Roberts to receive EFF's Pioneer Award

Sarah T Roberts

iSchool alumna Sarah T. Roberts (PhD '14) will receive a 2018 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for her groundbreaking content moderation research. Awarded every year since 1992, EFF's Pioneer Awards recognize the leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier.

Roberts coined the term "commercial content moderation" (CCM), and her research has been key to understanding how social media companies farm out content takedown decisions to low-wage laborers globally. She has spent the past eight years identifying, describing, and documenting how people from Mountain View to Manila screen user-generated Internet content to see if it meets various platforms’ often opaque guidelines, demonstrating the effect that this work has on free expression as well as on the mental and physical health of the screeners. Currently a researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, Roberts is preparing a monograph for Yale University Press based on her findings, due to be published in 2019. She is also the recipient of a 2018 Carnegie Fellowship to support her ongoing work.

The award ceremony will be held September 27 in San Francisco.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool alumni selected for PLA Leadership Academy

Midori Clark (MS '17), director of community relations, development & strategic initiatives for the Pueblo (CO) City-County Library District; Amita Lonial (MS '09), assistant director of the Tacoma (WA) Public Library; and Nataliya Papushina (MS '15), branch supervisor for the Indian Trails Public Library District in Wheeling (IL) are among the twenty-eight public librarians selected to participate in the Spring 2019 PLA Leadership Academy, which will be held March 25-29 in Chicago.

Elsessers invest $1 million in the School of Information Sciences

A $1-million dollar gift from Lionelle (BA, LAS '66; MS, LIS '67) and James (BS, Business '66; MS, Business '67) Elsesser will both expand the iSchool's academic programs and support the recruitment of promising students. The gift will be invested in the School's new programs, and that investment will generate $50,000 annually for the Katharine L. Sharp Scholarships, which will be available to students in all iSchool programs.

James and Lionelle Elsesser

Project on international students and libraries leads to graduate research award

iSchool master's students Laura Rocco and Elise Feltman are the recipients of the first Robert Howerton Graduate Student Research Award from the University Library. The award financially supports students who hold a pre-professional graduate assistantship position at the library and who are engaged in research regarding reference and technical services with plans to publish their work.

Laura Rocco and Elise Feltman

McKay inspired by School’s sense of community

As a new master's student in library and information science, funds were tight, and Curt McKay (MS '88) hoped for an assistantship to ease his financial burden. Leigh Estabrook, dean of the School, noticed that McKay had been a teacher and offered him an assistantship in the learning resources lab. "At Illinois, not only did I start learning a new career, but I got carried away by this wonderful atmosphere," McKay recalled. Instead of completing his degree in one year as he had planned, he decided to extend it to two years, then in April of his first year, a job opened up in the School, and McKay was encouraged to apply.

Curt McKay

Oates receives digital preservation award

Anna Oates (MS '18) won the National Records of Scotland Award for the Most Outstanding Student Work in Digital Preservation for her master's thesis work on the PDF/A standard. She received the award on November 29 at a ceremony at the Amsterdam Museum, as part of an international conference hosted by the Dutch Digital Heritage Network and the Amsterdam Museum on World Digital Preservation Day. According to the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), who sponsored the awards, this year marked the greatest number of nominations the organization has received to date, and those selected as finalists faced tough competition from entries across the world.

Anna Oates