Cora Thomassen passed away on December 23, 2021. Thomassen earned her MS/LIS degree from the University of Illinois in 1955. She became the librarian at South Haven, Michigan, public schools, and then librarian to an extension of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. In 1961, she accepted an assistant professor of library science position at the U of I, becoming a tenured associate professor in 1969.
Members of Associate Professor Dong Wang's research group, the Social Sensing Lab, will present papers at the 2021 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2021), which will be held virtually from December 15-18.
In addition to killing insects and weeds, pesticides can be toxic to the environment and harmful to human health. A new project led by Associate Professor Dong Wang and Huichun Zhang, Frank H. Neff Professor of Civil Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, will help scientists mitigate the environmental and ecological risks of pollutants such as pesticides and develop remediation strategies for cleaner water, soil, and air. The researchers have received a three-year, $402,773 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for their project, "Machine Learning Modeling for the Reactivity of Organic Contaminants in Engineered and Natural Environments."
The iSchool has introduced a new course for undergraduate students who are interested in gaming. Social History of Games & Gaming (IS 199 SHG) is a survey of the history of gaming from the ancient world through the twentieth century and its impact on science, society, and culture. Taught by Teaching Associate Professor David Dubin, the course fulfills a general education requirement for students majoring in information sciences. It is taught in a lecture and discussion format, engaging students with the material and promoting participation.
Several iSchool researchers participated in the recent Misinformation Research Symposium, which was hosted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Science and sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The goals of the symposium were to help connect misinformation research on campus, foster interdisciplinary teams interested in collaborating on external submissions, and learn more about the needs of existing and emerging research groups on campus.
A new book on information policy includes chapters by Professor Emeritus Alistair Black and Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Emily Knox. Research Handbook on Information Policy, edited by Alistair S. Duff, was recently published by Edward Elgar Publishing. The handbook covers topics such as the history and future of information policy, freedom of information and expression, intellectual property, and information inequality.
Eunice Santos, professor and dean of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, recently sat down with David B. Wilkins, faculty director of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, for a conversation about the intersection of information sciences and the law, and how to train students to be effective collaborators and translators between the disciplines.
The iSchool is pleased to announce that Emily Maemura will join the faculty as an assistant professor in January 2022. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information, with a dissertation exploring the practices of collecting and curating web pages and websites for future use by researchers in the social sciences and humanities.
Associate Professor Carol Tilley has been selected to serve as a judge for the 2022 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which is presented to the best graphic novel, fiction or nonfiction, published in the previous year by a living U.S. or Canadian citizen or resident. The annual award is sponsored by Penn State University Libraries and administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.
A new project led by Assistant Professor Matthew Turk is among the napari plugin projects that have recently received support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) in its effort to advance bioimaging technologies. Visiting Research Scientist Christopher Havlin will serve as co-principal investigator on the project, "Enabling Access To Multi-resolution Data."
Associate Professor Jingrui He has been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop explainable techniques to detect and track rare categories. For her project, "RareXplain: A Computational Framework for Explainable Rare Category Analysis," she will focus on real-world problems where underrepresented, rare (abnormal) examples play critical roles, such as defective silicon wafers resulting from a new semiconductor manufacturing process and rare but severe complications (e.g., kidney failure) among diabetes patients.
The iSchool is pleased to announce that Christopher Lueg will join the faculty as a professor in January 2022. He is currently a professor of medical informatics at the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.
Newly elected Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin ran a campaign ad featuring a mother who eight years ago tried to ban Beloved, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Toni Morrison, from her son's advanced placement high school English class. Youngkin's use of the ad has generated a discussion about banning books. Emily Knox is a professor and the interim associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Information Sciences, the author of Book Banning in 21st-Century America and editor of Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context. She talked with News Bureau arts and humanities editor Jodi Heckel.
In July 2020, Chancellor Robert J. Jones announced the creation of the Call to Action Research Program to Address Racism and Social Injustice, a $2 million annual commitment by the University of Illinois to respond to the critical need for universities across the nation to prioritize research focused on systemic racial inequities and injustices that exist not only in communities but in higher education itself. On November 2, Chancellor Jones announced that 22 projects have been funded through this new program. Associate Professor Anita Say Chan will serve as a lead on two projects.
Assistant Professor Jessie Chin and PhD student Smit Desai will present their research at the Technology, Mind and Society (TMS) Conference, which will be held virtually November 3-5. Hosted by the American Psychological Association, TMS brings together scientists, industry leaders, practitioners, students, and policymakers to explore the critical role that psychology plays in the design, use, adoption, and impact of technology and the artificial intelligence that powers it.
Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider has been awarded a three-year, $416,760 Early Career Development grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS grant RE-250162-OLS-21), under the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports innovative research by untenured, tenure-track faculty.
iSchool faculty and students will participate in the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Annual Meeting, which will be held in a hybrid format—in Salt Lake City, Utah, and online—from October 30-November 2. The theme of this year's conference is "Information: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Justice, and Relevance." The meeting, now in its 84th year, is the premier international conference dedicated to the study of information, people, and technology in contemporary society.
People who are blind take pictures and videos and share them with others but face a unique challenge—they cannot independently review their pictures and videos to identify unnecessary private or sensitive content. A set of new algorithmic and interactive techniques being developed by researchers at the iSchool and partner institutions will empower people who are blind to independently safeguard private information in their pictures and videos. Principal investigators on the project include Associate Professor Yang Wang; Danna Gurari, assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado Boulder; and Leah Findlater, associate professor in Human Centered Design & Engineering Department at the University of Washington. The collaborative project, "Novel Algorithms and Tools for Empowering People Who Are Blind to Safeguard Private Visual Content," received a four-year, $1,199,993 grant from the National Science Foundation, with the U of I team led by Wang receiving $315,931.
Assistant Professor Yun Huang and students will present their research at the 24th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2021), which will be held virtually on October 23-27. CSCW is the premier venue for experts from industry and academia to explore the technical, social, material, and theoretical challenges of designing technology to support collaborative work and life activities.
Associate Professor Ryan Cordell will deliver the keynote address at the Marbach-Weimar-Wolfenbüttel (MWW) Research Association Mid-Term Conference, which will be held virtually from Germany on October 14-15. The goal of the MWW is "to provide future-oriented impulses for collaboration in the field of humanities and cultural studies research." The association's mid-term conference will focus on engagement with material and medial losses in the archive and library.