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Mar. 3, 2016

Thanks to research conducted by Associate Professor Carol Tilley, the work of one of the most influential anti-comics voices has been debunked. Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s evidence of the negative effects of comic readership on young people hasn’t been taken seriously by scholars in decades, but a new discovery by Tilley shows that even when Wertham’s claims were taken as fact by many—in the 1940s and 1950s—a small but vocal group was already questioning his methods.

One of those who spoke out against Wertham was David Pace Wigransky, a teen whose letter in the Saturday Review of Literature gained attention for challenging Wertham’s claims in 1948.

Tilley recently discovered another piece by Wigransky, a satire of Wertham’s life and work in a most fitting medium—the comic book. She gives a detailed account of...

Feb. 26, 2016

A new book by alumnus David Hunter (PhD '89), The Lives of George Frideric Handel, is part biography and part genre case study. The famous composer’s life has been documented in numerous biographies, which Hunter scrutinized to differentiate history from interpretation. His findings led to this new work, which was published recently by Boydell Press.

From the publisher’s description: To evaluate the familiar, even over-familiar, story of Handel's life could be seen as a quixotic endeavour. How can there be anything new to say? This book seeks to distinguish fact from fiction, not only to produce a new biography but also to explore the concepts of biography and dissemination by using Handel's life and lives as a case study. By...

Feb. 25, 2016

Associate Professor Bonnie Mak will travel to the United Arab Emirates in March to take part in a workshop at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Institute. “Charisma of the Book: Global Perspectives for the 21st Century,” will be held March 12-14.

Mak will be among twenty-five invited scholars and book artists from around the world who will gather together to engage in conversations on “the history and future of the book, exploring comparative and interdisciplinary interpretations and applications of the concept of charisma.” The group will address questions such as, “How might the concept of charisma illuminate the materialization—and marginalization—of the book's cultural status and social power in the digital age? What does a transcultural history of the physical artifact of the book reveal about the social interfaces and media platforms...

Feb. 24, 2016

William H. Dutton, Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy at Michigan State University, will deliver the Spring 2016 Windsor Lecture at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 14, in GSLIS Room 126. His lecture is titled, "Information Power Shifts and the Fifth Estate." A reception will be held in the GSLIS east foyer immediately following the lecture.

Lecture abstract:
The concept of the Fifth Estate provides a fresh perspective on the political role of the Internet. Digital democracy researchers most often view the Internet as a tool for supporting traditional democratic institutions, such as in polling, voting, and consultation. However, the Internet is also reshaping access to information in ways that enable networked individuals to develop a new form of social and political accountability, which I have called the...

Feb. 19, 2016

Library Trends, GSLIS’s scholarly publication edited by Professor Alistair Black, issued a two-part special issue in 2014-2015 commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. “Libraries in a Post-Communist World: A Quarter of a Century of Development in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia,” was published as issues two and four of Volume 63 and guest edited by Hermina G.B. Anghelescu, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University and former chair of the Library History Special Interest Group of the International Federation of Library Associations.

The Johns Hopkins University Press, which publishes Library Trends for GSLIS, has produced a two-part podcast highlighting the special issue. In part one, Anghelescu discusses the challenges of locating and...

Oct. 27, 2015

GSLIS Associate Professor Catherine Blake is a co-principal investigator on a newly announced, five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, “A Big Data-Theoretic Approach to Quantify Organizational Failure Mechanisms in Probabilistic Risk Assessment.” Led by Zahra Mohaghegh, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at Illinois, the $899,000 project is funded by two NSF programs: Science of Organizations (SoO) and Big Data Science and Engineering (BIGDATA).

In analyzing many of the world’s most catastrophic events, such as the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, or the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, it is often found that the leadership and structure of an organization plays a key part in the event’s unfolding. This project aims to use computational approaches to better evaluate how the culture of an organization impacts the possibility of disaster. While this project will look specifically at...

Sep. 29, 2015

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded a grant of more than $25,500 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the efforts of GSLIS Associate Professors Jerome McDonough and Lori Kendall and Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn to cultivate a new research community focused specifically on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.

The project, “Preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage,” will assemble a meeting of scholars, practitioners, librarians, and conservationists who will formulate a research and action agenda outlining important questions for the scholarly community. The group plans to meet in early 2016, and a white paper detailing their conclusions will be published later in the year.

Discussing the new project, McDonough observed, “Librarians, archivists, and museum curators have long worked to preserve the tangible artifacts of human culture. With the advent of new information and communication technologies, cultural heritage...