The Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education has been granted continued accreditation status by the American Library Association (ALA). The decision to grant continued accreditation to the program was based on the “totality of the accomplishment and the environment for learning.”

The Master of Library Information Science is a both theory and practice-based curriculum, focusing on 21st century informational science and data management, and developing the skills needed to evaluate, manage, and adapt to technological change. Graduates of the program have chosen various areas for their fieldwork, including:

  • Archiving at the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Archiving interstate projects for the Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Digitization project in the British Library
  • Digitization projects at the Denver Public Library
  • Oral history digitization project at the Jeffco Public Library
  • Creating a digital library about sensory learning
  • Developing and launching a usability study for academic libraries
  • Rebuilding the digital repository of a medical library

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

Dr. Peter Organisciak and Dr. Krystyna Matusiak, faculty in MCE’s Library and Information Science program, have been awarded a $277,000 grant from the Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS). The two-year grant will support a content-based study of text duplication and similarity in massive digital library collections.

Dr. Peter Organisciak and Dr. Krystyna Matusiak

The emergence of massive digital collections presents an opportunity to pose novel, collection-wide questions of published history, offering new ways to access and use library materials.

As Organisciak explains, access in libraries is usually driven by information describing materials, such as time, location, and subject matter. Digital libraries allow a new form of access: by peering inside the books. At large scales, such information can yield fascinating insights such as what types of books were being published in different parts of the country, how were issues of the day being addressed, and even what were the most popular terms being used at key points in time.

The problem with searching and analyzing these huge libraries is that, at present, these digital archives contain an unknown number of duplicate copies of publications. In a physical library, that’s a good thing. Multiple users can check out and read multiple copies of the same book. When you’re looking for trends across culture or history, however, duplicated or repeating text can lead to a misleading understanding of reality.

Organisciak explains, “Massive digitalization projects are perhaps best exemplified by the HathiTrust Digital Library, which contains roughly 16 million books collected from a broad consortium of university collaborations. There is much potential to learn from so much of the published record, and the purpose of this project deduplication efforts is to make those insights easier to observe. Eventually, we hope to extend our methods to better make content recommendations.”

Such a similarity algorithm could be used by libraries to make book recommendations to readers based on their themes, complementing existing approaches such as reader advisories. If a reader is interested in books like The Da Vinci Code, the algorithm could suggest books that share contextual similarities.

“Think of it like Spotify for books,” says Organisciak.

Could this new study mean the end of the aimlessness readers often experience upon finishing the last book by their favorite author?

In time, perhaps. But, for now, it means that Organisciak, Matusiak, and Benjamin Schmidt, their research partner from Northeastern University, will be hard at work, digitally combing through more than 16 million books, to help researchers analyze publications with increased accuracy, and help readers find the next book they’re most likely to fall in love with.

Nicolle Ingui Davies has been named the 2016 Library Journal Librarian of the Year, marking the first time a Colorado librarian has been recognized for the honor. Davies became the Executive Director for Arapahoe Library District in 2012. A District which runs eight libraries and recently received a budgetary increase of $6 million, bringing the total annual budget to $30 million. She began teaching at MCE for the Library and Information Science Program in 2015; Davies taught the Public Libraries course and is scheduled to do so again in the near future.

After becoming ALD’s Executive Director, Davies worked with the library board and staff to create a strategic plan and rebrand the library’s operations by establishing four pillars – deliver very important patron experiences, surprise and delight, make every experience matter, and strive for simplicity – to move ALD from “nice to essential” as a community resource and to ensure memorable experiences for every patron.

In addition to prioritizing high-quality patron interactions, Davies’ transformation of Arapahoe Libraries into essential community centers has included access to technology. Under her leadership, ALD is a local leader by taking on the costs, risks, and rewards of adopting and providing access to products in early development – sharing technology that is in its beta phase has proven to be extremely popular with patrons. Notable products ALD has procured include Google Glass, Go Pro camera, and 3-D printers.

MCE extends its congratulations to Nicolle and the Arapahoe Library District in obtaining national recognition for providing exemplary community leadership and resources. Read the full article here.

About Library Journal
Founded in 1876, Library Journal (LJ) is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and web sites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit
www.libraryjournal.com. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book publications, and Junior Library Guild.

About Arapahoe Libraries
Arapahoe Libraries serve 250,000 patrons and include eight community libraries, a jail library and a Library on Wheels in Arapahoe County, Colorado. For more information, visit arapahoelibraries.org.

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chairs and Curriculum and Instruction professors, as well as Dr. Heather Ryan, Library and Information Science assistant professor, will present at the University of Denver’s Pioneer Symposium on September 25-26. During this two-day event, DU accomplished alumni and distinguished professors will present lectures and host panels and keynote speakers who will discuss a range of critical issues.

Doctors Sarama and Clements will lead a session entitled “The Surprising Importance of Early Math,” where they will discuss five research findings about early mathematics: its predictive power, children’s math potential, educators’ understanding of that potential, the need for interventions, and what we know about effective interventions.

Dr. Ryan’s session, “Preserving Our Digital Cultural Heritage” will address new challenges in maintaining access to our digital cultural heritage over the long term, and the “digital dark age.”

The Pioneer Symposium features a wide array of topics, including “The Right to Health in Practice: Lessons and Challenges,” “Film as Religion,” “Mental Illness and the Courts: Myths, Challenges, and… Hope?” among many others. DU’s Chancellor Rebecca Chopp will kick off the event during a welcome luncheon and panel discussion on September 25. View the full event schedule here.

The Pioneer Symposium is in its eighth year and open to everyone–alumni, parents, friends, and students of the University.

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Friday, September 25 through Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 10 am to 6pm on Friday and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturday
Location:
The University of Denver
2199 S. University Boulevard
Denver, CO 80208
Cost: $40 fee covers all sessions and lunches on Friday and Saturday

Students in the Library and Information Science (LIS) program at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education are bringing digitization to the community. With the guidance of Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science, Dr. Krystyna Matusiak, students engage in experiential learning opportunities that utilize cutting edge technology in the classroom and connect classroom projects to the community. Digitization is the process of creating digital representations of information resources (e.g. photographs and documents), extending access, and preserving fragile materials. Dr. Matusiak says, “it is not enough to simply learn digitization for the sake of learning.” Rather she impresses upon her students the importance of using their digital skills in a practical context.

A key aspect of Dr. Matusiak’s instruction is developing community partnerships. She empowers students to initiate projects with community organizations in order to share unheard stories, resurrect fading communal stories, aid older generations and volunteers in the digitization process, and to give back for the public good. The LIS program is at the forefront of contributing expertise to the local community with regard to practices and standards in digitization, and is gaining a reputation for their commitment to the community. Often, organizations reach out to the LIS program and Dr. Matusiak for student support. A few recent projects from LIS students include, a digital collection of artifacts from Laura Hershey for the Western History and Genealogy department of the Denver Public Library, a gathering of community stories and converted technology for the Jefferson County Public Library known as JeffCo Stories,  a digital assembly for the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, and a the digital exhibit Building the First Transcontinental Railroad for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The Laura Hershey Digital Collection consists of photographs, articles, conference materials and poetry from the late, Laura Hershey. Current and former LIS students, Allison Bailey, Alicia Cartwright, Maggy Hade, Caitlin Hunter, Jen LaBarbera, Kristin Rowley, Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Monica Washenberger and Hana Zittel, contributed to the project with the goal of extending access to the collection. They state “The disability rights community is dispersed globally, and digitization of the collection will likely be the only way that many will be able to experience previously-unavailable pieces of Hershey’s life and work.” Another important aspect of the project was to ensure the preservation of the Hershey collection. The digital collection is now housed and preserved by the Denver Public Library.

This May, The (DPLA) introduced a new exhibit, Building the First Transcontinental Railroad. The exhibition, created by Dr. Matusiak’s students, Jenifer Fisher, Benjamin Hall, Nick Iwanicki, Cheyenne Jansdatter, Sarah McDonnell, Timothy Morris, and Allan Van Hoye, looks at the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad, from inception to its finale, the laying of the last golden spike at Promontory Summit in Utah, May 10, 1969. There are five themes in the exhibit, History, Human Impact, Changing the Landscape, A Nation Divided, and A Nation Transformed.

Dr. Matusiak’s classes continue to lead the way in digitization and provide historical insights to local and national communities.

Dr. Shimelis Assefa exemplifies Inclusive Excellence through his scholarly work in global knowledge production. His research focus on knowledge production and knowledge diffusion highlights a new form of social-class division, which is commonly known as the north-south divide, which he frames as the knowledge divide. For Dr. Assefa, knowledge divide between a developed and a developing country is based on human capital. As the key element to the wealth of nations and globalization, human capital facilitates the free flow of ideas, information, best-practices, know-how, and knowledge on a global scale. He investigates how Africa’s limited access and non-recognized contribution to the global knowledge base creates a challenge for Africa, hindering it from playing an active role in today’s knowledge-based economy. In his book chapter Unfulfilled Promises of Globalization: Global Knowledge Production and Africa, he argues that global knowledge production is critical for a speedier, wider, and deeper interconnectedness that is inclusive and benefits all nations involved. Dr. Assefa is an Associate Professor in the Library and Information Science program.

Dr. Shimelis Assefa talks with students

In 2012, Dr. Assefa organized a panel discussion at the Association for Information Science and Technology annual meeting on the topic of Content Divide: Africa and the Global Knowledge Footprint. Taking research outputs and patent applications across all regions of the world, he analyzed the volume of production as a barometer for the well-being of nations’ scientific and innovation impact. Last year, at the same conference in Seattle, WA, he organized and led another panel on the topic of Open Access: The Global Scene, with the goal of reviewing global open access practices and suggesting ideas for the implementation of an international infrastructure that supports and sustains the future of open scholarly communication. In his recent interview with Janet Lee, Dean of Libraries at Regis University, he discussed challenges and opportunities of library collaboration from an international perspective. One key theme he discussed in the interview is exemplified through the practices of PubMed Central (PMC), the world’s largest free full-text database of bio-medical and life sciences  that archives more than 3.3 million journal articles and scientific papers. Hosted by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, so far PMC International (PMCI) supports only Europe (Europe PMC) and Canada (PMC Canada).

In his recent publication Diffusion of scientific knowledge in agriculture: The case for Africa, he developed a knowledge diffusion model that enhances the existing extension service that is slow and hierarchical. Borrowing from the method of translational research, Dr. Shimelis investigates methods on how scientific research findings reach farmers, in a format and language that is easy to use and provides timely access, thereby narrowing the gap from knowledge to action/decision-making. Dr. Assefa also organized and led a workshop for agricultural scientists at the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists titled Using Moodle as an Online Learning Management System to offer Professional Development Courses to Agricultural Extension Workers in Africa. He has played leadership roles in the Association for Information Science and Technology, where he served as co-chair (2011-2012) and chair (2014-2015) of the Special Interest Group in International Information Issues. We look forward to his continued dedication to Inclusive Excellence.


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