Over thirty Chinese academic librarians have a better understanding of American libraries after participating in a visit to the Urbana campus. The visit was hosted by Lian Ruan (MS '90, PhD '11), head librarian and director of international programs at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, who is the 2017 recipient of the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award.
In addition to Illinois, the librarians visited other states including Missouri, California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. They toured academic and public libraries as well as Google, listening to presentations on a variety of subjects.
At the iSchool, J. Stephen Downie, professor and associate dean for research, and Catherine Blake, associate professor and associate director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship, gave talks on the topic of digital humanities. Downie discussed digital humanities and the HathiTrust Digital Library, of which he is the Illinois codirector. Blake presented research trends in digital humanities, using two case studies to illustrate the different perspectives of computational models provided by an engineer and humanist. Linda C. Smith, professor and executive associate dean, gave a presentation on digital scholarship and changes in library and information science education and iSchools in the twenty-first century.
"I hope this program provides a solid platform to enhance communications between Chinese librarians and American librarians and scholars," Ruan said. "I also hope it will help develop leaders and innovators in the management and services of Chinese libraries in the twenty-first century."