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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.”
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.
The iSchools are pleased to announce that Dr. Maia Jacobs of the Georgia Tech iSchool has been named winner of the 2019 iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award. The runner up is Dr. Jennifer King of the UC Berkeley iSchool. The iSchools organization congratulates both honorees on their achievement. The pair will be recognized at the upcoming iConference 2019 in Washington DC.
The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes the best iSchool dissertations of the preceding year. Nominations are solicited from all members of the iSchools organization, now approaching 100 institutions worldwide, and judged by an award committee drawn from leading international schools. The winner receives a cash prize of $2,500 US, the runner up $1,000. This year’s committee was chaired by Prof. Tawanna Dillahunt of the University of Michigan (USA) and Prof. Voker Wulf of the University of Siegen (Germany).
Dr. Jacobs’ winning dissertation is titled Personalized Mobile Tools to Support the Cancer Trajectory. The Award Committee felt it was timely and important, and lauded its impact in how patients manage their health. “Dr. Jacobs’ thesis Personalized Mobile Tools to Support the Cancer Trajectorycontributes MyPath, an adaptive system that provides personalized support to patients throughout their cancer journey, including diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment survivorship. Her research provides insight into the usability of recommender systems within a health context and finds promise in recommendations that stimulate coping behaviors. Dr. Jacobs’ dissertation stands out because of its strong contributions to health informatics, HCI, and innovative methods that can be used across these fields. The thesis was well-written, the research questions well designed, and Dr. Jacobs did an outstanding job of putting her research questions into context making it the clear winner for this year’s competition.”
The Committee had this to say about the work of runner-up Dr. King: “In the thesis Privacy, Disclosure, and Social Exchange Theory, the author uses Social Exchange Theory (SET) to explore reasons why individuals decide to disclose personal information to companies. The object of exchange implied by this approach draws on rather strong background assumptions like an objective givenness or unity of information as an object of study. Granted that individuals entertain relationships to companies it may indeed be worthwhile to analyze the impact of such relationships on the disclosure of private information in return for gratifications expected. The assumption about the applicability of SET to privacy issues is tested by empirical methods, i.e. qualitative interviews and three online surveys. The author provides clear descriptions of the methods and reasons for using each approach and also delivers a satisfying discussion of the theory.“
Dr. Jacobs and Dr. King will be recognized during a presentation at iConference 2019, which takes place March 31 – April 3 in Washington DC. iConference 2019 is expected to draw more than 500 information scholars and researchers from around the world, and registration is open now, with discounted early rates available through Jan. 21.
The iSchools will begin accepting nominations for next year’s Doctoral Dissertation Award in July. All member schools are invited to submit a nomination. The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award was established in 2013 to honor outstanding work in the information field. Details on previous honorees can be found here.
The iConference 2019 program schedule is now available for viewing. Presented in a searchable, interactive format, presenters can quickly find their session by putting their last name or title fragment into the search field.
Conference 2019 will take place March 31 – April 3 in Washington DC. Conference registration is now open, with discounted early rates available through January 18. A limited supply of specially priced rooms are available at the conference hotel; lodging details can be found on our venue page, along with additional information about travel, visas, and letters of invitation.
A quick look at this year’s program schedule reveals more than 75 peer reviewed papers, 13 Workshop, 14 interactive sessions, and much more. Keynote speakers include Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Kentaro Toyama of Microsoft Research India, and Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive. Visit the conference website for additional details.
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 the Syracuse University iSchool and the iSchool at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Sponsors include the Computing Research Association, Emerald Publishing, Elsevier, MDPI and ALISE.
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.
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