Projects

App Authors: Closing the App Gap II

2014 – present
Deborah Stevenson
Kate McDowell
$248,205 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

The focus of this three-year, multisite project is development of app-based curricula and tools for use in school and public libraries. These tools will teach children aged eight to twelve how to build their own apps, providing them with early programming experience, and allow them to share their creations with other children. The project further establishes libraries as places to engage youth...

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Bridging the "Two Cultures": The Architecture of the New British Library

2016 – present
Alistair Black

Opened in 1997, the new British Library at St. Pancras, London was designed as a building of two main volumes, one devoted to the arts and humanities, the other to science, technology and business. This dichotomy echoed the debate set in motion in 1959 by the publication of C.P. Snow's The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. The project asked in which ways this debate fed through into...

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Children, Comics, and Print Culture

2015 – present
Carol Tilley
$19,036 Total Funding
University of Illinois Research Board

This project expands Tilley’s investigation of comics from the perspective of readers, a much-neglected group in both contemporary and historical research. Comics readership among young people peaked in the mid-twentieth century with levels reaching near 100%, yet there has been little scholarly investigation of this phenomenon.

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Computational Impact Assessment of Issue Focused Media and Information Products

2015 – present
Jana Diesner
$150,000 Total Funding
Ford Foundation

Films are produced, screened and perceived as part of a larger and continuously changing ecosystem that involves multiple stakeholders and themes. This project will measure the impact of social justice documentaries by capturing, modeling and analyzing the map of these stakeholders and themes in a systematic, scalable and analytically rigorous fashion.

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DataONE (Observation Network for Earth)

2013 – present
Bertram Ludäscher
$416,623 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) is a collaborative, global project that is laying the groundwork for a new, innovative approach to conducting environmental science research. DataONE is a distributed framework and sustainable infrastructue poised to resolve many of the key challenges that hinder the realization of more global, open, and reproducible science, through four...

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Donna Haraway is our "Friend": Reconfiguring Friendship Bracelets and Bibliography

2016 – present
Bonnie Mak

This project uses the friendship bracelet as a way to "re-weave" the academic canon. Friendship bracelets are handmade macramé bracelets of embroidery thread, intended to be worn as a sign of lasting friendship. In this collaboration with Julia Pollack (MS '12), bracelets have been woven with bibliographical references to important work of women in the field of knowledge-production.

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Enhancing the Cyber Security Workforce—The Human Angle

2013 – present
Masooda Bashir
$161,708 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

The United States is a world leader in technological innovation. However, as our technology has advanced, the need for cyber security experts has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, the U.S. lacks the cyber security workforce needed to manage many of the threats our society faces.

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Exploring the Benefits for Users of Linked Open Data for Digitized Special Collections

Tim Cole
$247,675 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

This project, conducted collaboratively by the iSchool and the University Library, will further our understanding of four translational research questions:

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From Voluntary to State Action: Laissez-faire Philosophy and the Early Public Library Movement in Britain

2015 – present
Alistair Black

The public library system in Britain today is reeling under the impact of neo-liberalist attitudes to the role of the state in society. This contrasts starkly with attitudes to public libraries when they were first proposed and established in the middle decades of the nineteenth century.

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HathiTrust + Bookworm Project

2014 – present
J. Stephen Downie
$504,373 Total Funding
National Endowment for the Humanities

The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is partnering with the Cultural Observatory team that developed the Google Books Ngram Viewer together with Google. The goal of this collaboration is to implement a greatly enhanced open-source version of the Cultural Observatory’s open-source “Bookworm” text analysis and visualization tool designed to assist scholars to meet the challenges posed by the...

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HathiTrust Research Center: New Opportunities through Computational Analysis of HathiTrust Digital Library 2014-2018

2014 – present
J. Stephen Downie
$1,000,000 Total Funding
HathiTrust

The HathiTrust has provided funding for the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), colocated at University of Illinois and Indiana University, to serve as the research arm of the HathiTrust and create an agile, technology-rich service for researchers in the digital humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and informatics.

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Illinois Digital Innovation Leadership Program

2014 – present
$300,000 Total Funding
University of Illinois Extension

The Illinois Digital Innovation Leadership Program will increase opportunities for entrepreneurship, economic development, and innovation through the expansion of digital manufacturing, digital media production, and data analytics.

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INDICATOR: An Information System for Monitoring the Health of a Community

2007 – present
Ian Brooks
$300,723 Total Funding

INDICATOR is a novel information system for collecting, integrating, and analyzing data from multiple sources to provide public health decision makers real-time data on the health of their community. Data comes from sources as varied as emergency department visits, school attendance, veterinary clinics, and social media postings and together have been used to change public policy in outbreak...

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Information and War: The Intelligence Branch and Library of Britain's War Office, 1873-1914

2016 – present
Alistair Black

Intelligence has always been an aspect of organized warfare. It was not until the 1870s, however, that the British Army effectively recognised this formally by establishing a dedicated division named the "Intelligence Branch," to be supported by libraries spread across a number of locations. The project explores the ways in which these services developed before the First World War and,...

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Information Forum Requirements to Promote Knowledge Capture, Knowledge Sharing, and Community Interaction on the VHA Data Portal

2014 – present
Caryn L. Anderson
Catherine Blake
Michael Twidale
$162,953 Total Funding
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

iSchool faculty members Catherine Blake and Michael Twidale are working as expert advisors to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Information Resource Center (VIReC) on a project to analyze the socio-technical aspects of VA’s HSRData-L Listserv. VIReC is a VA Health Service Research & Development Service (HSR&D) resource center that supports VA researchers in need of information...

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Information's Allure

2016 – present
Bonnie Mak

One of the enduring attractions of books is their ability to stand witness to their own presence through time and space. A history of social interaction is marked on the pages of a book; a folded corner, a stain from a careless reader's cup of coffee, and a thoughtful comment in the margin accrue and transmit something of where the book has been, with whom, and under what circumstances.

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Language Change in Text Retrieval

Miles Efron
$49,429 Total Funding
Google

In order for older texts to be searchable, contemporary English needs to be translated into language from various historical timeframes. The project will develop software that will let people enter a query in contemporary English, and search over English texts throughout history—from Medieval times to the present day. The project will mostly involve training statistical models that assign...

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Mapping Information Access

2013 – present
Emily Knox

Mapping Information Access is a collaborative academic research project to study and understand the landscape of information access and availability in public schools and libraries in the United States.

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Microblog Search

Miles Efron
$68,277 Total Funding
Google

Microblogging services like Twitter are becoming an important part of how many people manage information in their day to day activities. As microblog traffic increases (Twitter currently sees about 50 million tweets per day) information management and organization will become keen problems in this area. The project will define the core problems in microblog search and propose solutions to...

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Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Network Analysis for Medical Information Classification and Impact Assessment

2014 – present
Jana Diesner
$299,998 Total Funding
Intelligent Medical Objects

Diesner’s team is developing a natural-language processing solution for probabilistic entity detection and classification in the domain of healthcare. The core of the solution are prediction models built by using supervised and/or semi-supervised machine learning techniques. The resulting models can be used to annotate natural language text data documents for entity classes.

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NCSA Faculty Fellowship: Predictive Modeling for Impact Assessment

2015 – present
Jana Diesner
$24,323 Total Funding
National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner a received an Faculty Fellowship and seed funding for her project, “Predictive Modeling for Impact Assessment,” from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Diesner collaborates closely with NCSA scientists on the project, which builds on her work developing computational solutions to assess the impact of issue-focused information projects...

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Preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage

2015 – present
Jerome McDonough
Lori Kendall
Maria Bonn
$25,500 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The past decade has seen tremendous progress in the field of preservation, particularly with respect to preservation of digital materials. To date, however, there has been only minimal research activity within North America on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage—such as language, cuisine, performing arts, and traditional craftsmanship—and its relationship to the preservation of...

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Query Modeling Using Intra-Entity Knowledge Base Structure

2015 – present
Miles Efron
$22,130 Total Funding
Google

This project aims to improve search engine effectiveness by using knowledge base (KB) entries to inform query expansion. While the intersection of KBs and information retrieval (IR) is a growing research area, this project proposes a novel approach to KB-based query modeling. In particular, this project proposes to let the structure that KB authors impose within individual KB entries guide the...

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Rapid Prototyping of Semantic Enhancements to Biodiversity Informatics Platforms

2014 – present
Michael Twidale
$292,306 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

Taxonomists are scientists who describe the world’s biodiversity. These descriptions of millions of species allow scientists to do many different kinds of research, including basic biology, environmental science, climate research, agriculture, and medicine. The problem is that describing any one species is not easy. The language used by taxonomists to describe their data is complex, and...

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Repository Services for Accessible Course Content

2015 – present
J. Stephen Downie
$7,173 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Across the country, colleges and universities are struggling to meet demand for accessible forms of course materials for students with an array of disabilities. At present, each institution is addressing this problem individually, at great expense, and often without full campus coordination, much less consortial collaboration. Locating digital files is difficult and entails numerous sources....

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Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis

2015 – present
J. Stephen Downie
$15,000 Total Funding
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Music prints and manuscripts created over the past thousand years sit on the shelves of libraries and museums around the globe. As these organizations digitize their collections, images of these scores are increasingly accessible online. However, the musical content remains difficult to search.

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Socio-technical Data Analytics (SODA) Education

2012 – present
Catherine Blake
$498,777 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

This project will create both a master’s and doctoral-level specialization in Socio-technical Data Analytics (SODA). Partnerships with local researchers and businesses who already work with large data-sets will enable master's graduates to receive first-hand experience with both the social and technical implications of large digital data collections, and thus be well-prepared for leadership...

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Something Beautiful: Social Justice, Empathy, and Cultural Competence in Children’s Books

2016 – present
Nicole A. Cooke

Picture books, such as those in the Marantz Collection (Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science), play an important role in developing literacy in our library users—from traditional literacy (as it relates to reading), to visual literacy, to cultural literacy. Exposing patrons of all ages to the messages contained in children’s literature can have lasting and...

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Temporal Factors

2012 – present
Miles Efron
$408,908 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

Time affects information retrieval in many ways. Collections of documents change as new items are indexed. The content of documents themselves may change. Users submit queries at particular moments in time. And perhaps most importantly, people’s assessment of a document’s relevance to a query is often time-dependent. For example, searchers of news archives might seek information on a past...

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Text Mining the Novel: Establishing the Foundations of a New Discipline

2014 – present
Ted Underwood
J. Stephen Downie
$142,000 Total Funding
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

This HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) project seeks to produce the first large-scale cross-cultural study of the novel according to quantitative methods. Ever since its putative rise in the eighteenth century, the novel has emerged as a central means of expressing what it means to be modern.

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The Carnegie Scholars

2015 – present
Nicole A. Cooke

From 1970-1972 the Graduate School of Library Science at the University of Illinois (now the School of Information Sciences) welcomed and educated twenty-eight students of color known as The Carnegie Scholars. Spearheaded by faculty member Dr. Terry Crowley, he described the Carnegie Scholars program as “an unusual, flawed, but ultimately successful program to increase the number of...

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The Education of Things: Mechanical Literacies in British Culture (1760-1860)

2016 – present
Elizabeth Hoiem

This project examines writers who represent education as an embodied experience, with learning and literacy grounded in what they called “object learning” or “the education of things.” Denouncing rote-learning in favor of an induction method, object lessons promised to coordinate the development of body and mind by using the pupil’s senses as a catalyst for higher cognitive thought.

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Transforming Taxonomic Interfaces

Michael Twidale
$421,200 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

The goal of this research is to help researchers develop and use relatively simple tools to describe species in a way that make those descriptions easier to share with other scientists and easier for computers to process and analyze. The approach is bottom-up and iterative, involving the rapid prototyping of tools, combining of existing tools, and the tailoring of applications developed for...

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Understanding Search Literacy and Search Skills Adoption: How People Solve Technical Problems via Search

2015 – present
Michael Twidale
$65,000 Total Funding
Google

Despite the ubiquity of search in many people’s daily lives, a lack of search literacy can make it difficult to find solutions to technical problems, such as completing software-based tasks like troubleshooting program installations.

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Understanding the Needs of Scholars in a Contemporary Publishing Environment

2015 – present
Allen Renear
$1,000,000 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“Understanding the Needs of Scholars in a Contemporary Publishing Environment,” better know as Publishing Without Walls (PWW), is a digital scholarly publishing initiative that is scholar-driven, openly accessible, scalable, and sustainable. PWW will directly engage with scholars throughout the research process.

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Unpacking the Librarian's Cabinet of Curiosity

2011 – present
Bonnie Mak
$6,500 Total Funding
University of Illinois Research Board

For over two millennia, librarians have played a critical role in the production and transmission of knowledge. They have helped to collect, catalogue, and curate a vast range of materials that constitute much of our cultural heritage—from epic poetry on papyrus scrolls to PDFs of scholarly articles.

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Workforce Training: A Quasi-Experimental Approach Using the Effects of Research Funding

2013 – present
Vetle Torvik
$175,918 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

This project examines the impact of different research funding structures on the training of future scientists, particularly graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and the impact on their subsequent outcomes. Our proposed research begins by examining the way in which research (and most training) is funded and done. We classify projects by whether they are large or small scale (by funding...

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