Having trouble seeing this newsletter? Read it online.

University of Pittsburgh iSchool HomePitt HomeFind People

SIS eMagazine


Join us for an Alumni Reception in Atlanta at the 2016 SAA Annual Conference

Co-hosted with the Pitt Alumni Association and sponsored by Preservation Technologies, the School of Information Sciences (SIS) will be holding a Pitt reception at the 2016 Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Conference on Thursday, August 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hilton hotel in Atlanta, Ga. Enjoy refreshments and mingle with SIS alumni, students, faculty, and staff as well as other Pitt alumni from the Atlanta region. Library and Information Science faculty and alumna Nora Mattern will be speak about school updates including the new Information Culture and Data Stewardship program, University Library System (ULS) Digital Scholarship Commons, and engagement opportunities through the ULS/iSchool Digital Scholarship Workshop and Lecture Series. For more information and event registration, visit SIS’ event page.

Save the Date: Callery Archives Lecture – September 26

Alumna Katharina Hering (MLIS ’10) will be delivering the 2016 Callery Archives Lecture entitled, “Holocaust Reparation and Restitution Files in German State Archives: Institutional Approaches to Managing Ethical and Technical Challenges for Providing Access.” Please join us on Monday, September 26 at 3 p.m. for the lecture and Q&A session, followed by a reception with light refreshments, in the Alumni Hall Connolly Ballroom located at 4227 Fifth Avenue.


Mark Your Calendar: SIS Alumni Reception and Awards Ceremony – October 7

The 2016 SIS Alumni Reunion and Awards Ceremony will be held during Homecoming weekend. Please join us on Friday, October 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the third floor lounge of the Information Sciences building to network with fellow alumni and attend the alumni awards ceremony. Refreshments will be provided.

First SIS campaign, ScopingSim, to use EngagePitt™ crowdfunding platform, surpasses its fundraising goal

Professor of Practice Dmitriy Babichenko and his team set out to raise $5,500 to buy the technology and equipment necessary to build the simulator prototype of their medical research project called ScopingSim. When the campaign ended on Monday, July 18, the team had raised $5,642!

Widely used for training medical students and personnel in specialized procedures and diagnostic techniques, medical simulators are a valuable teaching resource. Regrettably, today’s typical physical medical simulators (mannequin simulators) are extremely expensive, difficult to transport, and require substantial technical support staff. Babichenko and his undergraduate student research team are working to create a solution: ScopingSim, a low-cost, high-fidelity, and easily transportable endoscopy, colonoscopy, and bronchoscopy medical simulator. In addition to learning the scoping techniques, ScopingSim will allow medical students to learn how to avoid causing harm or discomfort to patients and to practice diagnostic skills.

Babichenko thanks everyone who donated to and spread the word about the campaign for their support. You can watch the video and learn more about the project by visiting the ScopingSim site.

Even though the campaign has ended, you can still make a donation to purchase equipment for additional mannequin simulators. One hundred percent of donations directly supports ScopingSim –no credit card fees are deducted.

Dr. Carla Hayden becomes nation’s new Librarian of Congress

Last week, the Senate approved the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden for Library of Congress. Hayden will be the 14th Librarian of Congress, following the retirement of the previous Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington. Hayden will be the first female and first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress.

Hayden was an assistant professor in the Library and Information Sciences program at SIS from 1987 to 1991 and served on the SIS Board of Visitors.

Please join us in congratulating her. To read more about her appointment, click here.

Study conducted by SIS faculty member and PhD student gets published

Kostas Pelechrinis, SIS assistant professor, and Ke Zhang, a PhD student in the Telecommunications and Networking program, have a study published at the 2016 European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery (ECML/PKDD).

The study, titled “Do Street Fairs Boost Local Business? A Quasi-Experimental Analysis,” looks at the impact of street fairs on the local economy. This study is part of Zhang’s PhD dissertation.

After noticing increased customer traffic in some of his favorite coffee shops during local street fairs and festivals, Pelechrinis began to wonder if these events were the cause of the increased traffic. Pelechrinis and Zhang collected data from social media—particularly “check-in” information from Foursquare—to draw the conclusion that events such as street fairs and festivals do increase the revenue of local businesses.

“This study contributes to the push for the field to use more formal and quantitative methods borrowed from econometrics, rather than simply relying on anecdotal evidence,” said Pelechrinis.

Pelechrinis and Zhang will present their findings at the ECML/PKDD in Riva del Garda, Italy, from September 19 to September 23. The abstract of their study can be found here.

SIS PhD student recipient of 2016 Beta Phi Mu Garfield Award

Wei Jeng, a PhD student at SIS, is a 2016 recipient of the Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. Jeng is earning her PhD in the Library and Information Science program, and her research interests include: research data sharing, scholarly collaboration on social media, and academic social networking.

Up to six students are awarded the Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship each year, and the fellowship goes to doctoral students who are working on their dissertations in Library and Information Science, Information Studies, Informatics, or a related field at an institution with ALA, CILIP, or other Beta Phi Mu Executive Board approved accreditation.

Please join us in congratulating Jeng!

Tara Sherry-Torres delivers 2016 i3 Opening Ceremony keynote address

The 2016 iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) officially kicked-off with a keynote address by Tara Sherry-Torres (SSW ’10), founder and creative director of Café con Leche, at the Opening Reception on June 14. During her speech, entitled “The Power of Place: A Roadmap to Authorization,” she stressed the importance of understanding one’s self, one’s values, and one’s place in a community. She encouraged the students to advocate for themselves and to build strong networks by meeting new people and maintaining their relationships.

The reception was held at the Information Sciences building and celebrated the arrival of the new cohort of i3 scholars. The 2016 cohort includes 25 students from 19 different colleges and universities, ranging from Massachusetts to Guam.

Dr. Jorge Reina Schement addresses 2016 i3 graduation class

Dr. Jorge Reina Schement, vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion at Rutgers University, delivered the commencement address at the 2016 i3 Graduate and Recognition Ceremony on July 8 at SIS. Schement shared his life’s story with the students, emphasizing the importance of knowing one’s own story and being able to tell it. He stressed the importance of maintaining a good professional network by talking to a lot of people, asking questions, and taking yourself outside of your comfort zone. He also mentioned the willingness to help others.

The ceremony recognized the new 2016 i3 Scholars as they embarked upon their year-long research projects and celebrated the accomplishments of the returning 2015 i3 scholars. This was the culminating event in this year’s i3 alumni reunion, which included professional development and networking opportunities.

Please join us in congratulating the 2015 i3 graduates and sending best wishes to the 2016 i3 scholars in their academic endeavors!

SIS alum receives 2016 SAA Emerging Leader Award

Matt Gorzalski is the 2016 recipient of the Society of American Archivists’ (SAA) Emerging Leader Award. Gorzalski graduated from SIS’ MLIS program in 2008 and worked as an archives assistant at the University of Pittsburgh Archives Services Center from 2007 to 2008.
Read more >