Tag Archives: SLIS

Research, Jazz and a Doctorate Degree: Q&A with a Ph.D. Student

OmerMeet Omer Farooq, a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). Farooq completed the master’s program in SLIS in 2012 and remained a Golden Flash to pursue his doctoral degree. In our Q&A, Farooq talked about his research, his experience teaching and his favorite local Kent restaurants.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I went to Ohio State University for my undergrad in psychology. Go Bucks! I finished my Master in Library and Information Science from Kent State while in Columbus.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree?
A: Throughout my master’s program I had a wonderful advisor, Dr. Miriam Matteson, and she involved me in a few research projects that organically developed. She was very encouraging in that aspect. Then I decided to apply for a Ph.D. program, and I got accepted with the teaching assistantship.

Q: What are your research interests, and what projects are you working on currently?
A: In a nutshell it’s how students acquire information literacy skills and how they learn to be proficient in academic research. My dissertation topic is looking at the intersection of information literacy instruction and effective learning and instructional techniques that draw from cognitive science and educational psychology. Undergraduate freshman are my research participants.

Q: How has your experience teaching been?
A: This is my second year of teaching Information Fluency in the Workplace and Beyond. I helped revise this class with a faculty member, an adjunct instructor and a couple instructional designers over the course of the summer. We’ve had this course offered to undergraduates for a while, but it was time to revise it. The information in the course was outdated. The social media spectrum has evolved, and there are new tools and platforms.

The Association of College and Research Libraries had a new guiding document for academic libraries titled Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. We looked at the course in light of what are the knowledge practices undergrads should be able to do in terms of information seeking behavior, information needs and information use. It was an interesting and rewarding experience at the same time.

Q: When you find free time, what sorts of things do you like to do?
A: I like listening to music. I play the guitar, but I haven’t really had time to play like I used to. I’ve been listening to a lot of early jazz like Soft Machine and Indian saxophonist Vijay Iyer. Also, my wife and I like to explore new places to eat. Some of our favorite places are Wild Goats, because they have great discounts, and Ray’s Place.

Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I like to see myself in a lot of different positions. For me, an important thing is the institutional culture of people. Good culture and good colleagues that help support what you do. That really is how it started for me. The important thing in a dream job is that nurturing cultivating factor where you have good support on top and good support laterally.

by Elline Concepcion

“What’s Real? Investigating Multimodality”: A Collaborative Exhibit

By Autaum Hollinger

What’s real? That’s the question undergraduate and graduate students are exploring for a class project that will culminate in an exhibit in the MuseLab in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) on the third floor of the University Library.

The exhibit is scheduled to open on Thursday, May 1, 2014, with an hors d’oeuvres reception from 7 to 8 p.m. All are welcome, but an RSVP is requested.

The “What’s Real?” project involves five integrated teams of seven or eight students each, who are enrolled either in the “Packaging, Promotion and Retail Environments” or “Interaction Design: Spaces and Systems” courses in the School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) or the “Object Knowledge” course in SLIS. Participants will conceptualize, design, build and install the exhibit in seven weeks.

“The focal point for the exhibit will be a top hat, each group viewing it through the lens of a particular modality – sound, movement, touch or text,” SLIS Assistant Professor Kiersten F. Latham, Ph.D., said. “Each team will have a space in MuseLab to focus on their assigned modality and to explore what’s real, or what they perceive as real, in an environment.” Latham teaches the Object Knowledge course and coordinates the museum studies specialization in SLIS.

Latham said she has been working on this project since September 2013 with Visual Communication Design (VCD) faculty members Jessica Barness, assistant professor, who teaches the Interaction Design course, and David Middleton,Ph.D., associate professor, who teaches Retail Environments. While each instructor had a different reason for pursuing this project, based on the focus of his or her teaching, all three shared an interest in the opportunity for collaboration between the departments and the hands-on experience and portfolio-building for the students.

Patrick Lowden, a VCD junior in the Interaction Design class, said his goal in signing up for this course was to get some experience that is unlike anything he has gotten in other classes.

“Being able to design around an exhibit or space was something I really wanted to do because I haven’t done that before,” he said. He added that having all five exhibits in one space “forces us to streamline our ideas to fit them into the allocated space.”

Each group will use a variety of media to engage visitors who come to the exhibit. Latham, Middleton and Barness presented their classes with a topic that would allow the students to explore the how in addition to the what of an exhibit. For this exhibit the what is the top hat, and the how are the different modalities (sound, movement, touch or text).

“A top hat is lighthearted enough that we could accomplish this in seven weeks without having students spend enormous amounts of research to hone in on the topic. The top hat reaches into various parts of our culture and our world. It proved to be an interesting, enjoyable thing to work with.”

At the center of the exhibit is an actual top hat borrowed from the Portage County Historical Society.

“The top hat focus has made things very interesting. It’s an abstract and almost forgotten type of relic,” Lowden said. “You don’t really see people wearing top hats anymore. Doing research on the history of top hats has been really interesting for me, and trying to design around something you have no experience with has been challenging but fun. In my group, ‘movement,’ we are trying to have an interactive piece, all about the movement of the top hat through dance.”

Before opening to the public, the exhibit will be evaluated by a jury made up of design and museum professionals: Jim Engelmann, Exhibition Designer, Design and Architecture, The Cleveland Museum of Art; Kevin Fromet, Design Consultant, Studio Graphique; Jake Kellogg, Senior Art Director, Point to Point, Inc.; Christopher Seeds, Interactive Designer, Findaway World; Natalie Ata, Instructor, Kent State University, and Designer, CraftLab Design; Reggie Tabora, Group Creative Director, Rosetta; and Kimberly A. Kenney, Curator, McKinley Presidential Library & Museum.

“What’s Real?” will be on exhibit in the MuseLab through Dec. 10, 2014. The lab is open to visitors on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the academic school year, and on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment during the summer.

Latham said, “The MuseLab is a component of the Museum Studies specialization in the School of Library and Information Science, but it can be used by students, faculty, researchers, members of the community, the creative community, museum people in practice — who can all come in and try out things they wouldn’t normally be able to do. It’s truly a space for experimentation and collaboration.”

Photo #1: VCD student Joe Wathen uses the MuseLab vinyl printer.
Photo #2: VCD students Danya Dargham (left) and Lauren Haase work on their exhibit for “What’s Real? Investigating Multimodality.”

CCI Faculty and Staff Award Program

The College of Communication and Information is proud to announce the fourth annual CCI Faculty and Staff Awards program. The CCI Faculty and Staff Awards Program was established in 2011 and modeled after the Kent State Distinguished Teaching Awards.

Five awards will be bestowed to the winners at the All Schools Retreat in August:

  • Distinguished Teaching Award: Nominate professors who are full-time tenured faculty members with seven or more years of teaching experience in CCI.
  • Outstanding Teacher Award: Nominate a professor who is a non-tenure track or part-time faculty member with a minimum of five consecutive years teaching in CCI.
  • Distinguished Service Award: Nominations for this award should provide superior service to the school(s) and/or college.
  • Distinguished Advisor Award: Nominate an advisor who goes ‘above and beyond’ in his/her helpful and positive attitude regarding the guidance of students.
  • Distinguished Scholar Award: Only Kent State tenure or tenure-track faculty members can make nominations.

Each award winner will receive a certificate and $500 honorarium.

Nomination forms should be turned into the College office, Rm. 131 Moulton Hall, by 5 p.m. on June 27 and may be sent through campus mail or emailed to the College email address. Nomination forms can be found online. All nominations will be held in the strictest confidence.

Student Spends Time in China During International Course Weeks

By Nicole Gennarelli

School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) student David Mease interacted with students and professors from around the world this summer while attending The Sichuan University International Course Weeks program at Sichuan University (SCU) in Chengdu, China.

According to a CNN article, as of July 1, 2013, Chengdu’s population was 14 million people and growing. Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province located in Southwest China. In the West, the city is surrounded by the Qionglai Mountains and sits at the edge of the Sichuan Basin. According to Sichuan University’s website, there are more than 40,000 undergraduate students, 20,000 master’s students and Ph.D. candidates, and 1,000 foreign students. Students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan also attend the university.

Mease, a SLIS student with a concentration in information science and a focus on user experience design and information application and system design, is pursuing his degree at the SLIS location in Columbus (State Library of Ohio) and plans to graduate in spring 2014.

This past summer, he traveled to Chengdu from June 27 to July 21 to take classes, learn about different cultures and China’s history, and travel the region. The Sichuan University International Courses Week is largely funded by SCU, one of the largest universities in China, Mease said.

“SCU invites a limited number of universities from around the world, and Kent State was one of the schools chosen this past year,” he said. “The invited schools then nominate a group of students and a group of professors, from which a number are then selected and invited to come for the three-week program in Chengdu, China.”

Mease was able to select from a wide range of courses taught by different professors from around the world. He took two courses, Chemistry from Ancient Religious Texts taught by Dr. Jason J. Chruma of SCU and Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs taught by Professor George Bigham of Kent State. Mease was also able to engage with Chinese students in SCU-hosted discussions and debates on topics such as world history, politics and economics.

“This was such a valuable trip in relation to my interest in information science,” Mease said. “One of the Chinese graduate assistants did a great job setting up contacts and interesting discussions for me with several computer science students from SCU. We talked about their current research and how it related to semantic analysis and knowledge management. I am looking forward to the possibility of working with them on future projects.”

When Mease first found out about this study abroad program, he couldn’t believe it; it sounded too good to be true.

“I thought visiting one of the world’s oldest cultures and now one of the largest and growing economies would be an amazing opportunity,” he said. “To be immersed in Chinese culture, to learn with some of the top Chinese students, and to make relationships with faculty and students for future projects − how could I pass that up? My only concern was that I wouldn’t be chosen, considering how many people I expected to apply for the program.”

In addition to the courses and conversations, two of Mease’s favorite activities were visiting the Sichuan Panda Base and the Dujiangyan irrigation system.

“Giant pandas are native to the Sichuan region, and the trip to see them at the Sichuan Panda Base was fun,” he said. “Another highlight was our trip to the Dujiangyan irrigation system. It is a massive earthwork that controls flood waters and irrigation to the whole region. At more than 2,000 years old, it’s amazing that it’s still in use, and largely with the original design.”

Based on this travel experience, Mease is really looking forward to finding new projects on which to collaborate with some of the students and faculty he met in China.

“With my work in business and areas of interest in the SLIS program, the opportunity to see how culture, education and business in China operate was very valuable,” Mease said. “It was surprising to me how the people, and specifically the widespread entrepreneurial culture, are so similar to the United States.”

School of Library and Information Science Hosts Visiting Scholar from University of Barcelona

By Megan Grdina

Cristobal Urbano has always been fascinated with books and how they can change one’s perspective on life. Now, he is interested in how libraries should manage ebook collections.

“I remember when I was 12, in the back of the classroom there were many books,” he said. “I think the book is an object that attracts many people.”

Urbano is a visiting scholar from Barcelona, Spain. He teaches at the University of Barcelona where his expertise is library and information science (“information and documentation” as it is called in Spain), with particular interest in information sources and services. He is also an active researcher.

Urbano is observing four classes and doing research at Kent State this fall. These courses include: Digital Libraries, Selection of Library Materials, Research Methods and Metadata Architecture and Implementation. He finds all of them interesting but is drawn to metadata architecture because the class is face-to-face.

“Kent State has a strong faculty, if you link that strength with their research in digital libraries and the building of digital collections,” Urbano said. “I have to take advantage of the materials they teach and research.”

He is focused on what collaborations and connections he can make at Kent State to support his research in building library collaboration and consortia in El Salvador. He has been talking to faculty at Kent State, as well as faculty in Latin America, so his research in e-collections, metric studies and the use of information will be enhanced.

“It is important to look at the big picture,” Urbano said. “I want to know the feeling librarians have here about the evolution of ebooks in library collections.” He hopes to conduct a survey in Ohio, as well as in Barcelona, to compare these feelings.

Urbano is living with SLIS/IAKM Professor Tom Froehlich, Ph.D., during his stay in America. Froehlich is assisting Urbano during this experience at Kent State.

“I’ve known Cristobal since 2005, when I was invited on my sabbatical to teach at the University of Barcelona,” Froehlich said.

The University of Barcelona is beginning to teach courses in English to enhance its curriculum and to make its courses available to a broader audience in different countries, including the United States. This is one reason why Urbano wanted to come to the United States.

“Cristobal wants to improve his English, do research in digital libraries and meet with faculty,” Froehlich said.

It is always interesting to learn about other cultures and integrate them, according to Urbano. Urbano said there are plenty of differences between Kent and Barcelona. One difference is student life. Students live in dormitories here, but there is no such thing as living on campus at the University of Barcelona.

“It is very different, but the most outstanding difference is that Kent State is one university with a large green environment,” Urbano said. “We do not have a campus; we just have different buildings around the city.”

Urbano knows he’ll gain knowledge during this research semester and enjoys this life-changing experience.

“As a School of Library and Information Science professor, you have to have a broad culture, and I think to know what is happening here in this country is important,” Urbano said. “This experience will help me to become more fluent in English and to have a better understanding of the United States market for ebooks.”

Cleveland Memory Project Brings Together KSU Students, Alumni to Preserve City’s History

By Brianne Kimmel

Playhouse Square in 1928
Image from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4657205285_daf62f520e.jpg

Kent State School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) graduates Bill Barrow and Kif Francis work with SLIS practicum students to share Cleveland heritage with students and community members.

Barrow became interested in Cleveland history while working for the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University as a part his practicum for the Library and Information Science program at Kent State. The Cleveland Memory Project began when Barrow was appointed a special collections archivist in 1999.

In order to better preserve Cleveland history and make the information available to the public, Barrow has hosted more than 60 practicum students, nearly all of them from Kent State. “They will research, select materials, design digital work, collaborate with community institutions, cataloging, and the final creation of a website around their project,” Barrow said. The entire project serves as a gateway to a particular topic or community’s history around the local northeast Ohio area.

In 2002, the Cleveland Memory Project began its online efforts to ensure community members can assess Cleveland history at any time from any location. The online archives serve both an academic and professional purpose. “Authors, genealogists, neighborhood development corporations, government, and the media” utilize the Cleveland Memory Project, Barrow added. The project has helped engineering firms understand the history of an area or building to help a specific development plan. Moving all of the history to an online database has been time consuming, but Barrow said the Cleveland Memory Project is pleased to offer this service to Ohioans.

Kif Francis, a 2007 SLIS graduate and previous Cleveland Memory Project practicum student, now serves as a metadata librarian for the Cleveland Memory Project. Her responsibilities include managing the digital library system for the Cleveland Memory Project and training new staff and volunteers. During her practicum, she digitized a collection from the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum, which debuted in 1975 and closed in 1981. Francis said her experience in the Digital Image Processing class with SLIS Professor Marcia Zeng, Ph.D, prepared her for the 150-hour practicum with the Cleveland Memory Project.

At the Cleveland Memory Project, Francis “stumbled upon something she was truly interested in learning more about.” In the SLIS program, being open to all types of knowledge is key. “Graduate school is a great time to explore all the different options of librarianship,” said Francis. “There are always opportunities for working in the community using your organizational skills.”

The Cleveland Memory Project continues to offer opportunities for SLIS students. Ongoing projects include: the Ohio’s Heritage Northeast and Summit Memory, which was created by both alumni and a former practicum student. “The Cleveland Memory Project is the umbrella for all of the practicum projects and a community platform for collaboration around local history,” Barrow explained. “We’ve had tremendous assistance from graduate students… they own the projects.” The collaboration between different departments, outside organizations and practicum students has made the Cleveland Memory Project a convenient resource for Cleveland history.

Visit the Web for additional information on Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science, The Cleveland Memory Project , The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum , and the Summit Memory Project.

Brianne Kimmel is a senior advertising major and marketing assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

Playhouse Square Image