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SIS eMagazine


Participate in the Inaugural “Alumni Insights” Event, October 9

Please join us for the inaugural “Alumni Insights” event on Friday, October 9. The event will take place at the School of Information Sciences (SIS) and will begin at 1:30 pm with an update from Dean Ronald L. Larsen, followed by two workshop sessions and a networking break. Topics include drone technology, ubiquitous sensing, the future of library, archives, and information professionals, and more. View the full schedule and register here.


Join us for the 2015 Alumni Awards, October 9

Each year, SIS recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni. On Friday, October 9, we'll be honoring Steven S. Choi (PhD ‘76), Chris Geary (MSIS ‘98), and Tim Schlak (MLIS ’07, PhD '10) at the annual Alumni Awards event. The ceremony and reception will take place in the Student Collaboration Center on the third floor of the Information Sciences Building (135 N. Bellefield Avenue) from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Learn more about the recipients, view event details, and RSVP here.


You're Invited to SIS' Social Hour, October 2

All SIS alumni are invited to join faculty, staff, and students for light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments at the monthly Social Hour on Friday, October 2 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the iSchool patio. This is a great opportunity to network, discuss ideas, get to know each other, talk about conferences, travel, and research ideas, and to play a few games together. For more information, visit SIS’ events page.


Welcome SIS Students

The University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences (SIS) is excited to welcome all new and returning students back for the fall 2015 term. Approximately 300 new students are entering SIS as a part of one of the seven programs of study offered through the school. New students come from 21 different states and 11 different countries, including Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Kosovo. Last week, incoming students participated in orientation events that prepared them for their time at SIS and in the city of Pittsburgh. Read more.


SIS-led study examines the benefits that special deals offered on location-based social media networks have for American business owners

A burger joint in Lawrenceville gives free orders of fries with every Foursquare check-in. A café on the South Side offers a discount on a dessert for every first-time visitor review submitted on Yelp.

Special deals, such as these, on social-media networks should provide a win-win situation for everyone involved. The consumer saves money by simply using the mobile app, while the business owner reaps the benefits of inexpensive means of advertisement. A simple scenario where everyone wins, right? “Not so fast,” says a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences and the Stevens Institute of Technology.

According to the study, offering special deals on social media, while a useful tactic for increasing the visibility of an establishment, is not a reliable means for increasing patronage in isolation. Researchers point to a number of factors—such as venue type, area population density, the length of the special-deal offer, and the manner in which potential customers learn of offers—that play a significant role in making special deals a worthwhile promotional strategy for business owners. Read more.


SIS Professor Discusses the Importance of Technology Standardization in Podcast

“You might not realize the exceptionally vital role standardization plays in our daily lives,” says University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences Associate Professor Michael Spring. “Most people begin to fall asleep at the mention of standards. In reality, standards are far from boring. They protect you from danger, create new markets, and encourage innovation,” he explains in a newly published podcast on The Academic Minute. The podcast is based on Spring’s research into the history and current state of information technology standards that has been conducted over the past two years. Read more.


Pitt LIS Alumnus Roland Barksdale-Hall Receives Recognition as Library Expert

Roland Barksdale-Hall (MLS '84), the library director at the Quinby Street Resource Center, Sharon, PA, received the 2015 Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) National Leadership Award at the 9th National Conference of African American Librarians, held in August 2015. Barksdale-Hall received this honor in recognition of his significant and extraordinary contributions in service to the library profession in areas of leadership including scholarship, professional development, library education, and professional activities on the local or national level.

Barksdale-Hall serves as the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Director of Publications and was the recipient of the AAHGS James Dent Walker Award, the highest AAHGS award. He taught at the library school at Clarion University.

Barksdale-Hall is president and co-founder of JAH Kente International Inc., an organization that promotes the arts and genealogy throughout schools in metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. He has served as the national youth director for Frontiers International, Inc. and as the vice president of the Buckeye Review and on the executive committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


SIS Faculty Awarded NSF Information and Intelligent Systems Grant

The University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences (SIS) associate professors Peter Brusilovsky and Daqing He (project lead and co-lead respectively) were recently awarded a National Science Foundation Information and Intelligent Systems grant for their project titled “Open Corpus Personalized Learning.” The project will focus on streamlining and expanding the reach of effective adaptive educational hypermedia, which allows students and independent learners without access to traditional classrooms to gain a personalized education. Both Brusilovsky and He are also faculty in the Intelligent Systems program, which is housed in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

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