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Emerald Publishing to sponsor iConference 2019 Best Paper Award


We are excited to announce that Emerald Publishing has agreed to sponsor the Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper at iConference 2019. Named in memory of the much-beloved conference champion and supporter of the information field, the award will now be known as the Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper, Sponsored by Emerald Publishing.

The award is a $5,000 cash prize presented to the author or authors of the full research paper judged to be the best in the conference. Judging will be conducted by the paper and program chairs. Click here for details on past honorees.

The Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper was established in 2013 in memory of Lee Dirks of Microsoft Research and his wife Judy Lew, both tragically killed in an auto accident while travelling in Peru. Dirks earned a MLIS at the University of North Carolina iSchool, and was a board member and frequent guest lecturer at the University of Washington iSchool. He was an avid believer in the iSchool movement, and his annual sponsorships of the iConference helped establish the event in its early years.

Microsoft previously provided a grant to fund the Lee Dirks Award for six years. The organizers of iConference 2019 and the iSchools Organization are grateful to Emerald Publishing for their generosity in carrying the award forward for 2019.

In January, five finalists will be identified for the Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper, Sponsored by Emerald Publishing. The winning paper will be named at iConference 2019. Once again, our thanks to Emerald Publishing for continuing the legacy of this award.


iConference 2019 announces keynote speakers Kentaro Toyama and Brewster Kahle


The organizers of iConference 2019 have announced two of the three keynote speakers who will give presentations at the upcoming information conference in Washington DC. Those speakers are Kentaro Toyama of the University of Michigan iSchool and Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive. Details on these speakers follow, and more can be found on the conference’s keynote webpage. A third speaker will be announced in the near future.

iConference 2019 will take place Sunday, March 31 through Wednesday, April 3 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in College Park, Maryland, USA. Keynote presentations are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The conference provides a platform for intellectual discourse on information issues in contemporary society, with a tradition of thought-provoking keynote presentations that foster these exchanges.

Kentaro Toyama is the W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT; Toyama works on the relationship of technology and global development. In his 2015 book Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology, Toyama highlighted the paradoxical consequence of technological amplification—for example, the same internet that enables international banking allows remote theft and ransomware, and the same digital technology that empowers economic growth exacerbates inequality. Toyama will expand on this in his presentation “Technology’s Law of Amplification, and What It Means for iSchools,” with a focus on the potential for a discipline-unifying role for Schools of Information.

Brewster KahleBrewster Kahle is founder of the Internet Archive and serves as digital librarian; Kahle has been working to provide universal access to knowledge for more than 25 years. Kahle will expand on how the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries project is enabling libraries to unlock their analog collections for a new generation of learners, with the power to transform library systems and bring them more fully into the digital age.

Click here for more information on these iConference speakers on the 2019 keynote webpage. A third speaker will be announced in November, and the formal iConference program schedule will be released in December.

iConference 2019 takes place March 31–April 3 in Washington DC. The 2019 theme is “include | inform |inspire.” iConference 2019 is hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park in collaboration with Syracuse University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Conference registration will open in mid-November. Visit the conference website for additional details.


Loretta Parham named winner of the 2018 James Partridge Award by UMD iSchool


Loretta Parham has been named the 2018 winner of the James Partridge Outstanding African American Information Professional Award. Presented by the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland and the Citizens for Maryland Libraries, the Partridge Award honors the members of the library profession who contribute greatly but who are often behind the scenes and not sufficiently publicly recognized for their important contributions to librarianship and the library community.

Loretta Parham is CEO & Library Director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., an independent entity operating as the single library shared by its four member institutions—Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. Under her leadership the library was awarded the ACRL 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award. With more than 30 years in the profession her experience includes: Director of the Hampton University Library, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pa., District Chief of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and other professional positions with the Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago.

An active leader, scholar and engaging speaker, Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic Research Librarian of the Year, the 2016 Distinguished Alumna of the University of Michigan School of Information Sciences, an 2004 “Mover & Shaker” by Library Journal, has authored articles on HBCU libraries and archives, and is co-editor of the book, Achieving Diversity: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Parham is a member of the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors, a member of the University of Michigan Information School Alumni Advisory Board, Chair of the ALA Committee on Accreditation, and Chair of the ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council on Higher Education) Library Council.

Parham is co-founder and past chair of the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance, past chair of the Georgia Humanities Council, former board member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Wayne State University School of Library Science Advisory Board, past treasurer of the Oberlin Group and former trustee of OCLC, Inc. Parham holds the Master of Library Science degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the Bachelor of Science in Communications from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

The 2018 James Partridge Award will be presented to Ms. Parham at the 2018 Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science (CIDLIS) at the University of Maryland on November 9. CIDLIS is hosted by the Information Policy & Access Center and the College of Information Studies of the University of Maryland.

Click here for more information on the UMD iSchool website.


Wayne State iSchool presents free library webinars


The Wayne State University School of Information Sciences has announced a new series of library-focused webinars. The one-hour sessions are called “Lunch Time Webinars” in recognition of their noon local start time (Eastern time USA). The informative session are open to the public, meaning faculty, students and staff at any iSchool worldwide are welcome.

Participation in the Lunch Time Webinars is free. To participate, users must RSVP to receive the event link and follow up event recording.

The following presentations are scheduled for fall 2018:

Digital Publishing in Libraries Nov. 1, 12:00 noon EDT
Join Dr. Cheryl E. Ball, Director of the Wayne State Digital Publishing Collaborative, as she shares information about the state of digital publishing, provides information on current projects at Wayne State, and shares easy ways for libraries of all types to embrace digital publishing. Click here to RSVP.

Libraries that Podcast Nov. 19, 12:00 noon EDT
Interested in podcasting at your library? Wondering how it can impact your library community? Concerned about the pros and cons or unsure of where to even start? Then be sure to join us for this Lunch Time Webinar featuring library podcasters! Mary Jo Staal, School Media Specialist at Hudsonville Christian School, will join us to discuss her book talk podcast that entices her students in grades K-5 to explore new titles and read more. Troy Eller English and Dan Golodner, Archivists at the Reuther Library at Wayne State University, will share their experiences with podcasting and how they have used podcasting to highlight specific collections and interview researchers. Click here to RSVP.

Fake News, Misinformation, and Libraries Dec. 5, 12:00 noon EDT
Join Sandra Svoboda (MLIS ’17) of Detroit Public Television and SIS Associate Professor Dr. Laura Sheble as they discuss fake news, misinformation, and the role of libraries in helping people sift through truth and lies. Click here to RSVP.

Questions about the series can be directed to Wayne State SIS Communications Coordinator Christine Ayar Illichmann.


Illinois iSchool mourns passing of Professor Les Gasser


Illinois Professor Leslie “Les” Gasser passed away at his home on Tuesday, October 16, surrounded by family and close friends. Gasser was 68 years old.

Gasser earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of California, Irvine, in 1978 and 1984, respectively. After completing his education, Gasser taught and conducted research at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He joined the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, now the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an associate professor in 1998. He was promoted to full professor in 2006.

Gasser’s research focused on social informatics, information systems, conceptual foundations of information, extreme-scale distributed simulation, and the origins and use of information in biological systems. At Illinois, Gasser held a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science and faculty affiliate appointments in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Beckman Institute, and the Computational Science and Engineering Program. He also was a faculty affiliate at the Institute for Software Research in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California-Irvine.

“At a critical time in the School’s development, Les significantly contributed to broadening both teaching and research in social informatics,” said Leigh Estabrook, iSchool dean emerita, who recruited Gasser. “Les was unique in the way he thought about our field and his ability to cross disciplinary boundaries.”

Click here for more on the Illinois iSchool website.


UMD iSchool sees emphasis on societal role as key to future library careers


A newly published story in School Library Journal traces the impact of the University of Maryland iSchool’s transition of its established MLS program into a more dynamic MLIS program focused on evolving library needs. The new program is more closely connected to changing demands in public librarianship and supporting diverse patrons.

“We’ve seen a pretty systematic dismantling of public sphere safety nets for the better part of four decades,” says UMD’s John Carlo Bertot in the article; Bertot is the school’s former MLIS director and is now co-director of the school’s Information and Policy Access Center. “The Library is becoming this social safety net within communities. We needed to really rethink our program and how we prepare people for careers that might be quite different from what they thought they were getting into.”

The article provides detailed case studies of recent program graduates, demonstrating how their iSchool education launched their new career and empowered them to break barriers and make a meaningful difference in their communities. These are examples of opportunities that iSchools provide to students and communities worldwide.

The evolving educational and societal role of iSchools is one of many topic to be explored at iConference 2019, which is hosted by University of Maryland iSchool. The conference takes place in Washington DC March 31-April 3, 2019.

Click here to read the entire article on School Library Journal.


iSchools welcome new member San Jose State


The San Jose State School of Information has become the newest member of the iSchools organization. The school joins 96 other institutions in the iSchools consortium, all dedicated to advancing the information field and the iSchools movement. The San Jose State application was approved by the iSchools Board of Directors on Oct. 15, 2018.

“We congratulate the San Jose State iSchool on joining our organization,” said iSchools Chairman Sam Oh. “They have a worthy program, and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.”

The San Jose State iSchool is located in San Jose, California, USA. Headed by Dr. Sandy Hirsh, the school has 12 tenured professors and 6 tenure track professors, as well as 9 full-time lecturers and as many as 100 part-time lecturers. Its master’s student population is 1,800.

The iSchools organization was founded in 2001 by a collective of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st Century. It has since grown into a consortium of more than 95 universities and institutions. Membership application information can be found here.

The iSchools organization supports and recognizes student achievement through its annual Doctoral Colloquium, Doctoral Dissertation Award, and Undergraduate Symposium, as well as other special contests and mentoring opportunities. The iSchools also provide collaboration tools and other support to assist faculty in their teaching and research endeavors, including our annual Early Career Colloquium.

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 through April 3, 2019, in Washington DC. All information scholars and practitioners are welcome. Click here for details on iConference 2019.


Facebook meddling caused departure of Instagram founders, says UMD iSchool scholar


Dr. Jen Golbeck of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies attributes Facebook “meddling” after acquiring Instagram as a cause of the recent resignations of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Golbeck’s assertion was published Oct. 3 in the online business journal Knowledge@Wharton

“Facebook gets in there, and they promise to leave them alone and let them do their thing, then Facebook eventually starts meddling with them and trying to make them Facebook-like,” Golbeck said. “If you’ve built this thing and really have a vision for it as something different than Facebook, that can be disheartening.”

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012. The Knowledge@Warton story also notes that it is not uncommon for founders to eventually leave after acquisitions, as visions and priorities evolve.


  • Click here for the UMD iSchool story on Dr. Golbek’s comments
  • Click here for the full story on Knowledge@Wharton


iConference 2019 invites student volunteer applications


The iConference has issued a call for student volunteers to help staff its 2019 event in Washington DC. Prospective volunteers can visit the volunteer webpage for details on expectations and how to apply. The application deadline is Nov. 19, 2018.

Over the years, student volunteers have proven essential to the success and smooth operation the iConference. In exchange for their services at iConference 2019, student volunteers will receive a complimentary conference registration and additional benefits, as listed on the volunteer webpage. Positive interactions with student volunteers have consistently ranked high on iConference participant follow-up surveys. In addition, many volunteers have told us they appreciate the daily interactions with seasoned information professionals, and the experience and insight that comes with having a significant role in the inner workings of a conference.

Click here to learn more.


“Information Processing and Management” journal seeks contributions for special issue on Information Need


Information Processing and Management (Elsevier Publishing) is preparing a special issue on “information need.” Guest editors Pia Borlund (Oslo Metropolitan University) and Ian Ruthven (University of Strathclyde) invite original, unpublished papers for consideration, with all submissions due Jan. 15, 2019.

According to the editors, the Special Issue is intended to present a collection of significant contributions to our understanding of the concept of Information Need. Contributions to this issue will go beyond simply describing information needs in order to answer critical questions regarding the nature of information needs. Submissions may answer theoretical questions on how we conceptualise need or perform comparisons between information need and alternative concepts. They may empirically demonstrate new knowledge about information needs in new contexts or provide new ways to distinguish between information needs. They may also help us evaluate how to support information needs of different types or present new methodologies for understanding information needs.

Click here for more informations and links for making submissions