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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.”


iConference 2018 Commences in Sheffield


iConference 2018 is underway. 466 delegates have gathered in Sheffield, UK for our 13th annual gathering of information scholars and researchers.

The iConference officially began Sunday, March 25, with 10 thought-provoking workshops. This was followed by an opening reception in Sheffield’s Winter Garden, a dramatic tropical garden housed in a modern structure of curved wood and glass.

The official opening plenary took place Monday morning, March 26, with welcome statements from joint conference hosts University of Sheffield and Northumbria University, followed by a keynote address by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and Director of User Research at OCLC Research. Connaway’s talk, based on an ongoing project and interviews, explored how individuals at different age levels engage with technology and get their information. More information on Connaway’s presentation will be made available on the conference website in the near future.

In addition, Galen Panger of the University of California, Irvine, was formally recognized as the winner of the iSchools 2018 Doctoral Dissertation Award for his dissertation, “Emotion in Social Media.” Panger’s work was judged the best dissertation to come out of a member iSchool in the preceding academic year. The runner up was Paul Cleverley of Robert Gordon University, recognized for his work, “Re-examining and re-conceptualising enterprise search and discovery capability: Towards a model for the factors and generative mechanisms for search task outcomes.” Click here for more on the Doctoral Dissertation Award, including links to this year’s winning dissertations.

Also honored at the opening plenary was the winner of the Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper. That honor went to Yun Huang and Qunfang Wu of Syracuse University, for their paper, “Understanding Interactions Between Municipal Police Departments and the Public on Twitter.” This is the second time in the 6-year history of the Award that the winning paper has originated at the Syracuse iSchool. The Award is sponsored by Microsoft, and was presented this year by Susan Dumais of Microsoft Research; it honors the memory of Lee Dirks, a long-time friend and supporter of the iConference. Click here for more on this year’s winner and runners up.

More information will be posted to the conference website as the 2018 program unfolds. Host iSchools Sheffield and Northumbria, along with iSchools Inc, thank everyone for their participation.


Preparing for iConference 2018


iConference 2018 is just days away. Information scholars from around the world will converge in Sheffield, UK, for the thirteenth annual conference focused on critical information issues of contemporary society.

The conference home page now offers information and tips for arriving delegates, including city and campus maps, locations for sessions and off-site events, presentation guidelines, wifi connectivity, links to our program schedule, and more. Click here to view.

Most importantly, participants are reminded that local time will move ahead one hour on Sunday, March 25, for British Summer time.

Everyone can follow the iConference in social media using #iconf18. Daily updates will be posted to the iConference 2018 website throughout the conference.

iConference 2018 is jointly organized by The University of Sheffield’s Information School and the iSchool at Northumbria, and presented by iSchools Inc.


Emotion in Social Media: New research blog post explores differing expectations with Twitter and Facebook


What do users want from social media? A new research blog post by Google researcher Galen Panger explains how services do not have uniform implications for behavior. Facebook posts are more emotionally positive than everyday life and tweets more negative.

Panger recently earned his Ph.D. at the iSchool at the University of California, Berkeley, and his blog post is derived from his dissertation “Emotion in Social Media.” Panger’s dissertation recently won the iSchools 2018 Doctoral Dissertation Award, judged the best dissertation in the preceding academic year from among the iSchools worldwide membership.

Panger will be honored along with Award runner-up Paul Cleverley during the opening plenary of iConference 2018, which takes place March 25-28, 2018, in Sheffield, UK.

Click here to view Panger’s blog post, “Can we generalize from one social media platform to another?”

Click here to learn more about the Doctoral Dissertation Award, including current and past winners.

The iSchools research blog showcases the groundbreaking work of young scholars throughout our worldwide organization. Proposals can be submitted using this online form for consideration by the iSchools editorial board.