An Analysis of Metadata Encoding Standards

David Dubin

Like most XML applications, METS, the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, overloads a small number of generic syntactic relationships (e.g., parent/child) to represent a variety of specific semantic relationships. Human beings correctly infer the meaning of METS markup, and these understandings inform the logic and design of applications that import, export, and transform METS-encoded...


An informational history of the British Diplomatic Service

Alistair Black

In October 2009 the BBC aired a short series of radio programmes entitled Parting Shots. The programmes featured a series of final communications, called valedictory despatches, from British Ambassadors leaving their posts to take up duties elsewhere or retire from the Diplomatic Service.


ARIADNE Collaborative Browsing Project

Michael Twidale

The use of library resources is stereotyped as a solitary activity, with hardly any mention in the library science and information retrieval literature on the social aspects of information systems. However, it is clear that end-users engage in significant collaboration; both with co-searchers, library staff and other interested parties. The skill of locating information is one that a growing...


BECHAMEL Markup Semantics Project

David Dubin

Markup licenses inferences about a text. But the information warranting such inferences may not be entirely explicit in the syntax of the markup language used to encode the text. This paper describes a Prolog environment for exploring alternative approaches to representing facts and rules of inference about structured documents. It builds on earlier work proposing an account of how markup...


Building Broadband Infrastructure

Kate Williams
$108,000 Total Funding
Ford Foundation

This project, a subaward from the University of Michigan, compares broadband development processes and outcomes across three leading domestic broadband initiatives: the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), and the experimental Google Fiber initiative.


Buildings of Hope

Alistair Black
$16,250 Total Funding
University of Illinois Research Board

Against the backdrop of a powerful desire for national modernization, the Long 1960s (c. 1955-1975) witnessed attempts to build, literally, a better post-war Britain. The unprecedented burst of building activity that marked the post-war years included the planning and construction of hundreds of public library buildings, clothed in a variety of modernist styles symbolic of the period's spirit...


Chicago Community Informatics

Kate Williams
$199,796 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

In this Early Career Development project, Williams used a social capital/social network model to research actual and potential IT use in six disadvantaged communities across Chicago. The research analyzed how people and communities are already using computers and the Internet, and how their own lives and identities might be represented as part of our nation's cyberinfrastructure.


Closing the App Gap: From Plan to Project I

Deborah Stevenson
Kate McDowell
$46,678 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

This project allies with IMLS’s support of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading with an exploration of the use of tablet computers, apps, and e-books in public libraries as a tool against summer reading loss.


Collaborative Research: BiSciCol Tracker

Linda C. Smith
$35,581 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

“Scientific collections created and used in basic research are an integral part of the nation’s scientific infrastructure. They hold specimens of plants, animals, microbes, fossils, minerals and other artifacts that together comprise a national legacy of biological diversity”. (NSF Scientific Collections Survey, 2009). Individual specimens in these collections serve as the anchor for an...


Collaborative Research: DAT: From grant to commercialization

Vetle Torvik
$455,165 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

This project develops a freely available database that links Medline papers and U.S. patents, through identification of individuals who authored both papers and patents and analysis of citations between papers and patents. These patent-paper-author links will then enable identification of similar organizations and in some cases, science/technology field and geography.


Data Curation Education Program

Allen Renear
$852,502 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

The primary goal of the Data Curation Education Program (DCEP) is to design a program of graduate study that can serve as a model for training data curators (DCs) within the context of a larger LIS education.



Allen Renear
$892,028 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Specific objectives are: 1. Develop and refine a humanities data curation curriculum. 2. Develop a network of internship sites at libraries, museums, digital archives and digital humanities centers. 3. Promote the role of LIS professionals in humanities data curation and expand the understanding of the role of digital data curation in humanities research. 4. Disseminate best practice reports...


Development of International Educational Guidelines for Digital Librarianship

Terry L. Weech
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

Funded by IFLA (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), this research explores the variety of educational models for developing digital librarians around the world. Working with members of the IFLA Education and Training Section the results will be used to determine the feasibility of establishing international guidelines for educating digital librarians.


Digital Humanities Data Curation

Megan Senseney
$144,855 Total Funding
National Endowment for the Humanities

The Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship at the University of Illinois will collaborate with the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland and the Center for Digital Scholarship at Brown University to develop and conduct a series of advanced institutes on data curation for the digital humanities, to be held at the University of...


Entity Extractor

Jana Diesner
Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment

This project proposes to use supervised machine learning to build an entity extractor that is specifically designed for supporting the constructing of socio-technical network data. The resulting probabilistic prediction models and end-user technology are essential for being able to address substantive questions about real-world networks.


Folktales Facets and FRBR

Kathryn La Barre
$15,000 Total Funding
OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research Grant Program

The goal of this multiple-phased research project is the development of a next-generation catalog prototype implementation with enhanced records for access to the folktale collection in the Center for Children's Books that gives special consideration to the shared and unique information seeking tasks of three distinct user groups: scholars, practitioners and laypeople.


How the Page Matters

Bonnie Mak
$9,000 Total Funding
University of Illinois Research Board

Mak's book, "How the Page Matters," historicizes recent debates about eBooks and similar technologies by casting the page as an interface that has been under development since the scrolls of Antiquity. "How the Page Matters" tracks the page through the manuscripts of the Middle Ages, the printed books of the early modern period, and onto digital displays.


How Timeless Are the Classics? Documenting the Children's Canon, 1909-1996

Christine Jenkins

The creation of a searchable electronic database of the titles designated "first purchase" for children's library collections from 1909 to the present.


Implications of a Digital Revolution

Bonnie Mak
$14,000 Total Funding
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities

Notably absent in the current rush to digitize newspapers and books are critical investigations of the processes and products of this work. Such examinations are forestalled, Mak argues, by a rhetoric of revolution that determines how the phenomenon should be constituted and studied, just as it continues to do for the so-called printing revolution of the fifteenth century.


Inclusive Gigabit Libraries

$99,168 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Inclusive Gigabit Libraries: Learn, Discuss and Brainstorm consists of an educational campaign to raise awareness of next generation networks and how libraries might participate in U.S. Ignite-related initiatives; at least six national forums for about 150 library leaders; development of at least five case studies; and a white paper that will synthesize the forums and case studies.


Knowledge Management Portals - High Performing Organizations

$35,735 Total Funding

This research project developed a strategy for implementing knowledge management systems to support collaborative work in disparately located high-performing teams in a large complex organization. This study provided the Air Force Center for Engineering and Environment (AFCEE) with guidance to implement the ANSR knowledge management system using SharePoint.


Language Change in Text Retrieval

$49,429 Total Funding

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...


Language Evolution

Les Gasser

Language is an information system. We're building computer-based models of language evolution so that societies of autonomous agents can develop their own languages, and as a foundation for theories of dynamic information systems of all kinds (e.g. mutually co-adapting distributed subject indexes, website structure evolution).


Librarians Serving Community-based Higher Education: Preparing the Next Generation of Community College Librarians

Linda C. Smith
$354,896 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

This project partners NILRC along with ten libraries in community colleges in Illinois and Missouri to build a diverse professional workforce that understands community-based library staffing and service strategies as well as the challenges of serving a non-traditional, diverse, commuter-based student population. The iSchool will work with the University of Illinois College of Education to...


Markup Languages for Complex Documents

David Dubin

For all the developments in XML since 1998, one thing that has not changed is the understanding of XML documents as serializations of tree structures conforming to the constraints expressed in the document's schema. Notwithstanding XML's many strengths, there are problem areas which invite further research on some of the fundamental assumptions of XML and the document models associated with it...

Mathematical Models in Information Retrieval

David Dubin

Gerard Salton is often credited with developing the vector space model (VSM) for information retrieval (IR). Citations to Salton give the impression that the VSM must have been articulated as an IR model sometime between 1970 and 1975.

Microblog Search

$68,277 Total Funding

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...


MIREX Next Generation

J. Stephen Downie
$399,939 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The “Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange” (MIREX) is the annual cycle of events wherein music information retrieval (MIR) researchers come together to investigate how well their innovative MIR algorithms perform. MIREX has played a pivotal role in the growth and success of the MIR research community, evaluating over 1,068 algorithms across 23 unique MIR task categories.


Mix IT Up!

Linda C. Smith
$904,314 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Mix IT Up! Youth Advocacy Librarianship focuses on creating intentionally structured, youth­-centered, engaged learning opportunities related to information technologies. Mix IT Up! enhances youth services by developing a library and information science (LIS) specialization that dovetails with community informatics and youth service in order to focus on systematically training librarians as...


Multi Agent Systems

Les Gasser

Multi-Agent Systems research at the ISRL covers basic studies of multi-agent systems, including coordination models, computational organization theory, and multi-agent infrastructure. The Multi-Agent Systems Group is home of the MACE3J experimental platform.


Networked Environment for Music Analysis: Phase I

J. Stephen Downie
$1,200,000 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Networked Environment for Music Analysis (NEMA) project is a multinational, multidisciplinary cyberinfrastructure project for music information processing that builds upon and extends the music information retrieval research being conducted by the International Music Information Retrieval Systems Evaluation Laboratory (IMIRSEL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).


News Know-how

$89,697 Total Funding
American Library Association

This project assesses an American Library Association (ALA) “News Know-how” program, which engages librarians, journalists, news ethicists and students across the country in news literacy education.

The evaluation will provide information that will help the ALA and its partners adjust the strategy for delivering this program as well as provide a final evaluation of the overall impact...



Tim Cole
$532,000 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The overarching goals of the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) are to facilitate to emergence of a Web and resource-centric interoperable annotation environment that allows leveraging annotations across the boundaries of annotation clients, annotation servers, and content collections, to demonstrate the utility of this environment, and to see widespread adoption of this environment.


Open Annotation Collaboration

Tim Cole
$673,944 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The overarching goals of the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) are to facilitate to emergence of a Web and resource-centric interoperable annotation environment that allows leveraging annotations across the boundaries of annotation clients, annotation servers, and content collections, to demonstrate the utility of this environment, and to see widespread adoption of this environment.

Over the Shoulder Learning

Michael Twidale
$442,184 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

Outside of conventional classes, outside of schools and universities, how do people learn things? Often they ask a colleague to help show them what to do. It sounds obvious, but all our work on interface design, help systems, manuals and even training seems to ignore it. What would systems be like if they actively tried to support this process? That is what this research tries to address.


Preparing Future Faculty: Enhancing the Doctoral Program

Linda C. Smith
$990,234 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

This project will enhance the doctoral program by building a stronger research community within the school for the study of information in society, including policy, economic, and historical dimensions.


Preserving Creative America: Preserving Virtual Worlds

Jerome McDonough

Interactive media are highly complex and at high risk for loss as technologies rapidly become obsolete. The Preserving Virtual Worlds project will explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction. Major activities will include developing basic standards for metadata and content representation and conducting a series of archiving case studies for early video games,...

Preserving Virtual Worlds II

Jerome McDonough
$785,898 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

The original Preserving Virtual Worlds project, funded by the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIP), investigated what preservation issues arose with computer games and interactive fiction, and how existing metadata and packaging standards might be employed for the long-term preservation of these materials.


Project Bamboo Technology Proposal

Tim Cole
$93,150 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Project Bamboo aims to create research environments for humanities scholars. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will support the Bamboo Phase I Technology Project by:

Quality and Reliability Dynamics

Les Gasser

Temporal and social dynamics of the quality and reliability of information and information systems. How do information systems improve, fail, and fit in their social contexts? How does information quality evolve in large information bases?


Query Modeling Using Intra-Entity Knowledge Base Structure

$22,130 Total Funding

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...


Semantic Analysis for Digital Preservation

David Dubin

Description of structural and semantic relationships and properties of, within, and between resources is seen as a key issue in digital preservation. But the markup languages used to encode descriptions for migration between and storage within digital repositories are subject to the same interpretive problems that complicate other uses of markup. This paper reports on a project that aims to...

Sharing Success: Training Educational Leaders for Youth Services Librarianship

Christine Jenkins
$364,925 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Eight scholarships will be offered over three years to outstanding and diverse students admitted to the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) program. This program will provide continuing education by offering outstanding library practitioners the opportunity to continue their education in a topic related to youth services, and by providing institutional support for these students to develop...


Social Justice Documentaries

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.


Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research (SEASR)

J. Stephen Downie
$359,860 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

SEASR, subawarded through Stanford University, fosters collaboration by empowering scholars to share data and research in virtual work environments. This eases scholars’ access to digital research materials, which currently are stored in a variety of incompatible formats.


Sowing Seeds

$116,457 Total Funding
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

The Sowing Seeds project will establish a new community technology center (CTC) in Danville, Illinois, and expand basic training to this and four existing CTCs in Champaign-Urbana and East St. Louis, Illinois. Basic skills are just the gateway, however. The grant will allow for expansion of our advanced digital media training focused on the development of skills necessary to meet the NETS...


Staff magazines in organizations before the age of the computer

Alistair Black

Staff magazines in British organizations – from hospitals to government departments, from libraries to the first multi-national companies – first emerged in the late-nineteenth century. They varied widely in circulation numbers, quality and editorial control. Staff magazines were a notable (though strangely overlooked by historians) product of the pre-computer information management revolution...


Statewide Illinois Broadband Research

Kate Williams
$8,794 Total Funding
University of Illinois Research Board

This proposal seeks add-on funding for a two-year Ford Foundation study begun in fall 2010: SIBR, or Statewide Illinois Broadband Research. The research uses the theory and methods of community informatics to ask: How will high-speed internet, specifically the federal broadband projects funded by the 2009 Recovery Act, impact society? We aim to find out: Is this public policy working? How?


Strategies for Sustainable Broadband Adoption in Illinois: The Case of UC2B

$57,009 Total Funding
Partnership for a Connected Illinois

The goal of this research study is to examine the social and economic impact of the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (“UC2B”) project.  The funding will support the analysis and reporting of the social and economic impact of the adoption of broadband services provided by the UC2B program and the development of a data archive to organize all of the data used to perform the analysis and reporting...


Structural Analysis of Large Amounts of Music Information (SALAMI)

J. Stephen Downie
$99,476 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

Structural analysis of music (formal analysis) is one of the most fundamental analyses performed by music researchers, usually preceding any other types of analysis because it provides the overall view of the piece. Its importance is reflected by the fact that the course on formal analysis is often one of the core music undergraduate music curricula with several major textbooks on the subject...


Temporal Factors

$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...


TextTransfer: Corpus-Based Detection of Secondary Use of Scientific Publications

2017 – present
Jana Diesner
$109,936 Total Funding

In this collaborative project, we are using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to identify secondary practical uses of research findings from final reports of grant funded work. Such reports are often stored in specialized databases, where long-term archiving activities focus on standardization, interoperability, and information indexing and retrieval. However, secondary use of...


The Cyberdocent

Michael Twidale

How might we use advanced networked technologies in museums? How might they be used to improve the experience for visitors to the museum? We are investigating these questions through a careful analysis of what currently happens in museums and how we might want to build on or change that. We think that much can be learned from studying the kind of things that docents do when they give a guided...


The Library and the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the British Board of Trade, 1834-1914

Alistair Black

Business intelligence, broadly conceived, has always been an ingredient of economic life. However, the planned and systematic collection, organization and dissemination of information for commercial purposes did not appear until the abrupt escalation of trade and the massive extension of imperial reach in the nineteenth century.


The long view of systems of information

Alistair Black

In response to the perceived (by some) onset of an information society, historians have begun to study its roots and antecedents. The past is replete with the rise, fall, and transformation of systems of information, which are not to be confused with the narrower computer-mediated world of information systems. The history of systems of information—which for digestibility can be labeled...


The value proposition of corporate libraries from past to present

Alistair Black

Corporate libraries of the kind we would recognize today began to appear around the turn of the twentieth century. They were a response to a rapidly changing corporate and commercial environment, acting as adjuncts to both the rise of systematic industrial research and the office management revolution that accompanied the implementation of scientific management.


Towards Evidence-Based Discovery

Catherine Blake
$449,317 Total Funding
National Science Foundation

Vast quantities of electronic information provide a unique opportunity for scientists to identify candidate solutions for grand challenges as scientists, policy makers, and students have never had access to more electronic information than they do today.


Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) Adoption Operations

$450,000 Total Funding
National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Jon Gant directs a canvassing operation and research team to assess and evaluate the implementation, progress and overall adoption success of the UC2B project. Researchers hope to deepen the understanding of the barriers to broadband adoption among residents of underserved communities.


Visits by mid-twentieth century British librarians to the United States

Alistair Black

Visits by British librarians to the United States is an overlooked aspect of trans-atlantic cultural exchange. After outlining the early history of international conferences at which British and American librarians would have met, examples are selected from the formative era of professional librarianship of visits by British librarians and library promoters to study the institutions and...


WISE: An Online Consortial Initiative to Build Multi-Institutional Capacity for Library & Information Science Education

Linda C. Smith
$257,427 Total Funding
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) is a unique and groundbreaking opportunity in online education. Leading library and information science schools have extended their reach on a global basis to broaden the educational opportunities available to students. WISE uses advanced online technology to enrich education and foster relationships among students, faculty, and universities.


Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis: Prototyping Project

J. Stephen Downie
Tim Cole
$436,525 Total Funding
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Researchers rely on collections of books and other materials to support their scholarship. From these collections, scholars select, organize, and refine the worksets that will answer to their particular research objectives. The requirements for those worksets are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex, both as humanities scholarship has become more interdisciplinary and as it has...