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.


University of Texas Information and Culture Journal Seeks Contributions


Information & Culture: A Journal of History is actively soliciting articles for publication. Printed quarterly by the University of Texas Press, the jounal publishes high-quality, peer reviewed articles on topics related to the history of information.

The social and cultural context of information and information technology, viewed from an historical perspective, is at the heart of the journal’s interests. Typical papers might focus, for example, on the histories of information institutions, agencies, domains, or businesses; the history of information work and workers; the history of information in everyday life; the history of information and communication practices; the history of information artifacts (ranging from books to computers, information infrastructures and networks); the history of the organization and classification of information; the history of concepts and theories in the information domain; and intellectual and theoretical approaches for writing information history.

Instructions for contributors are available at http://www.infoculturejournal.org/submissions

The intention is to juxtapose papers on a wide variety of topics related to the history of information so as to stimulate connections between the research of library historians, information science historians, historians of computing, labor historians, gender historians, economic historians, business historians, political and diplomatic historians, cultural studies scholars, critical theorists, and science and technology scholars.


Texas iSchool renames conservation lab to honor $2.3M donation


The University of Texas at Austin School of Information has received a $2.3 million gift from the estate of Judge William Wayne and Margaret Kilgarlin. The funds will support the iSchool’s areas of conservation and preservation and provide $1.38 million for student support.

To honor the Kilgarlins and their contribution to the iSchool, Dean and Professor Andrew Dillon announced the school is naming its paper conservation lab The William and Margaret Kilgarlin Information Preservation Lab. The lab will be housed in the iSchool at 1616 Guadalupe Street and will serve as a focal point for extended teaching in modern information preservation and conservation.

“This is the largest gift we’ve received from an individual donor and provides us with a tremendous opportunity to advance our research and teaching,” Dean Dillon said.

Judge Kilgarlin died in 2012 at the age of 79. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

The son of a refinery worker from Houston, Judge Kilgarlin was a member of the Texas House of Representatives in the late 1950s. He later became a district judge in Harris County. From 1982 to 1988, Judge Kilgarlin served as a justice of the Texas Supreme Court, where his colleagues described him as warm, fiercely intelligent, and devoted to defending the rights of the underprivileged.

“Bill Kilgarlin was a Texas legal legend,” said former Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, according to an obituary released by the court. “He had a passion for fairness, and his opinions as a judge and his briefs as a lawyer were skillfully crafted in memorable and persuasive prose.”

Learn more at https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/news/school-renames-conservation-lab-honor-donor


Dr. Sam Oh Elected iCaucus Chair


Washington D.C.—The iSchools organization announces the election of Dr. Sam Oh of the Sungkyunkwan University iSchool in Korea to the position of iCaucus Chair. The iCaucus is the governing body of the iSchools organization, and Dr. Oh is the organization’s first chair from the Asia-Pacific Region. He has pledged to continue the iSchools’ mission of advancing the information field, while also expanding the organization’s reach.

2014 Sam Oh“It is truly an honor to be the new iSchools Caucus chair-elect,” said Dr. Oh. “As the first person from the Asia-Pacific region to take on this responsibility, I consider it my express duty to promote the iSchool brand where it has remained less visible. I am grateful to those who have supported me and will do my utmost to represent the iSchool both in areas already at its forefront and in regions that have the greatest need of exposure to its initiatives.”

Dr. Oh’s election was formally announced on Monday, January 11, 2016. He will serve as chair-elect during the 2016-2017 term of iCaucus Chair Ron Larsen of the University of Pittsburgh, and then assume the role of iCaucus chair for the 2018-2019 term.

The election was presided over by outgoing iCaucus Chair Michael Seadle of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, who had this to say: “I am very pleased that the iSchools have elected Sam Oh from Korea as the new chair-elect. Sam has been the leader of the Asia-Pacific region of the iSchools, and his election represents another significant step in the internationalization of the organization.”

Dr. Oh earned his Ph.D. in Information Transfer from Syracuse University in 1995 and worked as an assistant professor at the University of Washington Information School for four years before returning to South Korea to become a professor at the Sungkyunkwan University iSchool. He has taught summer courses at the University of Texas at Austin; Syracuse University; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also spent a sabbatical year at the University of Pittsburgh iSchool. Dr. Oh served as the chair of ISO TC46/SC9 (Identification and Description) for six years and is currently the chair of ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 (Document Description & Processing Languages). He is a member of the DCMI governing board and the iCaucus executive committee, as well as chair of the Asia-Pacific iSchools. His expertise lies in the fields of metadata design, social/big data analytics, and data/ontology modeling.

The iSchools organization is a worldwide association of 65 information schools dedicated to advancing 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.

The iSchools organization is responsible for the iConference, 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. In addition to his duties as iCaucus Chair, Dr. Oh will serve as co-chair of iConference 2017, which will be co-hosted by Sungkyunkwan University Library & Information Science and Data Science Department and the Wuhan University School of Information Management; the event will be held in Wuhan China.

In the meantime, this year’s iConference, which is the eleventh in the series, is hosted by the Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics, and takes place March 20-23, 2016 in Philadelphia. The theme is Partnership with Society, and registration is now open.


UT Austin Launches Master’s Program in Identity Management and Security


“AUSTIN, Texas (USA) — The University of Texas at Austin will start a first-of-its-kind Master of Science in Identity Management and Security (MSIMS) program, welcoming its first class of students in the spring of 2016. The new MSIMS graduate degree is a result of collaboration between the university’s School of Information and the Center for Identity.

The MSIMS program is designed to educate a new generation of professionals capable of delivering the business practices, policy, communications and technology solutions to protect personal information in today’s global digital economy. The MSIMS program will prepare students to fill a growing demand to guarantee trusted transactions, combat identity theft and fraud, and protect privacy.

Graduates will benefit from a multidisciplinary approach. Faculty members from across the UT Austin campus — including the School of Information, the Cockrell School of Engineering, the McCombs School of Business, the Moody College of Communication and LBJ School of Public Affairs — will teach in the program.”
Read more