Lampson, a senior scientist at Microsoft Research and an Adjunct Professor at MIT; and Richard Karp, professor at the University of California, Berkeley. They were joined by Tan Kok Yam, head of Singapore’s Smart Nation Programme Office.

The panelist discussed implementation challenges, and the benefits of more integrated data management systems, Priorities include ensuring the safety and reliability of smart systems at both the physical and virtual level, while taking care to prepare governments, industry and the public for the unknown. As Miller notes in his article: “The design of the smart city will have to account for the interests of the many sub-communities. Interest groups must have avenues to make their needs known.”

Click here to view the full text of Miller’s article summarizing the panel’s presentation. The article was published in Asian Management Insights by the Centre for Management Practice of Singapore Management University.


LIDA 2018 issues Call for Participation


Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) has issued a call for participation for their 2018 conference, which takes place June 13-15, 2018, in Zadar, Croatia.

LIDA addresses the changing and challenging environment for libraries and other information institutions in the digital world. LIDA is an international biennial conference that brings together researchers, educators, practitioners, and developers from all over the world in a forum for personal exchanges, discussions, and learning, made easier by being held in memorable environs. This year’s theme is “Social Justice, Community Engagement and Information Institutions: Access, Diversity, and Inclusion”. LIDA welcomes papers that address critical and theoretical examination of the theme; present current research and evidence, as well as examination of best practices from the field, and practitioner perspectives and applications.

Click here to view the LIDA 2018 Call for Participation.


iConference 2018 issues Call For Participation


iConference 2018 organizers University of Sheffield and Northumbria University have issued their Call For Participation.

Taking place March 25-28, 2018, in Sheffield, UK, the theme of iConference 2018 is “Transforming Digital Worlds.” It will include peer-reviewed papers and posters, as well as workshops and sessions for interaction and engagement, interspersed with multiple opportunities for networking. The special programs introduced last year on iSchool Best Practices and iSchools and Industry Partnership tracks will also continue. Early career and next generation researchers can engage in the Doctoral Student Colloquium and the Early Career Colloquium.

The conference organizers encourage authors to begin work on submissions now. The conference will start accepting submissions in early July. The submission deadline is September 18, 2017.

For the first time, iConference 2018 papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series and will therefore be indexed by major services such as Web of Science and Scopus. The papers will be published as Green Open Access allowing them to be deposited in institutional repositories as well as in the open access Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS).

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. iConference 2018 will take place March 25-28, 2018, in Sheffield, UK. This year’s theme is “Transforming Digital Worlds.” iConference 2018 is jointly organized by the University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria. For more about the iConference series, including links to past proceedings, visit our About the iConference webpage.


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.


Educopia and UNC SILS receive IMLS funding for study of open source software implementation to improve archival workflows for born-digital materials


The Educopia Institute and the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) have been awarded a grant worth over $681,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for OSSArcFlow, a project to investigate and support the adoption of open source tools for libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs). The research team will engage with 12 partner institutions to research, devise, and test various strategies for implementing three leading open source software (OSS) technologies, the BitCurator environment, ArchivesSpace, and Archivematica.

By working with institutions of multiple sizes and types, investigators will be able to glean important workflow insights that can benefit a variety of libraries and archives. Ultimately, all project information – including narratives, workflows, summary findings, training modules, and guides – will be widely disseminated to help other institutions successfully adapt OSS digital curation and preservation tools.

“We aim to make the daunting task of implementing digital curation tools more achievable for memory institutions nationally,” said SILS Professor Christopher (Cal) Lee, co-principal investigator for the project. “These activities will catalyze efforts across the library and archives fields by supporting more efficient and effective digital curation programs that ensure ongoing access to our increasingly born-digital legacy for all people.”



Singapore Management University‘s Professor Robert Deng conferred the prestigious AXA Chair Professorship of Cybersecurity, delivers keynote


Singapore Management University’s Professor Robert Deng, a leading global authority and award winning researcher in cybersecurity, has today been conferred the prestigious AXA Chair Professorship of Cybersecurity. Professor Deng is the first named Chair professor at SMU’s School of Information Systems, one of only six AXA Chairs selected for this honour worldwide and the only one from Singapore, as well as the only AXA Chair in Asia to undertake research in the Data & Technology risks cluster under the AXA Research Fund. Learn more.

Professor Deng delivered the keynote address at the inaugural SMU Cybersecurity Forum on 17 April 2017, at which he was also conferred the AXA Chair Professorship of Cybersecurity. “With the integration of cyberspace and physical space, anything that goes wrong in cyberspace will not only have an impact on data and information systems, but also on the physical world – including human safety and critical infrastructure,” he cautioned. Learn more.

The AXA Chair scheme is intended to support the development of a research area and to make meaningful contributions to the development of that research area in line with the host institution’s long term strategy. It aims at creating a full-time academic position in the host institution and fostering the career development of the professor appointed by AXA.


iConference Papers to be Published by Springer


The iSchools organization has made arrangements with Springer International Publishing to have future iConference papers published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series, where they will be indexed by major services such as Web of Science and Scopus. The papers will be published as green open access, allowing authors to also deposit them into institutional repositories, as well as the IDEALS open repository, which has housed the iConference proceedings for many years.

“The iSchools organization remains committed to open access, and the new arrangement allows us to continue using IDEALS, while also giving us the ability to publish in LNCS,” said iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle. “Publication is an advantage for members at many schools where this kind of indexing is important for tenure and promotion. Also, in some countries, this can be a critical part of the process that leads to university funding.”

The new publishing arrangement will commence with iConference 2018, which takes place March 25-28, 2018, in Sheffield, UK. Springer will publish the conference’s completed research papers (long) as well as preliminary results papers (short).

More details will be provided on the iConference website when the 2018 Call for Participation is released later this month. iConference 2018 is jointly organized by the University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria.