UNC iSchool receives Mellon grant for machine learning project tied to email curation


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a grant for $1.1 million from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a project to develop a toolset that will enable institutions to more quickly and efficiently process emails included in born-digital collections. The project will specifically explore the use of machine learning to separate irrelevant emails from those that should be preserved, and will apply natural language processing methods to identify topics of interest within those records so the messages can be tagged for improved organization and retrieval.

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) is partnering with the State Archives of North Carolina under the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NC DNCR) for the two-year project. The Review, Appraisal, and Triage of Mail (RATOM) project’s goals are particularly significant for organizations, including libraries, archives and museums (LAMs), that need to provide public access to records while protecting private information.

RATOM project personnel include SILS Professor Christopher “Cal” Lee, who will serve as Principal Investigator (PI), as well as SILS Research Scientist Kam Woods (Co-PI) and DARNC Section Head of Digital Services Camille Tyndall Watson (Co-PI).

Click here for more details on the UNC website.


International Conference on Knowledge Management to focus on actionable end-goals of iSchools and Knowledge Management


This year’s International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM) will highlight the potential collaborations among iSchools and schools of Knowledge Management. More specifically, it will focus on the need of both to make themselves more visible and useful through an emphasis on relevant action. Although mining, collection, storage, etc. are essential functions of the professionals associated with these schools, there is a larger end goal to which these efforts are focused. They enable decision-making, spark change, help society understand the implications of technological change, and lead efforts toward increased social justice.

The conference will be highlighted by an address from keynote speaker Gary Marchionini. Marchionini is Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; he was also recently elected to the iSchools Board of Directors. His keynote, “iSchools as Crucible: Melding public good, technical efficiency, and knowledge,” will mark an important time to reflect on iSchools and schools of Knowledge Management as places where students do not merely create things, but they consider the deeper issues that foster trust in these things.

iSchools are invited to submit proposals for research papers, experience reports, works-in-progress posters—in addition to several other options—to join this conversation about the ways in which actions associated with information and knowledge can go further to contribute to this “public good.” Submissions are open for this conference until July 15.

To submit a proposal, visit the ICKM website and click on “Submit Now.” Accepted papers will be considered for publication in special issues of several journals.

This is the 14th conference in the ICKM series. This year’s conference will be held prior to ASIS&T in Vancouver, November 9-10. Discounted rates are available for those wishing to attend both conferences. See the ICKM website for further details.


UNC iSchool welcomes three new tenure-track faculty members


The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) has hired three new tenure-track faculty members, with appointments beginning July 1.

Sayamindu Dasgupta, Marijel “Maggie” Melo, and Yue Wang bring expertise in engaging children with data science, creating inclusive makerspaces, and mining insights from health data, respectively. They will join the SILS faculty as assistant professors, and begin teaching courses for the school this fall. Click here for details.

“We are thrilled to welcome these three dynamic new professors to SILS,” said SILS Dean Gary Marchionini. “They will further strengthen SILS’ research excellence in health informatics, data science, and modern librarianship.”


UNC offering NSF-funded workshop on data lifecycle training for grad students and postdocs


The NSF Cyber Carpentry Workshop: Data Lifecycle Training is a two-week summer training program aimed at helping graduate students understand the many aspects of the data-intensive computing environment. The workshop will take place July 16- 27, 2018, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Travel and accommodations will be provided for accepted participants, and a certificate of completion from the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) will be awarded at the end of the training.

The workshop is open to doctoral students and postdocs in basic sciences and computational sciences. Women, applicants from underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on March 15 to receive full consideration. For more information and a link to the application form, visit the UNC Cyber Carpentry Training website.

The Cyber Carpentry workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant awarded to Arcot Rajasekar, Frances McColl Distinguished Term Professor at UNC SILS.

Workshops topics will be taught by researchers who participated in the successful DataNet Federation Consortium (DFC), an NSF-funded project to develop national data management infrastructure to support collaborative multidisciplinary research. Drawing from their own expertise and their experiences with the DFC from 2013 through 2017, instructors will focus on providing students with an overview of best data management practices, data science tools, methods for performing end-to-end data intensive computing, data lifecycle management, and promoting reproducible science and data reuse.

Click here for more informaiton on the UNC iSchool website.


UNC professors awarded NSF grant to develop systems that utilize search trails


Have you ever been struggling to find information on a particularly complex topic and thought “I can’t possibly be the first person to look for this”? You probably were not, and the searchers who preceded you may have left valuable “search trails” – including queries issued, results clicked, pages viewed, pages bookmarked, and annotations entered – that could help you locate what you need.

Rob Capra and Jaime Arguello, professors at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant worth nearly $500,000 to develop and evaluate systems that will automatically display relevant search trails as a form of search assistance to users. The project has the potential to improve a broad range of systems, including web search engines used by millions, digital libraries, and enterprise and website-specific search engines.

“Prior research has suggested the usefulness of search trails, but has not answered key research challenges required to design and implement them,” Capra said. “The system needs to predict when to display search trails to a user, which trails to display, and how to display them in a way that supports the user’s goal.”

Capra and Arguello will execute their project in three phases. Phase 1 will determine which factors of the user, task, and system influence whether a searcher wants help, for what purpose, and whether they are able to gain useful information. Phase 2 will develop models for predicting when to show trails to a user based on user and task features, as well as behavioral measures that indicate whether a searcher is having difficulty. Finally, Phase 3 will develop models for predicting which trails to show for the current search session.

Read more on the UNC iSchool website.


UNC health informatics program awarded $3.1 million from NIH-NLM


The Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Library of Medicine (NLM) T15 Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Training grant. Only a handful of U.S. organizations were selected for this highly-competitive and prestigious award, which will provide approximately $3.1 million for doctoral student support, post-doctoral appointments, and short-term summer training for undergraduate students. The grant will serve as a significant resource for CHIP’s recently established PhD in health informatics.

“CHIP has already made great strides in improving health data analytics and analytics systems usability through our master’s degree and certificate programs,” said CHIP Director and UNC Professor Javed Mostafa, who is the lead investigator on the T15 grant. “Research by doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, guided by CHIP’s world-class, interdisciplinary faculty, will advance this success even further, helping to improve the quality of health care for North Carolina citizens and the world.”

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) is a lead partner in the CHIP program, which draws faculty and expertise from units across campus, including the UNC School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Pubic Health, UNC School of Nursing, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC School of Dentistry, and Computer Science Department. Read more>


UNC’s Amelia Gibson receives IMLS Early Career Award


UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Assistant Professor Amelia Gibson has received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Early Career Award to support a project titled “Deconstructing Information Poverty: Identifying, Supporting, and Leveraging Local Expertise in Marginalized Communities.”

The three-year project, which received over $336,600 in funding from IMLS, will examine the potential for libraries to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families fulfill their information needs and reduce information poverty in local ASD communities. It will also investigate how members of marginalized communities can act as self-advocates on a local level, and how libraries can recognize, empower, and educate all members of their communities through programming, planning, and collection development.

Gibson will collaborate with the Durham and Charlotte Public Libraries and the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) for the project, which will culminate in the development and dissemination of an online toolkit that describes community assessment and engagement processes.

Click here for more on the UNC website.


UNC’s David Gotz awarded $1 million by NSF for advanced data visualization methods


David Gotz, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and Assistant Director of the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP), has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant worth over $1 million to develop a set of contextual visualization methods that will improve analysis of complex data sets. Gotz and his team will evaluate the new methods in a health outcomes setting, offering significant potential to improve health care through data analytics. Ultimate goals for the four-year project include the development of open-source software that can help advance data visualization accuracy and efficacy for enterprises around the world.

“Datasets can have many thousands of variables, a stark contrast to the relatively small number of dimensions supported by current visualization tools,” Gotz said. “The gap between what the data contains and what the visualization shows can put the validity of any analysis at great risk of bias, potentially leading to serious, hidden errors. This research project will develop a new approach to high-dimensional exploratory visualization that will help detect and reduce selection bias and other problems.”

Gotz and his team will build on the premise that the very summarization that makes many visual methods effective also inherently obscures important aspects of a high-dimensional datasets. In other words, people cannot fully understand complex data, or make good decisions based on that data, if they are relying on a visualization that omits or misrepresents the context of the findings.

Read more at https://sils.unc.edu/news/2017/gotz-nsf


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.”

Read more at https://sils.unc.edu/news/2017/OSSArcFlow


iSchools Video Contest Results: Winners hail from Spain, the U.S., and China


The iSchools Organization is pleased to announce the winners of its inaugural video contest. First place honors, including a $5,000 prize, went to Unleash the Power, a video submitted by the Department of Library and Information Sciences at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and coordinated by faculty member Francisco Javier Calzada-Prado. Additional honorees hailed from Asia and North America.

“We feel deeply honored to receive this award, and humbled that our work may contribute to raise the visibility of iSchools and the information profession,” said Calzada-Prado.

The iSchools Video Contest charged entrants with creating a short promotional video positioning the information field and information schools as exciting, new programs that educate undergraduate and/or graduate students to solve the information problems of the 21st century. The competition ran from September, 2015 through the end of January, 2016, and offered prizes of $5,000 USD for first place, $2,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. In addition, the top five honorees are eligible for a $1,000 travel grant to accept their award in person at iConference 2016, which takes place March 20-23 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Over a dozen entries were received from across the globe – participants included students, faculty, staff, and alumni from nine different iSchools in six countries. After careful review from a panel of iSchool leaders, the following have been awarded:

First Place:
Unleash the Power
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid – Department of Library and Information Sciences
(Javier Calzada-Prado; Ana Reyes Pacios-Lozano; Mª Jesús Martínez-Pestaña; Teresa Malo de Molina; Carlos Javier Corral Campos; Sabela de Dios Paz; Andreu Fullana Arias; Harvey Holtom)

Second Place:
iSchool: School for This Century
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – School of Information and Library Science
(Kevin McCraney)

Third Place:
What is an iSchool?
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – School of Information and Library Science
(Nico Carver)

Fourth Place:
My iSchool
University of California, Irvine – Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
(Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences Communications Office)

Fifth Place:
Viewing the World Amid Remote Mountains
Wuhan University – School of Information Management
(Panlei Zhang)

More about the iSchools Video Contest honorees can be found here.

“With a winner from Europe and additional honorees from the United States and Asia, the demographics of our contest truly reflect the international nature of the iSchools organization and the caliber of work being done at information schools worldwide,” said iSchools Executive Director David Fenske.

The iSchools Video Contest winners will be recognized at iConference 2016, which takes place March 20-23, 2016, in Philadelphia. Their videos will be debuted to attendees, and links will be posted on the iSchools website at that time. The iConference is an international gathering of scholars and researchers concerned with critical information issues in contemporary society. The iConference is presented by the iSchools organization, and hosted each year by a different member school. The 2016 host is the Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics; this year’s conference theme is Partnership with Society, and registration is now open.

The iSchools Organization is a worldwide association of information schools dedicated to advancing research and studies in the information field. These schools, colleges, and departments have been newly created or are evolving from programs formerly focused on specific tracks such as information technology, library science, informatics, information science, and more.